Welcome to Monday. A day that can either be loathed or loved depending upon what your week looks like or what job you are heading out the door to. The funny thing about Monday is that in my experience, it’s a day that comes with a routine. A day that begins the weekly routine which in a way has a way of being comforting if we’ve designed the life we desire.
As Sunday afternoon and evening roll in, I begin to settle into a groove, slowly coming out of my weekend revelry and focusing on what needs to be done. I like the security of a routine because once I have it set, I can then tweak and manipulate it to make those extra events and unexpected activities work because once I know what I have to get done and how I’m going to do it, I can then let go.
It may sound odd that we must organize and simplify so that we can allow for flexibility and less rigidity, but it turns out to be true. Sometimes due to lack of planning, the daily routines become overwhelming, and we aren’t able to enjoy the many wonderful offerings of pleasurable experiences that come our way unexpectedly throughout the week.
So, per a recent reader’s request, today I’ve come up with two lists (I love lists, don’t you?). One list for ways to simplify your daily routines and one to simplify your weekly have-tos.
Once we know that healthy meals are prepped for, the laundry is done, necessary appointments are scheduled, gas is in the car and the house resembles a welcoming abode, we can then relax a bit and enjoy ourselves and not feel that if we sit down for ten minutes, we should feel guilty.
1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Being well rested is the key to maintaining high energy, reducing weight, beautiful skin and keeping a clear mind. Even on the weekends, while it may sound absurd, do your best to stay within your routine. When your body is tired, it will speak to you. Listen to it and each day will go much more smoothly allowing you to be better prepared for those unexpected moments that you hadn’t planned.
2. Clean the dishes before going to bed. Since you know you’ll be eating breakfast in your kitchen the next morning, leave it ready-to-go by loading and washing the dishwasher, placing leftovers in the proper containers and wiping off the countertops. It will save you time in the morning and eliminate the dread of having to clean it in the morning.
3. Have a breakfast routine. It may sound dull, but during the work week stick to simple, healthy breakfast menus. Especially if you have children, don’t offer them an endless list. Stick to one or two options that will provide them the necessary energy they need throughout the day and run with it each day of the work week. Save the weekends for special family breakfasts with bacon, French toast or whatever your preference may be.
4. Make the bed. It takes less than five minutes, and it is the most welcoming sight to come home to after a long day when all you have energy left for is the extra step to turn down the sheets. Click here to see see how to make a bed that is comfortable and inviting.
5. Pick up the house every night. After brushing your teeth, putting the dogs and/or kids to bed, cleaning up the kitchen, do a quick run-through of your house. Place anything left lying around in its designated spot – newspapers, toys, blankets, shoes, clothes, electronic devices, etc. This not only will same you time in the morning when you’re looking for anything in particular, but it will eliminate the time that potentially could have built up had you continually left everything out night after night. And who doesn’t want to wake up to a tidy home? There is something helpful and energetic about starting the day with one or two less chores to do.
6. Walk the dogs on a set schedule. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Especially if you have a puppy, but regardless of how old your furry family member is, stick to a regular walking schedule. They will sleep better as will you.
7. Leave the bathroom clean. Whether you are the only one using your bathroom or you share it with others, make sure there is a home for toothbrushes, beauty supplies and styling tools. When you have finished your daily cleansing and beauty routine, return everything to its spot. And even better, wipe off the countertops with a disposable wipe. This will reduce bacteria and create an inviting environment for yourself and family as well as any guests that may stop by throughout the day.
8. Designate a place for incoming mail/bills/magazines/etc. What I’ve come to realize is that the most important business we all run is our own lives. Think about it. If we organize our lives well, we are happier, more content and less stressed; thus, the opportunity to be more productive and drive more income into our pockets. However, on the flip side if we are unorganized, frazzled and drained, we lose opportunities to be productive, thus lessening potential income. With this in mind, create a home office with an inbox that ensures you will deal with incoming mail in a timely manner. Click here for ideas on how to create a more productive office.
9. Charge electronic devices at night or at the same time each day. Knowing your phone is on its last legs and the lunch hasn’t even occurred yet is not a good situation to be in. Get into the habit of charging your phone, laptop, iPad and any other electronic devices at night or at a designated time to be certain that the technology you depend on to run your life effectively is charged and ready to go.
10. A regular beauty routine. There will always be special occasions when our beauty routines become a bit more elaborate, but for the regular work day, create a routine that is simple and leaves you looking and feeling your best. For example, moisturize your entire body, wash your face with a gentle cleanser (cetaphil for example), apply moisturizer, concealor, SPF tinted moisturizer, blush, a dash of eyebrow color, a simple neutral base to your eyelids, eye-liner, a bit of shadow and smudge-proof mascara (I swear by Bobbi Brown’s). Finish with some deodorant and your favorite perfume, and voila!
11. Clean the house. Last spring I shared a detailed list and schedule on how to clean your home, or what I like to call my sanctuary. Believe it or not, you can eliminate so much work for yourself if you would simply schedule an hour or two each week to do a basic overall cleaning. This eliminates dust from piling up, dog hair from becoming a nuisance and gunk from becoming difficult to remove. While to most people it may seem your house isn’t that dirty from week to week so why give yourself more work to do, you’ll come to realize that you are actually saving so much time in the long haul by simple maintenance. So turn on your favorite television show or play your favorite tunes and get busy. My date with my house is every Friday after work so that the weekend can be enjoyed in a comfortably clean home. When will you set your date?
12. Plan menu. Before the week begins, take some time to assess the week ahead and determine what meals you would like to fix. Not every day of the week needs a new meal, as you can depend on your pantry and leftovers, or you may be eating out on certain occasions. Have a plan, make a list and make a date to head to the grocery store.
13. Grocery shop. Just in the past few months, I have begun to shop weekly on a regular basis instead of monthly. I find I spend less and tend to not over-buy as much as I use to. Keep a grocery list in your kitchen somewhere handy so that when something runs out you can quickly add it and won’t have to worry about forgetting about it when your next trip to the store may be. While there may be instances throughout the week when you want to purchase fresh produce, bread or meat, that’s fine and encouraged, but for the regular necessities, try to go once a week to save time and money.
14. Organize laundry into appropriate piles. Depending upon how much laundry you have to do during a week, you may want to wash one load a day, but if there is just one or two of you in the household, weekly laundry duty should suffice. Whichever way is most helpful, have a handful of bins/baskets/containers that are organized by color and/or fabric (darks, whites, towels, rags, lingerie, etc). When tossing your clothes into the laundry room, immediately sort each item into their appropriate basket so that when you choose to wash your clothes, all you have to do is start the washer, add the detergent and toss the clothes in.
15. Clear out the DVR. If you watch television and have DVR, you have probably come to appreciate the convenience and time-saving aspects it offers. With that said, some weeks become much busier than others and your shows go unwatched, limiting the space that is on your DVR. Each Sunday before the week begins, try to go through the system and delete shows you know you’ll never have time to view, making space for those that are most looked forward to at the end of an excessively stressful day.
16. Plan the week. At the beginning of each week, block out 15-30 minutes to take your planner out and have a look at the week ahead. By doing this, you are preparing yourself for what will be expected of you in order to make it more productive and reminding yourself what you will need to do to remain energized.
17.Yard work. If you have a yard, take time each week to sweep the porch, do a bit of weeding, rake the left-over leaves and overall just tidy everything up. By doing something each week, you reduce those long, exhaustive days when you have to get everything done because either guests are coming or you have put it off for so long you no longer look forward to stepping a foot outside to complete what is begging to be spruced up. The yard is there to be enjoyed, so make it place that is inviting by giving it the same weekly attention your house needs.
18. Sync calendars with loved ones/children/multiple work schedules
One of the best changes I have made to my organization when it comes to calendars is to sync my blog and personal schedule as well as my teaching responsibilities into one calendar app. I use Calendly, but many people use Google Calendar. Here are a few others to check out to sync multiple calendars, most of which sync with both Apple and Android: SolCalendar, Calendars 5, and Outlook.
While I still use my paper planner predominately, when it comes to appointments, rigid time frames and dates I do not want to forget or overlap, having the app sync’d to my iCalendar eases my mind tremendously especially when it comes to scheduling guests for the podcast, working with other partners regarding my blog, etc.
As mentioned, a well-run life is one that is organized and well planned out. It doesn’t mean that you are a robot doing the same thing each week. On the contrary, it actually allows you to step out of a rigid schedule because what has to be completed is tended to as it becomes a habit and you can more fully enjoy your life.