Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Days :: Prepare Your Day with a Morning and Evening Routine - Day 9

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Growing up, our lives were quite busy. My father was a pastor, my mother was a teacher (she also worked in the church too by leading groups and conferences) and we were involved in almost every activity imaginable. Even within that chaos of constant activity, we had morning and evening routines. They were simple, but provided a constant in a harried world of over scheduled lives.

Routines simplify our schedule and ensure that important things get done. It reduces stress, helps us to focus and provides a stability for the times when we just can't think another thought (; Having routines set up a cadence for our days so we naturally know what comes next. This is perfect for children...a bath followed by story time and prayers naturally slows their pace so they're ready for bed without the struggle.

I got out of this practice after college and then wondered why little was getting done (; Setting up a morning and evening routine got things back on track for a while, but it quickly faded and I couldn't figure out why.

Then it hit me...it was too constraining. Those who are creative tend to like a more relaxed schedule...one that allows the flow of creativity to move. Waking up at a certain time, getting ready by a certain time, exercising at a certain time, eating at a certain time...it was all too much!!

Now I use a list...you know I LOVE lists (; There are certain things I do each morning and evening, but instead of scheduling a specific time, I use blocks of time. Here's an example:

Morning Routine (9:00 am - 11:00 am)
  • Wake up
  • Walk the dog
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Exercise
  • Meditation, prayer and scripture study
  • Review 7 Daily Do's and today's schedule
  • Check orders/emails

Evening Routine (11:00 pm - 1:00 am)
  • Review the day's work, glance at goals (long and short term), plan tomorrow's schedule
  • Prep for the next day - do things to make the following day easier
  • Exercise - stretching, toning
  • Get ready for bed
  • Walk the dog
  • Meditation, prayer and devotional
  • Write in Gratitude Journal

This kind of flexible routine is one that feels natural to me. Each task isn't set to a specific time.  It offers options.  I'm free to take more time to walk the dog and then shorten my regular exercise routine.  If the spirit moves and more focus is needed during meditation, I just move things about so everything fits.

Giving myself a block of time keeps me focused, but still allows an openness that a more scheduled or restrictive routine cannot give.  This flexibility then naturally sets the day up for success so there are no feelings of frustration if more time is needed for a particular task.

Do you have a morning and evening routine? How has it simplified your life? Do you notice a difference on those days when the morning and evening routines are followed versus the days that have no routine at all?

I hope you'll continue to join us for our 31 Days of Preparation journey. On Day 10 we'll share how we've been preparing our home for Halloween with some tips on Decor and Halloween treats to follow so stayed tuned!  Enter your email below and each post will automatically be delivered to your inbox. Don't forget to stop by the many other 31 Dayers for additional inspiration!
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In Gratitude,

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