Friday, October 4, 2013

Morning & Evening Routines for Simple Living {Day 4}

Establishing a morning and evening routine is one of my favorite tips for simple living. 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 sets up a cadence for our days so we naturally know what comes next. This is so important for children.  A morning routine can reduce fussiness at the beginning of the day and an evening routine of a bath followed by story time and prayers naturally slows their pace so they're ready for bed without the struggle.

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

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 was too constraining. Creatives tend to like a more relaxed 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...oh my, it was all too much!!

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

Morning Routine (9:00 am - 11:00 am)

  • Wake up
  • Walk the dog
  • Exercise
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get ready for the day
  • Meditation, prayer and scripture study
  • Write in Gratitude Journal
  • 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

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 yourself blocks of time will keep you focused and still allow an openness that a more scheduled or restrictive routine will not.  This flexibility then establishes a flowing structure so there are no feelings of frustration if more time is needed for a particular task.

Tools for the Journey...

We wanted to make sure you had some tools for the journey so we've included our free printable - Morning & Evening Routines.  Download it HERE.

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 Simple Living. Tomorrow we'll be discussing gratitude and how the simple act of being thankful can set the tone for the entire day.

Join Our Pinterest Group Board to Share Your Progress...

I've created a group board specifically for the 31 Days of Simple Living series. Each day I'll be pinning our posts along with other pins that relate to the daily challenge.

If you'd like to pin your progress or helpful posts related to the daily focus, email me and I'll be happy to add you to the group.  The neat thing about this new board is that it can provide a continual supply of encouragement even after the 31 Days is over.

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Ÿ Intro              Ÿ Day 6             Ÿ Day 12           Ÿ Day 17           Ÿ Day 22           Ÿ Day 27
Ÿ Day 1             Ÿ Day 7             Ÿ Day 13           Ÿ Day 18           Ÿ Day 23           Ÿ Day 28
Ÿ Day 2             Ÿ Day 8             Ÿ Day 14           Ÿ Day 19           Ÿ Day 24           Ÿ Day 29
Ÿ Day 3             Ÿ Day 9             Ÿ Day 15           Ÿ Day 20           Ÿ Day 25           Ÿ Day 30
Ÿ Day 4             Ÿ Day 10           Ÿ Day 16           Ÿ Day 21           Ÿ Day 26           Ÿ Day 31
Ÿ Day 5             Ÿ Day 11           Ÿ Day 18           Ÿ Day 1             Ÿ Day 22            Ÿ Day33

In Gratitude,

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