How to Develop a Routine When You’re Not a Routine Person

I’m definitely not a routine person.

But, I’ve always wanted to be.

Sometimes I’ll see routine-girls on Instagram and be amazed. I’ll sit in awe and wonder how they do it.

In areas that I enjoy, like laundry or picking up, it’s worked out fine. I do those things when I feel like it. And, because I like the results, I feel like it often.

I walk by our laundry basket, see it’s getting full, and start a load. I like the transformation of a full basket to an empty one.

Read this post on laundry if it’s not your thing.

I also LOVE a picked up house. I can zip through my house and pick it up very quickly. I get motivated to tidy up the kitchen regularly because it makes me so happy to see a clean countertop. After I clear it off, I use a spray bottle filled with 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water with a clean microfiber cloth and shine the counter. Is it weird that I get so happy seeing a clean counter top?

On the other hand, not being a routine person hasn’t served me well in other areas like keeping my house actually clean (bathrooms, dust, floors), spending time with the Lord, meal planning and exercising.

It has always been a battle to consistently keep any sort of routine.

This has caused me to feel a lot of shame and disappointment with myself. I criticize myself and wonder why I can’t be like that person who loves reading her Bible every morning. Or, like that person who gets so much done because of her disciplined, routine-filled days.

What I’ve learned in 2018

First, I’m becoming aware of how I talk to myself regarding this. It’s been eye-opening. And kind of sad.

I’m learning how to be curious about it instead of judgmental. My brain is used to offering me these thoughts. It’s being efficient, which is its job. But, I don’t have to believe the thoughts it offers! I can choose to gently change my inner-talk, to choose another thought.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

I am wonderfully made. I have God’s power available to help me do this!

Second, in 2018 I chose just two things I wanted to do routinely. I’ve found a simple method that has helped.

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Here is what I did:

In 2018 I chose to do two things every day:  read/listen to my Bible chronologically using the YouVersion app on my phone AND make my bed.

Every week, when I plan my top five things to do each day, I write down as number one:

  1. Bible/make bed.

I make my bed right when I get up if my husband is already up. Sometimes he’ll make it. It’s no big deal. If he doesn’t, I do it when I come back in the room.

When I don’t feel like it, I’ll remind myself how much I love the feeling when I see it made. It literally only takes one to two minutes. Two minutes is worth the confidence of following through with what I said I was going to do and the joy of seeing it made.

I usually listen to my Bible reading while I get ready in the morning. If I don’t do it then, I listen to it while I drive to my client’s house or do some kitchen work. Sometimes I’ll sit and listen and read along with it.

What about you?

First, choose one or two things you want to do.

Keep it simple. It could be to do one cleaning activity each day, meal plan once a week, read your Bible daily, clean your counters and sink every night, make your bed, or drink 16 ounces of water right when you wake up. Whatever sounds easy enough and/or important to you.

Next, decide when you will complete each task.

It doesn’t have to be at 7:00 AM. It could be before you go to bed, Sunday evenings, etc.

Write out a short list of your priority tasks each day.

I have a free printable – the Ultimate Weekly Planning Worksheet – that helps. I’ve also used the Productivity Planner which limits my list to five things. But, you could use the Lists or Reminder app on your phone or a Post-it note.

Be gracious to yourself.

Now you know what you are doing and when you will do it.

If you miss a day, watch your thoughts. You don’t have to believe that you’re a loser and can never get organized in a routine. Don’t make missing a day mean anything. I’ve missed days. I just catch up on my bible reading the next day. Over thanksgiving, while we were out of town, I missed every day of my Bible app, Wednesday through Sunday. On Monday I started listening to two days at a time and caught up. No big deal.

My goal is no longer perfection.

I’ve made a decision not to make it mean anything about who I am or what I can do. If I miss, I just start the next day or the next day. I do these things because I want to. But, I don’t have to do them perfectly.

I’m happy to report that becoming a routine girl is possible. I am current on my Bible reading and will have listened to the entire Bible this year. It has also become a habit to make my bed every morning.

I’m excited to think of what is possible. I’m deciding now what two things I will add on in 2019.

What about you?

What one or two things do you want to focus on in 2019? Let us know in the comments. And, if you want more help you can join my course From Chaos to Order: A Confident Approach to Home Management.

Let’s do this routine thing in 2019!


Tracy Hoth, Simply Squared Away

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