Daily Routines – Do They Really Work?

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Daily Routines – Do They Really Work?

Do daily routines really work?  Do they help you stay focused or just add pressure and stress?

Many of us have heard our mothers, grandmothers, aunts or great grandmothers talk about “wash day”, “ironing day”, “baking day”, or “cleaning day”.

As a child, I often thought “it doesn’t take all day to do laundry”.  Well, back then it did!  They had to heat the water (quite often on a wood stove), wash items by hand, ring them by hand and hang them on the line to dry.  They didn’t have a modern convenience of putting the dirty clothes in a washer or clean clothes in the dryer and press start.

Our foremothers usually had to travel to town to shop.  Depending on their mode of transportation, it did involve being gone from home all day or part of the day.  They didn’t have the ability to just go to the corner market or grocery store.

I live about 40 miles from the nearest “city”. When I “go to town”, it’s an all day event. Included is grocery shopping, appts, and other errands so that I’m avoiding having to go to town more than I really need to. Ultimately, this saves on time and gasoline!

We do have many modern conveniences that can help us do some of our homemaking duties quicker.  These conveniences allow us to “multi task” and get many things completed in one day.  We’re also busier than ever!

Does that mean that routines don’t apply anymore?

They apply more than over!!!

When you think about the things on our “to-do list” each day, it can feel overwhelming.  Homemakers (whether you are stay at home or working outside the home) still have cleaning, cooking, shopping and laundry to do.  Even if you have a spouse that helps, it still needs to be done.  Then add a full time or part time job, kids activities, perhaps caring for elderly parents and the list goes on.  No wonder we get to the end of the day and feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

When my children were small, we had a favorite movie that we watched regularly called “The Cutting Edge”.  It’s about an injured hockey player who can’t play professionally any longer but wanted to continue to skate and a spoiled figure skater who doesn’t have a partner because no one will skate with her.  They are paired up and comedy ensues … along with frustration and, yes, a little romance.  When they perform, they skate to the middle of the ice, look at each other and in unison say one word to each other “routine”.  From that point, they go on autopilot.  Their performance is practiced so many times that muscle memory takes over and they “just do it”.

That’s how our household routines should be … what they should feel like.  

So how do we go about getting to the point that we do certain things on “autopilot”?  It’s all about the routine, baby!

These routines are done almost without thinking and they keep the wheels of your household moving.

Let’s start by thinking about the 2 routines that I think are the most important — morning and evening. 

These are the times that bookend the day!


What is involved with getting everyone ready for the day?  Make a list (don’t forget to include yourself).  You need to be ready for the day in order to help everyone else be ready.

  • Get yourself up and ready
  • Get kids up and dressed
  • Breakfast
  • Lunches made
  • Out the door

When I was getting kids off to school, my morning looked something like this –

Get up and start coffee

Shower and get dressed

(this is when my husband left)

Enjoy coffee while doing bible study (by this time, the older kids that set alarms for themselves were getting up)

Wake the younger kids

Fix breakfast

While kids were eating, I made lunches


Note:  If you home school, this routine still works (with slight tweaking).  It gets everyone up and ready for the day!

Now you’re ready to conquer the day!


Dinner is on the table (or almost) and now it’s time to switch gears a little.  I hope that you eat as a family when you have the opportunity.  It is SO important!!!

Dishes and kitchen tidying

Homework – when homework is finished, all items go back into backpack and staged in the same place each day so that it’s easy to find in the morning.

House walk-through – this is when everyone walks through the common areas of the home and pick up their things and puts them away (or at least into their own area).

Bath/shower for kids who don’t do that in the morning

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Brush teeth, stories, prayers … nighty night to kids

Time with spouse and/or yourself (both very important)

I’ve made a form to help you with these lists.  You’ll find it here.  I’ve also included spaces for Mid-day and Afterschool Routine lists.  So fill them out and try to make these activities part of your daily routine.

Remember – these are NOT set in stone!  Tweak them, change them, start over.  The point is to find something that works for you.  Take ownership and make them yours

What does your routine look like?  Let me know in the comments.



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