#Essential Living

3 Essential Routines for Rhythm and Flow

February 20, 2018

We're continuing on with Part Two of our Create a Haven series.  This week the focus is on creating a rhythm and flow to our day.  Would you like to start the morning peacefully, feeling in control?  What is the biggest challenge in achieving it?  Too tired from the late night before?  Children waking up before you do?  No specific plan in place?  Is the idea of routines new to you, or do you feel it is too rigid and interferes with flexibility?  Routines are the simplest way to begin the process of ordering your day.  Don't knock it until you've tried it.  
When was the last time you actually sat down
and planned the first hour and last hour of your day?

One of the first things I do each morning is open up the blinds
and let the light in.
The first hour of the day is when we have the most control, right?  We can choose when we get up.  Do we think about what comes next? 

Your morning routine can be quick items taking 10 to 30 minutes or the complete time from when you get up to walking out the door.  I'm not a coffee drinker, yet is it something you look forward to each morning?  When do you make the bed - or do you?  Is there a rhythm to when you shower and get dressed?  Is allowing time to meditate important to beginning your day?

Questions.  Questions.  More questions!  "I don't have time to think about any of this.  What's the big deal anyway?  There isn't any if you feel in control.  Habit #7 of Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is Sharpen the Saw.  When we get too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw, everything becomes harder, more stressful and less effective.  We want easier, more peace and greater productivity, right?

Make a list of minimum tasks you need to do to feel put together each morning - commit to doing them every day.  Adding an activity you enjoy will increase your motivation to jump up and out of bed each day.

You can read about the 3 Benefits of a Routine and see a sample of my morning routine.


Isn't this lovely? 
Look, there is even evidence of a baby in the home.
Oh, and there is some Apple Jacks left out for the kiddos.

Or is this your reality?
Are you willing and ready to change it up?

Let's face it - cleaning up after life is a big job.  It's something akin to taking a math class.  If you don't keep up with it daily, you get behind and feel dumb and frustrated.  The thing is, you're a very intelligent, talented person capable of multi-tasking a myriad of to-do's.  Or are you?  Multi-tasking is out; essential routines are In.

More questions . . . What are you willing to put up with?  Do you want your kiddos to make their beds before leaving for school?  (They can be trained.)  Or is Saturday sufficient to do a cleaning blitz?  Are you okay with the chaos during the week?  Which is easier - small, daily clean-as-you-go efforts or periodic overhauls (like bedrooms and toys).  

Laundry is best when done every day.  Do you find it a challenge, however, to getting it folded and put away?  Work it into a routine.  We seem to insist on eating several times a day.  When do the dishes get done and the dishwasher unloaded?  It doesn't take too much time to clean up a few dishes and wipe the table and counter top, does it?  Even small children can help when taught how.

If more than one person lives in the house, then more than one person is part of the solution to keeping it clean and functioning.  Consider having a family or couple council to plan out a strategy.  Get everyone's input and commitment.  Reward good, consistent efforts.  Does the old saying, work before you play, make sense?  A word of caution:  don't make it too complicated.  It might be tempting to visit Pinterest and download a beautiful chart with stickers.  Pretty soon you're more stressed out keeping track of the calendar.  Find what works for you.  


Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.
At the end of a busy day, the first thing we want to do is unwind.  The time can easily get swallowed up, however,  making a manageable routine even more important to create an emotional and physical space to breathe.  Your evening routine might include making dinner, helping with school homework, extra-curricular activities, baths, getting ready for the next day, relaxing with a book or social media - and a bedtime.

I used to think routines didn't allow room for flexibility.  Now I know they are essential.  When we can establish these 3 routines and practice them long enough to become natural, there is more room for flexibility with other hours of our day.  Once we have learned them, we can teach our family.  Before you know it, the work is getting done without supervision or nagging.  Everybody is happy because Mama is smiling.  What a wonderful world that would be.

Motivation is what gets you started.  

Habit is what keeps you going.

Start with one routine and make it simple.



  1. My Mr. B has a very deliberate morning routine. Get up, start the coffee pot (which only requires the push of a button, because it was prepared the night before), go get the paper while the coffee brews, get a piece of cake, pie, or whatever, sit down in his recliner with the coffee, cake, paper and remote control. Then he turns on Good Morning America and reads the paper and enjoys his morning coffee and cake. After that, work on the cross-word puzzle a bit - and then he's ready to start the day.

    1. I love it - what a peaceful way to begin!


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