How I created a functionable routine is actually a bit of a long story. And after Lily came along, blogging because a full time gig for me. I knew I needed something that would keep me on top of my game and, with a major love for planning supplies, I also knew coming up with something wouldn't be easy.
Creating a routine is something that semi happens naturally when you have a new baby. While you are getting to know each other, you are also starting to set boundaries and a routine that will likely be embedded in you and your child for years to come. Haphazardly trying to get yourself organized, work and change diapers is absolutely zero fun.
So when I came up with a routine that worked I thanked the gods of Pinterest for putting me on the right path.
Time blocking is your friend my dears! It's the only way I can even begin to make a plan for any day. Color coding is my second secret weapon and the two, hand in hand, will make every day much more smoothly run. This I can promise you with 100% certainty.
So what's my day look like?
This is my morning "me" time. I wake up with my alarm (and I am proud to report that I broke the nasty habit of hitting snooze!), turn my FitBit sleep mode off and head up to get coffee. I set my coffee pot to start brewing about a half hour before I wake up so that it has filled completely and is steaming hot. Once the coffee is poured and I have had my first few sips, my brain starts to wake up and go into action mode. This is the time I check my FitBit sleep stats, check in on any challenges I am working on, post my first image on Instagram, say hello to the first round of new followers on Twitter and reTweet a few relevant posts. I then take myself and my coffee to my laptop where I hop on my blog to make sure all posted accordingly and add the most recent post to my buffer lineup. Then I change into workout gear, grab my Kindle to fire up my BodBot app and grab myself a bottle of water. Time to get my (home) gym on!
It's workout time! I hit the water bottle a few times while firing up my music, popping the 'phones in my ears and taking off running using the BodBot app. Sometimes I will do a little yoga before a harder workout if I am slow to wake or happen to be super sore that morning. BodBot is one of the greatest workout tools I have ever used and for all of you at-home working moms out there, I have to say you won't regret using it. Bonus: it's FREE! I put in an hour total. Usually my BodBot app will get me going for between 30-45 minutes so I use the other 15 to chug the rest of my water and then hit the shower.
9 AM - 12 PM:
First thing first is to get Lil'Elle up and moving and get us both dressed and fed. While I am doing this, I am also checking emails, sending off check ins for my VA and Design clients and creating a task list in my head. Lil'Elle likes to work with me so once we are fed and watered, we sit down together and she works on her reading, writing and other pre-K materials while I get my real work going. Sometimes we listen to music in the background and sometimes we turn on the TV but either way, this is pretty dedicated work time.
Lunch! Well, lunch and play time. Once I have sent off any updates and reports from my work hours, Lil'Elle and I head upstairs to make lunch, clean up the kitchen, prep coffee for the next day and prep dinner. Once we have eaten we play. I also use this time to check in on personal emails, texts, phone calls and check my FitBit goals for the day and where I am with meeting them.
This time frame is a lot looser. If I have pressing issues for work, I get them taken care of right away. But this time is also when I do my scheduling (posts and Buffer) and research, cold email potential clients, follow up on any work related contacts (that aren't directly engaged. My first time block of work is for my current clients only where this block is for that as well as potential clients or connections). I update social media again here, reply to any blog comments and play with Lil'Elle.
Dinner and Family time. This is SO important to me. Lil'Elle and I prepped dinner at lunch time so I just need to start cooking. Depending on the meal, Lil'Elle helps me get it in the oven/stove/microwave, etc and we goof off and play around while it cooks. I check in again with personal matters and just enjoy being with my baby girl. We eat together and maybe watch a movie or TV show after we eat then clean up together.
Final daily to-do's. This is the time I get anything else wrapped up for work or blogging that needs to be done TODAY but wasn't a top priority. I make a note of what needs to be moved to the next day, followup on anything I need to add to my planner, check any open shipments and update that log, make sure my next days blog post is set and ready and then log my TV shows for that night so they are ready when I wish to watch them. After all this is done, I will no longer be putting in any time for work so I shut down all my programs and clean up my desktop.
Study time! I'm taking several eCourses right now for many things and this is the time slot I alot for myself to get this done. This is Lil'Elle's time with her Kindle or other tablet and she loves to play hard with them all. If I happen to have an exam, I don't put in a full hour but after I take said exam I will take the time to read up on some other things I like learning about. Listverse is great for this.
Bed time for Lil'Elle is at 10 PM sharp so we read books a bit and do the usual nightly hugs & tucks. Then it's off to dreamland. I, myself, use the next 40-45 minutes to relax with some soft meditative music or breathing exercises and then read myself to sleep
Rinse and Repeat
Obviously my day doesn't always flow quite this easily. There are some days I have appointments or play dates or just errands to run and on Wednesdays I have dinner with The Abbster, just the two of us. But for the most part, this routine works for me and is set up in a way that is perfectly flexible. For example; excepting the occasional doctor appointments, I am rarely out of the house to go and do anything before noon. This means my priority design and virtual assistant work is getting completed every single day. Anything else truly is flexible.
The moral of the story:
Keep things comfortable. Set up a routine that works for you and yours. Yes, you should read posts like this and check Pinterest for the best ways to create a morning or evening routine that work for you, but you should also keep in mind what you need to do each week and do you the way you need to. No one can tell you exactly how to live your life or plan your day. We can just hand you the tools to create the beset you that you can be.
Now it's YOUR turn!
What does your routine look like?
How important is a routine to you and your family?
What resources do you recommend using for newbies wanting to establish a routine?
Until next time!