Monday, August 13, 2012

The Importance of Routine

I think routines are something most people use, whether aware of it or not, in daily life.  From your morning routine of get up, make the bed, brush your teeth, get dressed...etc.; to your nightly ritual of a bowl of ice cream during TV time.  Routine is what carries us through our days.

I know some moms who prefer schedules.  They plan each task to a certain time of the day, and that's fine.  I'm sure that works well for some moms.  I tried that when my twins were babies.  It made me feel constricted and I focused too much on the when and not enough on the what.

3 of my whats.
I then realized that I might not get everything done in a day, and that's OK.  As long as I was able to get a few main things done I still felt like I accomplished something for the day.

I then sat down and made a list of the tasks I felt absolutely needed to get done every day (or every other day) just to keep my sanity the house in order.  For me, these were meals, dishes, laundry and budget.  Everything else could be forgotten for even a few days.  These things are my base routine.  I gave myself a break and decided that if I maintain these four tasks, everything else is cake.

As a homeschool mom, I know first hand how important routines can be to getting anything done at all.  My routines keep me on track with meals, chores, school, budgeting...  the list goes on and on.   And I don't have just one all-purpose routine.  No way!  I have several to mix-and-match depending on the day.

My fancy handwritten routine that hangs on the front of my fridge.

Now don't you already feel better about yourself when you look at the fancy routine I have hanging for all to see on my fridge!  The way it works is simple.  I do a task in each box and then start over, picking a different task the next time round.  This way I don't get burned out by doing one thing for an hour.  And if I find myself walking in circles, because I can't decide what to do next, it's right there on the fridge.  There are permanent tasks written in sharpie on the paper, and temporary tasks, written in dry-erase on the sheet protector.  I can easily slip a new task into my routine at any time.

Not written out is my School routine which goes like this:
  • Bible
  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Math 
  • Spelling
  • Seat Work
I keep the books we are working from in a crate near our table.  They are kept in order of our routine.  I work from right to left (I've always been a little backwards!)  And when our new Latin book comes this week, I'll add it to our routine by sliding it in with the other books.  That way it won't be forgotten because I didn't get to that shelf which is what happens to our art curriculum on most days.

Believe it or not, there are some days that I wake up and just cannot get into my routine.   But that's the beauty of having a routine.  It doesn't matter what time we get up.  It doesn't matter if we have a play date at 1pm or a doctor's appointment at 10am.  We can just pick up right where we left off in the routine.

Do you prefer schedules or routines?  Do you display your routines; what visual cues do you use?  What have you found that works best for you?

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