How Routines Have Made My Life Better.


I’ve mentioned routines a lot and how important they are for my success and sanity. My overarching goal for 2015 was to implement more routines in my life and for the next month, I’m going to share what those routines are.

Today, let’s talk about how routines have made my life better.

Why Routines Are Important

Reducing decision fatigue 

Decisions can be tiring. Instead of using our finite amount of decision energy to decide things like, “What will I do today? When should I clean the bathrooms? What should I make for dinner tonight?” building those decisions into our routines saves our energy for more important decisions.

It also preserves our self-control for longer in the day, because a self-control is part of decision-making. Deciding whether to have a green smoothie or a chocolate croissant for breakfast requires the self-control to choose what will make us feel better in the long run. Building that into a routine eliminates the decision, of course I have the green smoothie because that’s what I do every morning.

Ideally, this helps me to be able to make good decisions at the end of the day – like not eating five mini candy bars and wasting an hour on Twitter. I’ve saved that decision and self-control all day by having pre-made decisions.

Work your priorities into routines

The power of routine is that I can put my money where my mouth is by looking at my days and my priorities and seeing if they are reflected in each other.

Let’s say for example I have priorities to be physically active, meditate, and read to my sons, but my days aren’t reflecting that.

I can weave these priorities in my routines so that they become part of the pre-made decisions I discussed earlier.

Make sure the stuff gets taken care of

Having routines for cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and so on helps me make sure that the stuff I don’t think about gets taken care of. Nothing (or far less) slips through the cracks.

Overall, routines help me to think about things instead of things. It keeps me from popcorn brain “Oh! I need to email this person!” “Oh! I forgot to sweep the kitchen floor!” by knowing everything has its time and will get done.

Family Rituals as Routines

Kids who are in families with a strong sense of family identity have higher coping and resiliency. Part of that sense of family identity are rituals and traditions.

Our family life benefits so much from having routines in our days and weeks. It helps kids to know what to expect and gives them things to look forward to. Even something small like getting a smiley face for getting dressed in the morning becomes a routine they look forward to.

The predictability of “this is how our days go” calms them (and me). Our days are so much better as a result of routines. I cannot really overstate the amount that things have improved by having a routine for the days I am home with them.

We have routines and rituals for evenings and weekends, too, as well as holidays. Thinking back to when I was a kid, I remember the familiarity and comfort of these kinds of rituals and want the same for my kids.

(Shout out to Simplicity Parenting as a book that helped me realize how important rituals and routines are in families.)

Next week, I’ll share what our daily routine with a one- and five-year-old looks like.

Life this Week.


Hi, hello, how's it going? Last week, my parents came to visit for 4 days - it was great! It was dark the entire time they were here, which was a bit of a downer, but it was so nice to get to see them and, of course, have babysitters so we could go out alone! We went to the nearby hippie college … Click here to read the full post →

Big Kid.


I can't pick up my baby anymore. He's too big or I'm too small. Either way, I can't remember the very last time I was able to pick Gabe up and hold him. Sure, I can give him a piggy back ride, but it's not the same as hug-holding him. Every time we walk anywhere, Gabe slips his little hand into … Click here to read the full post →

Choosing between Convenience and Values.


A reader asks: How do you decide when to focus your energy on better choices versus choosing convenience? I think it can be so hard to opt for what's right over what's ready (example: the pants I know fit from Banana, versus seeking an ethical and sustainable new brand when I need new pants … Click here to read the full post →

Cloth diapering, the second time around.


I cloth diapered Gabe from about 10 days old, and did the same this time around. Here's what I wrote about cloth diapering last time: two months in and two years in. This time around I really simplified my stash and routine: Washing more often. Instead of every 3-4 days, I've been washing … Click here to read the full post →

October Update & November Intentions.


[October Update] WORK| Start Little Leaf Newsletter. Yes! I sent a newsletter out to my former clients and to my list. I got good feedback, which was a relief because I was surprisingly nervous about it. LEARN | Do lesson two of development course. Errr, smallest step was still too big. About 17 … Click here to read the full post →

The Website Redesign Process – How I Do It From Start to Finish.


I talk about how I'm a web designer here, but thought I'd share the start to finish of one of my recent website redesigns to give you an idea of what the process is like: Step 1: Initial contact. A client finds me (usually through a referral - this particular one found me through another client in … Click here to read the full post →