Making your routines work

Making your routines work

Do it. Do it and do it again: dishes, laundry, meal preparation, house cleaning, grass mowing, car washing, bill paying, errand running, grocery shopping.

Some things just have to be done repeatedly, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Over and over and over and over again. I sometimes wonder how many times I have washed the same dish in a day or in a year. The same holds true for laundry. Just how many times have I washed those yoga pants or folded that pair of jeans? If I knew, I would probably really cringe.

What’s the best way to cope with all this repetition? Unfortunately, I have to admit routines are the winner. Honestly, I don’t like them. I find routines mind-numbingly boring. But they work.

Routines can streamline the stuff that has to get done over and over and over so we have more time for variety.

Because many routines don’t take much thought once established, try to find things that exercise your mind. I find audiobooks incredibly helpful. I gravitate to biographies and histories so I can learn as I work. However, I do admit I sometimes resort to mystery and adventure novels.

Is there a life situation that needs thought? Brainstorm solutions or make notes while you fold the laundry.

Do you need to give a speech, make a presentation or talk to someone about a delicate situation? Practice while you work through your routine.

If you’re a music fan, turn up the tunes while you iron the laundry.

Talk to your parrot. OK, this may not apply to everyone, but our African grey parrot and I have had lots of crazy conversations while I wash dishes. For some reason the running water puts him in the mood to talk.

Enjoy the routine for its simplicity. Much of life can be challenging or stressful. So folding laundry may be the most relaxing thing in your day.

If you are new to a routine task, try to pay more attention. How could you improve the system? Could you eliminate steps? Would it help to put things in place ahead of time? Would planning, such as meal planning, make your work faster or more successful? Would a particular time of day, day of the week or a specific location make the routine task more efficient?

Sometimes just realizing you need to develop a routine for a chore is the first step. By doing my farm tasks in a particular order, I can do them faster and make sure I don’t miss anything. Of course, it also gives me more time to pet the sheep and admire the new chicks.

So next time you find yourself slogging through the same task again, consider how you could turn it into an efficient routine. Brainstorm ways to make the time enjoyable. Certain things in life just need to be done, some of which need to be repeatedly and often. Accept it, make it efficient, enjoy it and get to it.

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