I’m sure by now, you’ve seen checklists and step by step guides to getting everything done, every day and becoming a to-do list rockstar. There’s no shortage of them and many of these lists can be very helpful and inspiring. The problem with some lists is that they can also be overwhelming. While the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly whole house, deep clean checklist will more than likely cover everything, it can be exhausting just to read through that entire list, let alone think about starting any of it.
So how do you begin to tackle a huge list like that? Start small and start with a handful of tasks every day that can make that gigantic cleaning list or the mile long to-do list a little less daunting.
What is a Daily Routine?
The key to creating new habits is to start small. One of the best ways to start implementing small habits around the house is with a daily routine. This can be as simple as even just making your bed in the morning or washing (and folding!) one load of laundry every day so you don’t have to spend your weekend tackling laundry mountain. When you spend a few minutes each day working on a task, there’s not a chance for that to pile up and turn into a day of catching up.
All of this is in the name of keeping things simple and flowing smoothly. Think about it. Is there something, that if done every day, would make things easier? What if the dishes were washed in the evening (or if the dishwasher was run in the evening) so they were done and ready to go in the morning? What if most of the clothes were already folded and put away so it was easy to pick what to wear without hunting through baskets? How much easier would it be to prepare a meal if the counters were cleaned off and the sink was empty before you started? These are all small tasks that can be done each day to make another aspect of the day easier and less stressful.
Picking Your Tasks
I gave some examples in the above paragraph but there’s also no shortage of ideas online. Look around your house too and think about the things that drive you crazy when they’re not done, or the things that bring you peace when they are. These tasks are perfect to incorporate into a daily routine. Does this sound crazy? Probably. But it works too. So think about the things you’d love to have done every day.
Here are some ideas:
- quick sweep of the kitchen/entrance/mudroom
- wipe down kitchen counters
- pick up and put away things away for 5 minutes each night
- start the dishwasher
- empty the dishwasher
- make the beds
- start and finish a load of laundry
- wipe down bathroom sinks and counters
- empty trash, and recycling
- clean the coffee maker so it’s ready in the morning
Selecting a Morning and Evening Task
Now we’re going to start building a very simple daily routine. Look at or think about the list you came up with and pick two tasks, one to do as soon as you get up in the morning and one to do in the evening before you go to bed.
For the morning, pick something quick. You don’t want to spend an hour in the morning doing something because you’ll end up burning yourself out that way. My morning task is making my bed. It’s simple, quick, and is a great way to start my day. I like to fold the laundry on the bed so having it made means don’t have to make the bed later to fold clothes. I also get frustrated trying to fall asleep when the sheets and blankets are all tangled up. Lucky for him, my husband doesn’t seem to have this issue and others may not either but for me, being able to lay down under a freshly made bed in the evening is relaxing and I fall asleep better.
Next, think about a task to do in the evening. This one can take a little bit longer than the morning one but again, don’t make it something that’s going to take most of the evening when you want to relax. My task is emptying the sink and clearing off the counters. I’ll make sure the dishwasher is loaded, dishes are hand washed if need be, leftovers are put away and I can wipe down the counter so it’s clean in the morning.
This is an example of how doing a little every day can keep things simple. While I certainly don’t love doing dishes by any means, you know what’s worse than doing dishes in the evening? Doing multiple days worth of dishes in an evening, after spending all day trying to figure out how to work around a full sink and full counters.
With your morning and evening tasks selected, it’s time to start creating that routine!
Making the Routine Habit
Part of what makes a routine successful is making it, well, a routine! This is something you want to do every single day so that it becomes a habit. So set yourself up for success and commit to sticking to this routine. Set alarms, put up notes around the house, or make a checklist to check off every day. Do whatever works best for you to get started.
Once you have your reminders up, BEGIN TODAY! If it’s halfway through the day, that’s perfectly fine because you picked a task to do in the evening. Do that before you go to bed tonight and start on your morning task once you wake up! Are you reading this with your morning cup of coffee or tea? Get started on that morning task as soon as you’re done! There’s no procrastinating on something you do every day so you may as well begin.
Follow this routine for a month and then decide if you need to modify it or if you want to add to that. If you picked something that doesn’t need to be done every single day, change it. Or if you happened to pick a task that takes a long time, adjust sooner. The key is to enjoy the results.
Adding on to the Routine
After a month, if you’re starting to get your routine down and it’s moving quickly, you may want to go ahead and add in more tasks. I’d recommend starting with one extra morning and/or one extra evening task, depending on what you feel is best. Start small and build on until you get to a point where you’re comfortable. Keep in mind that these daily tasks don’t have to be large and most of the time shouldn’t be. You can always do big projects, like clean out the basement, deep clean the kitchen, or scrub the bathroom, during the day when you feel like it without that becoming part of the routine.
Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t create a long list to do every day. In almost all cases, you’ll likely fail because it will just be too overwhelming. Start small and work on building the habit. Stick with easy, quick tasks and do them consistently. You can add on once you get comfortable with those first few tasks but don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning.
Avoid tasks that take a long time to complete. You’ll be doing the same thing every day so it shouldn’t take too long. Whether it’s wiping down the bathroom counters in the evening or sweeping the kitchen floor every night, these areas won’t have much time to get really dirty in one day so they shouldn’t take long to do.
Give yourself grace. There will come a time when you’ll drop the ball on your daily routine. Something could come up outside of the house, maybe you’ll be sick, end up swamped with work, etc. Life happens and that’s ok. If you just can’t get to your daily tasks, let it go and don’t stress over it. Tomorrow will be a new day and you can start fresh then.
Start Your Daily Routine Today!
There’s no time like the present, right? Begin today and start simplifying your day. You’ll be starting by checking something off your to-do list, which can set the tone for the rest of the day. Every little bit helps!
What did you pick for your morning and evening tasks? I’d love to hear what your must-do things are!