Life can get so busy, doesn’t it? and stressful too. This is when efficient daily routines come in handy to make our transitional periods automatic and fluid. And so, when unexpected things happens, we have simple habits to fall back upon.
What often happens is that the transitional times between events and activities (for example: in the morning, getting from home to school/work or in the evening, when we come home but perhaps have various engagements waiting for us) can cause unnecessary confusion, frustration and stress if we have not developed streamlined routines that clarify and simplify our lives.
We may scramble around to find our purses/wallet/phone. We have no clue what we’re going to wear. Or eat for breakfast/dinner. This heightens our already frenzied state and ultimately make us late or can directly impact our productivity level.
Efficient routines that don’t take too much time or resources on our part offer predictability and reliability. And that ultimately SAVES precious time that can be used to engage in meaningful and enriching activities. For example, more quality time spent with our families and friends, cooking a nutritious meal or working on a side project or hobby.
As a general rule, all the things that we must do in order to survive and fulfill our personal and professional obligations, especially if they are repetitive, we want to streamline, reduce the time spent on them and transform them into quick and efficient routines.
Most importantly, these routines become automated habits on which unstructured and creative endeavors can be built upon.
Full disclosure: most days, the only thing I want to do right after I get off work is get on the couch and mindlessly scroll on Instagram. I don’t do that though. I stay with the feeling and follow my routine. I make myself follow my routine.
Because, as I have found out many times before, spending too much time on social media/TV always leaves me feeling depleted, de-energized and unproductive. Life ultimately happens outside Instagram. We may document it, yes, and share it with the others but a full, deliberate and conscious life happens OUTSIDE.
So, first things first:
1) I take off my shoes
And slip into my comfy moccasins. This instantly makes me feel relaxed because I know that I am finally home. This also helps me keep my house cleaner and tidier. The shoes go back to their designated spot in the living room closet where we keep the rest of our shoes and outer garments.
This is also a good time to take a quick look and see: do my shoes need a bit of cleaning, a polish if they are made of leather? If you invest in good quality shoes, and I hope that you do, learning how to take really good care of them is a must! and the investment of time and care WILL pay off when they last you year after year. Besides cleaning and caring for them, I also take them to the local cobbler (and I am super, super grateful for having one in my hometown since this art and craft it’s a dying institution).
2) I change into my “inside” clothes
“Inside” clothes mean any clothes that you can comfortably wear whilst playing, cooking, gardening or working around the house, without worrying that you might stain or damage them.
Growing up in Romania, many resources that nowadays are affordable and abundant were scarce and expensive. Like coats, boots, blazers, dresses, nice shirts and pants. Thus, they became treasured possessions that were suitably cared for to last as long as possible. Clothes were mended, patched and repurposed before being discarded and even then, they would be turned first into cleaning rags before being thrown away. Thus, the need to have the utmost care for these items and not put them trough the strain of day to day living was the norm.
“Change your school clothes into your indoor/house clothes as soon as you get home” was drilled into me from the very beginning.
Added to that in Romania, and Europe for that matter, we have this culture of dressing well and putting your best foot forward out the door by wearing your best clothes. No matter where you are going: to the market, to school, to work, or to church. You never know whom you might meet on the way (your boss, your teachers, your other family members, etc.) and looking your best is associated with status and having respect for oneself.
Nowadays, with the rise of consciousness in consumers and a desire to invest in slow fashion on the rise, investing in less but quality pieces, dressing well every day and caring for my clothes is a habit that I am so grateful to have been brought up with.
Speaking of clothing:
3) I pre-select my clothes for tomorrow
I try and do this the moment I get home and after I’ve changed into my “indoor” clothes. It saves me so much time in the morning the next day and it is one less thing I need to worry about.
This habit takes less than 1 minute (seriously) if you have a well curated, seasonal capsule wardrobe. I generally switch my clothes around every 3 to 4 months and never have more than 30 pieces to work with any given moment. The rest of the clothes are stored away. This also allows me to periodically go through my clothing and donate what no longer serves me.
I will also select my underwear and accessories and generally, all the items I will need the next day.
I cannot recommend this enough! there are loads of capsules and seasonal wardrobe videos if you would like to give it a go. I’ve wrote about some of my faves in a previous post. You can check it out here.
4) I empty/organize the contents of my purse and lunchbox, and place my keys and sunglasses in their designated spot
Having a designated space, that is the same each day and free of clutter for your most needed possessions it is paramount in making sure that you are ready to leave the house at any given moment.
This specifically comes in handy when unexpected events happen in our lives, as they always do.
I like to make sure that I have everything ready for the next day right after I get off work. I clean my reusable water bottle and coffee cup and prep my lunch if I haven’t done so over the weekend. Thus, if I had a restless night and decide to sleep in in the morning, or hit an early morning yoga class, I have everything ready to grab and go in a minute.
This is the water bottle I have been using EVERY DAY in the past 3 years and I love it because it is very durable and allows me to put ice in it. It also keeps my water cold all day long.
For the coffee cup, I’ve had my Keep Cup for over 6 months now and is still going strong. I do, however, hand wash it to better preserve the cork around it. I’ve also dropped it multiple times but because it’s made of tempered glass, it does not break easily.
5) Decide how much time I want to spend relaxing (aka scroll mindlessly on Instagram/other social media)
This might be the most important step in my routine. Deciding on a set time allows me to keep a better check on what I consume online and how much time I spend on it. I have set a timer on my phone that lets me now when my time is up.
If I don’t do this, I find that hours can go by and at the end of it, I feel depleted and sometimes even depressed. I also have not walked/run, or worked on my personal goals or taken some time for myself. And that generally makes me feel like crap.
Life is long but passes so quickly. And in 100 years from now, none of us will be here. None.
This is the most sobering thought that instantly snatches me back from the clutches of self-indulgence and time-wasting.
Now, the nights where we binge watch Netflix or TV have their purpose too. But strive not to let them become a daily evening habit.
Get to know yourself by trying new things, investing time in your hobbies, listening to an audiobook/podcast, reading, writing and journaling. Get to know others while you still can by spending quality time (without technology, if possible) with your children, your family and friends.
TV can wait. Netflix can wait. Video Games can wait.
Go out there and LIVE your life.
As always, we want to strive for balance. For me, that means that on Friday nights, I am on my couch watching You Tube videos on cooking and traveling (two of my passions), but for the rest of the evenings, I strive to work on personal goals and plans.
Going back to my post work routine, here is a step by step guide to get you thinking about yours:
- Identify the 3 – 5 key steps in your own post work routine and how can you streamline them to make them more efficient and less time consuming
- Designate spaces for your most needed and daily used items like: keys, wallet, phone, purse, shoes and your daily outfit. Keep these spaces free of clutter so that these items can be easily spot in the morning or in case of an emergency
- For planning and working on your post post work/evening goals, here is a planner that I have been enjoying in the past half year and it is so awesome to be able to see my whole week spread out and have dedicated spaces for mornings and evenings. I find that I waste less time if I have something in the evening to look forward to and if I write it down, even better
Ok, that’s it! tell me about yours and what do you think of mine.
Also, thank you so much for taking the time to read this! time is precious and valuable so it means the world to me that you’ve taken to time to read my blog post and I truly hope you found it helpful.
Lots of love,
*photo found on pexels.com