Routines are something I advocate. Life is simpler when we have some in place to keep things running smoothly and more importantly gives our minds space and peace not having to track that additional data.
I already talked about the chores we need to do daily or weekly, but what about the less frequent, yet still regular tasks on our lists?
This is where the idea of routines I think becomes even more powerful. Those things we do every other week, once a month, or quarterly can easily become nagging worries. Do we remember when we last changed the oil in the car? Or changed the toothbrushes? Has the pile of paperwork that needs filing started toppling over?
When you set routines, combine the tasks that happen at the same interval together. It reduces the amount of thinking required of you and eliminates the worry about trying to remember them.
Be careful not to make it overwhelming though. You want to make it relatively simple. If there are a number of monthly tasks that could make it to your list; think about breaking them into two chunks.
I dislike filing and I am not a proponent of immediate filing (though it works well for some people), but find it makes a decent monthly chore. At that level, it is not overwhelming and quite simple and straightforward to accomplish. I also need to run vinegar and water through the coffee pot once a month (again not necessarily the frequency of anyone else) so I do these two things once a month.
Later in the month, I have several other monthly tasks that I do. I break up the filing from some of these other tasks since I do not enjoy filing and need to make it easier. Another monthly task is time consuming and becomes something that feels a little tedious, so that goes into the other group.
When was the last time you changed your toothbrush? I don’t know about any of you, but I would struggle to remember when I was supposed to change them again or even when I last changed them. My intentions were always good, but amidst all of life, it would slip my mind. The American Dental Association recommends changing them every three to four months depending on how the bristles are wearing.
By coordinating changing the toothbrushes with the changing of the seasons, it became something I no longer had to think or worry about anymore. I already put out seasonal decorations, so I just connected these tasks together and changing the toothbrush becomes automatic.
Setting up routines, whether for the regular chores or in coordinating your tasks, is about ways to make your life simpler. It also allows your mind to have that much less to try to keep track of and offer you the chance to focus on the things that matter to you.
What are you going to do to make your life simpler?