Harnessing the Power of Routines

H ave you been feeling a little stuck?  Are you finding yourself feeling overwhelmed?    I’m going to share with you a great tool for getting unstuck and combating overwhelm: harness the power of nourishing routines.

I know, I know.   Just the word “routine” sounds incredibly stiff and inflexible. And the mere suggestion that creating a routine can dissolve the glue that is keeping you stuck or provide the balm to soothe you sounds like the advice of a 1950’s housewife.

But let me tell you something, darling: good routines aren’t stiff, inflexible or old-fashioned.

Routines are about managing your energy effectively so that you can channel it towards your real desires and purpose.  Routines fuel your day and nourish your spirit.

Often times, we feel stuck because we’re allowing life to simply happen around us.  We feel overwhelmed because we are trying to squeeze as much as possible into each day, usually without a plan of any sort.  We are stuck in habits that exacerbate our feelings of stuck-ness and our feelings of being overwhelmed paralyze us. We have no nourishing routines to help frame our life.

When you make the decision to take charge of how you spend your time, you begin to move yourself off of dead center.  You also bring calming energy to you day.

You may tell me that you have routines in place and still feel overwhelmed and or stuck.  If that’s the case, then it’s time to shake things up and create effective and nourishing routines.

And baby, if you have no solid routines in place, then let’s create them!

I’ve discovered that two routines that, when created with forethought, will frame your days:  a morning routine and a bedtime routine.

Think of these routines as parenthesis around your day.

A bedtime routine serves two purposes: to close out your day as well as stage the coming day.  What nourishes you is something for you to determine, but I can suggest three elements for you:  self-care (brushing your teeth, washing your face, moisturizing your skin, taking your medication), preparing for the coming day (reviewing your calendar for meetings and appointments, choosing your clothes, staging brief case and keys by the door) and a brief moment of stilling your mind (prayer, meditation, gratitude journal writing, etc).

When you bring to your world an extra-ordinary bedtime routine, it allows you to fall asleep with a bit of a peaceful heart – and sets you up for beginning the next day with slow, deliberate action instead of a flurry of rushing around.

A morning routine should be made up of actions that create an environment of order and support.   Tasks like unloading your dishwasher and  clearing the bathroom counter. When you work from home, it eliminates your distraction – and if you work outside of your home, it means you aren’t overwhelmed the moment you walk in the door because of disorder.  Providing yourself with an environment of order is critical to productivity.  By having a handy place for items to go, you are able to do easy tasks without having to strategize or think.  This leaves your energy for creating and strategizing where it belongs: on your work!

I won’t get deep into the benefits of a meditation practice, but darling, if you are feeling overwhelmed on a regular basis, include a brief moment of stilling your mind in morning routine as well.

And one last thing that I consider the cornerstone to any morning routine:  make your bed. I feel so powerfully about making the bed that it’s the first task in my 30 days to Clarity:  Clutter Busting Course.

Don’t underestimate the power of making your bed.  It’s a way of closing out the last day and reminding you that you have a fresh slate in front of you.  Adding small rituals of opening and closure to your day gives tremendous value to your mind and soul.

The whole concept of nourishing routines may sound simplistic, but I dare you to give it try.  I’ve learned personally – and via my clients – that seemingly small details can make the difference between a fabulous flowing and productive day instead of a crappy and chaotic one.

Creating solid and nourishing routines allows your brain to go on auto-pilot and get outstanding results while opening up this beautiful space in your life. It allows you to complete necessary tasks with a minimum of energy expenditure – leaving the important parts of your life to get the lion’s share of your precious attention and energy.

This opening up of space will soon get you out of your “stuck” mode. The increase in productivity will calm your mind and you’ll feel less overwhelmed.

What about you?  What preparations can you make to allow a slow and deliberate start to your day?  Where you can set up an environment of order?  What small acts of completion can you take to open and close your day?

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By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

16 Responses to “Harnessing the Power of Routines” Subscribe

  1. Mindy Crary July 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    My cats actually help me create my morning and evening routine . . . they wait patiently (but expectantly) for me to get up, get ready and then play with them, which helps slow me down and not feel so “gotta-get-this-done” about moving into my day; then in the evening we play again and they help me unwind from everything I did. Animals seem to have a natural routine that help me stay on track!

    • An July 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Love this, Mindy! (I so wanna have a cat – someday 🙂 )

  2. An July 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I love how you reframed brushing your teeth, washing your face and moisturizing as selfcare – when I’m tired I often tend to think of these things as “must do these, but don’t feel like it” chores that I have to push myself through. Definitely gonna see them as loving acts of selfcare tonight – funny I never thought of them like that before 🙂

  3. Blaze July 7, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    It’s funny, so often I think…here I am brushing my teeth again.

    I love vision boards, and live my life by envisioning my future…so I few years ago I decided to add a small vision board to the inside of my medicine cabinet. Every morning and evening I get to enjoy my vision of the future…as I brush my teeth.

    Two routines for the price of one. 🙂 (And don’t forget to update your vision board on a regular basis.)

  4. Joanna Weston July 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Have you been inside my head? Because I have been slipping into some crazy overwhelm the last few weeks, and I had just been considering that better routines might be the answer!


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