I had a whole other post planned for today but I need help so I’m going in a different direction and I’ll talk to you about sewing classes later this week.

OK. So, for at least 194 years I have been trying to figure out how to do a better job at getting all of the things done that I want to get done in a day. I know that one part of being better at getting all of the things done is to build a routine that makes a lot of things automattic in my day. but I have a lot of issues. So let me tell you what I know I’m doing wrong and then I’ll tell you what I want to happen in a perfect world and then I’m going to ask you to help me figure out what I should do to move forward.

There are two big things that I know need to change but they are habits I’m having a hard time breaking.

  1. I spend too much time in the morning looking at my phone screen. First I Check out Instagram and what happened overnight there. Some mornings I have messages to answer and often there are a ton of inspiring things. Then I run on over to Facebook to see who loves me and what drama is happening. Then I check my email accounts and then send a few notes to Amy and maybe my sisters. Then I go back to Instagram because I’m sure I missed something. Before I know it an hour is gone.
  2. The second thing I know that has to change is my tv watching. I go up to my room at around 7PM and get in bed with my planner and a book I want to read and sometimes my computer and I intend to get some work done but I also turn on the tv. I love watching tv. I have a ton of shows that I record and so recently I’ve found myself staying up until midnight or later watching my shows.

Let me tell you why these things need to change if you don’t already know. I’m not good at working after about 3 PM. Never have been. I know this about myself. So, if I want to have plenty of time to get work done during the day I need to be up and moving by 7 AM at the latest. Watching TV until after midnight guarantees I’m going to be too tired and want to lay in bed for a long time. The phone screen in the morning doesn’t help things because I’m doing it from the very comfy and warm spot in my bed.

I have several very well known and successful women telling me to stop it but I don’t listen. I will tell you who they are so maybe you can listen/not listen to them too.

Amy King, master dyer and boss of Spunky Eclectic. She is actually calling me and telling me what to do several times per week.

Rachel Hollis is consistently reminding me to follow my dreams and that procrastinating on the morning isn’t going to get me there.

Mimi G has her Business Shet podcast that is full of good advice and she doesn’t sugar coat anything.

Tabitha Sewer has several platforms on Instagram where she is pushing me to be better. She would be so disappointed if she saw me being so lazy. (We’re only friends in my mind but it’s on my vision board:-)

Jenny Penton from Planner Perfect never stops telling me to get out of bed early and get my crap done! Write it all out in my planner and get up earlier!

I will remind you that the only one of those ladies I actually know is Amy but I feel all of the messages as if they were meant for me personally.

In a Perfect World

It should be easy enough to stop doing those two things to make room for the things I want for myself. So let me tell you how I envision my day going.

6:30 the alarm goes off. I check messages and emails to see if there is anything I need to do right away – I’m the president of the women’s organization at church and sometimes things need to be handled so that’s got to happen.

6:45 read one chapter of whatever nonfiction book I’m reading at the time. Currently I’m in the middle of two. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis and 10% Happier by Dan Harris.

7:00 out of bed, no excuses. Listen to scriptures and BYU devotionals while I get dressed and do my makeup.

Pray before leaving my bedroom, text or email anyone who comes to my mind during that prayer to check in on them and see how things are going.

7:45 Downstairs and take my morning thyroid meds and the supplements I’m supposed to take but always forget.

8:00 make something for breakfast and a cup of rooibos or mint tea.

8:15 Spend 30 minutes in my planner reviewing the day and adding things I forgot while I eat breakfast.

8:45 Spend 30 minutes cleaning something in the house.

9:15 get to work either writing a blog post, newsletter, class materials or magazine article.

11:00 Current work like sewing (which is the focus at the moment) or spinning samples or for a project.

12:00 lunch (Mondays I have lunch with my friend Sally so that takes longer)

12:45 until 3 sew or spin some more.

3:00 start dinner if necessary

4:00 Judge Judy

Dinner, clean the kitchen, take my evening supplements

then upstairs at 7PM to wash my face, get ready for bed, work on hand sewing, knitting or cross stitch while watching fun tv.

Read at 9PM and asleep by 10PM

Well? Think I Can Do It?

How does that feel too you? Manageable? Too much? Please don’task me to cut Judge Judy. Or to keep my phone downstairs cause that’s my alarm.

Other than that I’m open to suggestions.


Amy and I had a chat and edited and changed the schedule a tiny bit so this is where we stand now after input and conversation:

630 alarm goes off

645 – Check emails for anything on fire

Then out of bed makeup/devotionals/ prayers

745 Take meds – eat breakfast – IG and FB

845 House chores.

915* – writing time but bumpable 2x times a week.

1100** Current making – sewing or samples.

1200 lunch – IG and FB

1245 Current making – sewing or samples.

300 start dinner

400 judge judy

500 dinner – clean up dinner etc

700 upstairs for bed, book reading

730 handsew, knit, tv

TV is the lowest priority.

(*) Monday – this is sewing time after blog is posted
(**) One day a week – set up and work on social media upcoming posts.


13 thoughts on “Routine”

  1. I have SO MANY THOUGHTS. I have many of the same struggles, plus an additional one you didn’t really mention, which is that for a very long time (at least a decade), I’ve been at the beck and call of a variety of friends or family members to stand in the gap during crises. As a result, I’m not used to prioritizing my own plans or taking my plans seriously — I will throw aside anything I’m working on to help someone else deal with whatever is going on with them. It’s enough now, and I need to take my own stuff seriously.

    For the last few months, I’ve been playing with different tools and ideas. And this is my first advice for you — don’t be afraid to tinker. I kinda feel like I don’t need to tell you this, based on the way you approach your work. You have a long list of things you want to try, that you’re curious about. Direct some of that curiosity toward your schedule and observation of yourself. Change one little thing this week and see if it helps you or not.

    Some possible tools that might be helpful: Bullet Journal, Getting Things Done, The Artist’s Way, FlyLady. IDK what you’ve used and what you haven’t. I use pieces of all of these systems. For example, I use the principles of Getting Things Done for processing all the inputs that come into my life. I use my bullet journal as the trusted system GTD requires — it’s a place to capture everything and make sure it gets done. I am just starting The Artist’s Way and using those tools as a way to take my own plans and needs more seriously. I use FlyLady to help integrate my household responsibilities with everything else. The most important part of that is that I’ve created checklists for various things. I laminated those checklists, so I can use a dry erase marker to mark items off and then erase the list for the next cycle. I have one checklist for things to do in the morning, one checklist for things to do in the evening, and one weekly checklist that has things listed for each day. Since the weekly checklist is all household tasks, it lives on my refrigerator where my husband (the only other member of my household) can see it and check tasks off if he does them.

    The final laminated thing I have is an “ideal week.” I created this in Excel. The first column is times, like a day planner. Then there is a column for each day of the week. I made blocks of time on each day, designated broadly, eg: Morning Routine, Work Block, Chores, Family, etc. I found my day was too interrupted, which made it difficult to actually get things done, especially creative work. I just made a new ideal week calendar yesterday, slightly tweaked from the previous one, in order to add more time to my Morning Routine so that I can work through The Artist’s Way exercises in the morning. Today was the first time using it and while it seems to be going well, I am thinking I may need to get up a half hour earlier to do everything I want to do before I start on my work.

    One final resource that you may find useful is the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s been a while since I read it, so I will likely get some details wrong here, but he breaks down how habits form and helps you use those steps to establish new habits. A basic principle is that habits start with a particular trigger. What is it that triggers you to look at your phone first thing? Once you recognize the trigger, you use the same trigger, but instead of looking at your phone you instead do something else that you want to do. Maybe you walk downstairs instead of looking at your phone. Then you need to reward the behavior you want to pursue. Your reward for looking at your phone is the exciting stimuli of new pictures and new ideas. Is there a way to give yourself either a similar reward or a better reward for the new behavior of walking downstairs?

    Anyway, I hope some of these resources are helpful for you. You CAN figure this out. None of us are going to be able to tell you if it is too much for you. Pay attention to and trust yourself. As you observe how you feel in different scenarios, pare back what’s less necessary and increase the time spent on what is. You can definitely do it 🙂

    1. Beth

      Thank you for all of this! Some of the stuff I’ve tried but it’s been years ago and it might be time to try it again.
      I like the idea of a laminated thingy. I’m going tti read what you wrote several times.
      But I think beginning with the first thing of the day as a small change is heading in the right direction.
      Thank you so so so much!

  2. Amy King

    ok…. Call me after lunch with Sally. 😉 Or you can wait until tomorrow’s planning meeting but you should call me anyway and we can play avoid the work.

  3. Becca

    That sounds like a lot of changes to implement all at one time. I am never successful when I try and change too many things in one go. I would say focus on the one thing that you think would be the most impactful and just concentrate on that for a few weeks to get it really sunk in to your habits. It’s incredibly difficult to create a bunch of new habits all at once.

    From what you describe it sounds like your phone is a big part of how you start your day. I personally hate the phone and I think they have invaded all our lives but it is also really hard to have it be otherwise. There are apps you can set up to limit your time on your phone. You tell it how much time you want to spend at one sitting and then the screen will dim when that amount of time has elapsed.

    Possibly just getting out of your bed while you check your messages and emails will be enough to break that trend. Can you get up and go to a desk or chair elsewhere in your room or house? I actually bought a good old fashioned clock radio specifically so I don’t have to rely on the phone so much. I wish I had advice for the going to bed on time thing. That has been a struggle all my life cause I am a natural night owl. I don’t have a tv in our room for exactly that reason. I can so easily get into a terrible spiral of insomnia which leads to more migraines which then screw up my sleep more. But I still often stay up too late.

  4. Becca

    PS Have you ever read The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin? Everyone is motivated to change by different things. What works for one person will not work for another if they have totally different motivations and triggers. Here’s the quiz but the book is more in depth about creating habit change for all the types. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/

    1. Beth

      I love her podcast. I’ll check out that book and the quiz. Thank you!

  5. Katie

    This is drastic, but you can put your internet router and tv on a timer, like the ones people use to turn their lights on and off while they’re on vacation. Make everything shut off between 8am and 4pm and from 10pm to 7am (or whatever).

    1. Beth

      That could be an option but my husband works from home too and I don’t think his job would love that. Lol

  6. First thing I would do is setup a separate email address or a sort folder for the emails from the woman’s organisation, if these are a priory and need dealing with.
    This will let you deal with that and ignore other email and social media until later in the day.

    Try and do the tasks you procrastinate about most first, for me that would be the written type work, so bring that to the front of the day.

    You aren’t going to eliminate the social media time unless you throw away your phone, giving up tv is tough. So I would move your social media time to your tv time. This is what I’ve mostly done and it works well for me. I like to watch tv and knit in the evenings and that’s when I allow myself to look at all the phone stuff.

    If going to bed is tough, try a physical timer plug for your tv, set it to go off at the time you want. If it’s plugged in behind the tv and the tv clunks off at 10pm you are unlikely to crawl out of bed to fiddle with it just for another hours tele.

    When you plan for the week, in your sewing/spinning/work slots, write down what you actually plan to achieve in those slots. So it’s not just open ended sewing.

    I bought a “passion planner”, it’s working well for me, it’s all setup around goal setting and working towards them.

    Change in routine is hard, good luck with it.

    1. Beth

      Thank Bex! There are some good suggestions there. And the planning projects during sewing time is spot on with what Amy and I talked about today.

  7. Pingback: 7 Podcasts that Inspire Me to Get Back to Work | Beth Smith

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