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As part of my continuous quest to get/keep my life on track, I’m constantly trying to improve/develop my routines.

The more ingeniously we construct our routines the better able we are to follow them.  The key to achieving what we want in life and living the kind of life we want is making the right routines and following them.

Following a routine can be difficult to achieve at first, but is easily achieved by making it a habit.  The tricky part is making a routine that is workable in the first place.  Often it happens that if you analyse the routine you are expecting of yourself, you will find it full of faults and tricky places that are asking to go wrong.

A good routine has a lot it needs to provide.  The first thing is balance.  We all need a balance of the different parts of our lives included in our daily and weekly routines.  The things we need to include are:

- Sleep
- Work
- Eating
- Movement - exercise
- Family time
- Relaxation
- Social time
- Personal goals

Sleeping and working take up two thirds of our lives, unless we are lucky enough to not need to work full time hours to support our financial needs.  So we have one third of our lives left as discretionary time for our families, personal goals, health and relaxation.

If you stay home to care for your children, the different aspects of your life will be more combined and overlapping than they would be if you had a separate working life.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this less compartmentalised lifestyle.  It allows you greater flexibility in some ways, but flexibility doesn’t always assist us in maintaining a routine.

I am in this position myself, having young children at home, and have always found it easier to meet obligations to others such as employers than to follow my own orders.  It’s because of this that I am so interested in developing good routines as a solution to achieving what we want.

A routine allows habits to develop.  Habits are easy, and make things happen without much effort or thought.  Doing things automatically without having to think about it very much is much easier than having to re-think our actions every day and tackle things as they come up.

We need to get the bigger things into place first.  Even settling on your sleeping hours isn’t always straight forward, but it’s important to make a firm decision about it and stick to it.  Your sleep patterns will adapt to follow your routine – you needn’t be a slave to them.

The bigger things can be based on location.  How many different places do you tend to be each day and each week?  At work, at home, at the shops, at the gym, at a friends place, out and about, at your kids school or kinder.  Some of these are set and some are flexible, so get those into place first.  Should you combine going to the gym with doing your grocery shopping as one outing?  If so, does it work better to go to the gym first?

Parts of your daily routine may change based upon your weekly routine, but can still be done consistently, if perhaps at a different time of day.  Once the big ones are in place, like sleeping, working away from home, errands and commitments away from home like driving your kids around or attending classes – then the smaller details of routines can be fitted in.  I find this the most difficult part.

The smaller routines tend to be based around structuring my work time and then the many and various things I am trying to keep up with at home, like spending time with my kids, running the house, keeping up with my personal stuff like daily reading, beauty routines and hobbies.

Achieving goals requires that you spend regular well planned time on the activities necessary to them, and that time must be allocated as part of your routine.  Planning time is, I believe, essential to every routine, from preparing a meal plan before writing your grocery list, to detailing the steps necessary for achieving a goal.

Using a beauty routine as an example, most things can be grouped with the daily shower, such as exfoliating, hair removal, moisturizing, deep cleansing, hair treatments, make up and so on.  However, it may be necessary to make a separate time during the week for doing our nails – a time when we can be uninterrupted for long enough for polish to dry, and not need to use our hands to do anything which might smudge our hard work.

Using work as an example, there are daily tasks like answering emails, returning and making phone calls, correspondence, as well as the guts of it – creating and selling a product, providing a service, or whatever it is that we do.  There may also be record keeping, report writing, statistical analysis (I’m boring myself sleepy just thinking about it…)  All these things need to be balanced and included in our routine, and keeping up with a good routine will ensure that all the separate but essential parts of our job are completed.

Having a routine allows us to put limits on the amount of time we spend on each particular activity.  Beauty sessions in the bathroom, or answering emails, can extend and extend and encroach on time allocated to other activities.  If we have a set amount of time to spend on something, and we stick with that, then as we make it habitual, we will learn to either do these things faster and more efficiently, or make some prioritising decisions about how much time is reasonable to spend each day and each week.

The act of simply listing all our daily and weekly activities can be quite confronting.  When we do this we are often faced with the fact that there simply are not enough hours in the day, or that we are spending way too long on some things to the detriment of others. 

But we can’t make a constructive decision about anything unless we have all the information in front of us.  I mean ALL the information.  It’s ok, in fact essential that we include things we enjoy doing and relaxation time or time to do nothing, as well as things we’ve always felt we SHOULD do but never seem to get around to or keep up consistently.

If you’re the kind of person who has trouble doing things in a particular order because of that rebelliousness against order some of us feel at times, checklists can help.  If some things must be done daily, at some time during the day, but it doesn’t matter when exactly, we can just do them randomly and tick them off the list, as long as we manage to fit them in. 

They will still tend to need to conform to some kind of loose timeframe though, such as whether they are done at work or at home or out, or in the morning or afternoon or evening.  There’s also no getting away from the fact that many things depend on other things needing to be done first – we can’t hang up the washing before we’ve washed it, we need to shower after exercising and before presenting ourselves in public, we need to write an article before we can publish it.

Routines are ever evolving, and we can’t change all our habits at once, but we do need to have a basic place to start and work from. 

A good basic time allocation I use is the time from when school and kinder finish to when the children go to bed.  This is family time and includes our evening meal, and is not a good time to be trying to do anything which requires concentration.  This is the time for me to be as available to the children as I possibly can.

A post-dinner family clean up time incorporated here is a very beneficial thing to get going.  If you can build up a habit of consistently fully clearing and cleaning the table and kitchen, doing the dishes, and a general quick tidy up before everyone relaxes for the evening, the whole family will benefit, enjoying the order, feeling a sense of calm and pride. 

You can build on this over a period of time, including getting all washing to the laundry and preparing clothes and bags for the next day.  Wow, imagine that – waking up in the morning to find the house clean and everything ready for you!  Is it easier to go to the gym if your gym bag is already packed with a change of clothes, clean towel and toiletries, and your clean exercise clothes are already laid out?  Yes!  It is.

The time leading up to your own bedtime can be a good time to include planning, reflecting (thinking about how you’re going with things), meditation or prayer,  personal grooming or beauty tasks and relaxing with music or a movie or favourite TV show or reading material.  Yes, a diverse bunch of things thrown together, but these things tend to suit that time of day, or can only be fitted in there.

How are your routines looking?  Can you allocate some time this week to have a look at them and see what tweaks you can make?  Can you incorporate regular daily and weekly planning time into your routine?

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Anshula Ohri, Toronto,
Canada

"Before I met Yvette I had many opportunities in front of me but I was feeling overwhelmed and I had no confidence in making the decisions.  I was feeling stuck and confusedd.  My career has progressed in a positive direction and I am now functioning better in physical and emotional health.  Thank you Yvette for your help.  This was one of the best decisions I have ever made."

 

Sarah Grudzien,
Melbourne, Australia

"The coaching with Yvette was very beneficial. In just a few weeks I had achieved so much. I am so thankful. I found Yvette to be very patient, professional and reassuring. I would definately recommend NLP now that I have seen the difference it has made to my life. I have left the past in the past and I am happier within myself."

Gemma,
Western Australia

"Your belief in me gave me the confidence to work out ways of improvement, knowing how important it is that these answers be found by me within me to enable them to be so powerful and successful. I loved the CD you sent as your voice is so easy to listen to and reassuring as it imparts great words of wisdom and strengthens the concepts taught within your life coaching sessions. These life skills are amazing!"

Lynne from Lowood,
Queensland, Australia

"I consider myself very fortunate having chosen Yvette for coaching.  It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I started from a place where I was stuck in procrastination and everything seemed so overwhelming that I didn't really know where to start.  I love the freedom and empowerment I now feel.  Yvette's methods are personalised and very effective.  I have looked forward to every coaching sesssion."

Heather
Melbourne, Australia

"Yvette is a great coach who inspires you to overcome the obstacles that she finds in working with you.  She is highly motivated and has worked hard to increase her knowledge in many areas that in turn help her clients.  Yvette draws on her own real life experience adn studies to help those of us who have to juggle many responsibilities and mangage the conflicts in thinking that come from that.  I am looking forward to working with Yvette again in the near future"

Liz Jarvis, CSI Business Solutions, 
NSW, Australia

"Through my coaching experience with Yvette I was able to shift my awareness onto my value system as opposed to staring at my circumstances each day and feeling pulled in a hole.  It's powerful because I want meaning, I want to live up to my values and what's right and good for me!  So, I truly learned the value of letting go and receiving the abundance of knowledge for every situation that gives life, love and meaning to who I am and what I can do, with this fearless self awareness."

Keri, 
New York, USA

"Yvette.  Many thanks for a wonderful experience... Our sessions were productive, really interesting adn I so looked forward to them each week with anticipation of what I can learn about myself and my behaviours.  Every session seemed to flow right on topic of what was present in my relaity at the time and your effortless guiding of my strategies never ceased to amaze me.  I highly recommend you as a life coach and thank you again for the experience."

M Shears, 
Melbourne, Australia

"I really questioned my future career ambitions and thanks to Yvette I changed direction from something I felt I had to do, to something I know I will love to do.  I was stuck on this topic for quite some time and Yvette really helped me shed light on this.  I changed the MBA I signed up for and feel excited about my careeer and all the opportunities in the future."

Sabine Mascarenhas, 
Wollongong, Australia