Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

7 Routines to Help Tame Chaos

32 Comments

7 Routines to Help Tame ChaosMost afternoons when 5 o’clock comes, I don’t know what to do next. Do I start on dinner, vacuum the living room, check on my kids, or check e-mail? The other day when I got home from a meeting at 5, my daughter met me at the door.

“Mom, did you remember to get contact lens solution?”

Of course I hadn’t. Camille had told me days earlier that she needed it, but I’m just not that organized. I turned around and headed back out the door. Dinner would probably be late again.

Does your life zip out of control as easily as mine? Work, social engagements, and relationships fill our days. If you’re married, it’s easy to leave your soul mate on the back burner while you get stuff done. If you’re a mom, you probably wear many different hats: CEO, drill sergeant, cheer leader, cook, chauffeur, story reader, and teeth inspector. Some days it feels like chaos rules while we move forward as best we can.

 A few daily routines help me tame the chaos.

Although the word “routine” might make free spirits cringe, I find routines life-giving. They bring a sense of order, calm, and reassurance to our busy lives. Well-established routines enable me to do certain things on auto-pilot, so I’m free to focus more attention on what’s important.

bring order

1. Start Your Day the Night Before

This is one habit I’m learning from my husband. Each night, he sets the table for breakfast and looks at the following day’s schedule. I’m trying to lay out my clothes and get the coffee maker ready before bed. A simple evening ritual of two or three steps gives you a jump-start on the following day.

2. Morning Time with God

Spending a few minutes reading my Bible and praying over my activities brings peace and order to my morning. Usually I jot down a verse, which fuels my faith for the day ahead.

3. Plan Your Day

Making a to-do list keeps me on track with what I have to do. Most mornings, I review yesterday’s list and move important things I left undone to today’s list. I cross my fingers and put the hardest tasks at the top of the list, hoping I’ll tackle them first.

4. Pinpoint Your Most Crucial Household Task. Do it Daily.

Your most crucial household task is the one that drives you insane if it’s left undone. Our house can be falling down around my ears, but a dirty kitchen floor drives me crazy, so I sweep and/or mop almost every day. You might tidy up your living room or wipe down the family bathroom. Do this job at the same time every day, and you’ll get lightning quick at it.

5. Do One Load of Laundry.

Washing one load a day helps me get laundry done on auto-pilot. I load the machine at night, and start it in the morning.

6. Family Dinner

With older kids, we move dinner time around to accommodate their schedules. We make it a priority to sit down and talk over a meal whenever possible.

7. Relax Before Bed

Turn off the TV or the internet a half hour before bed and do something that helps prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.

Disclaimer:

I have to confess that I’ve put off writing this post for weeks because I keep thinking, “I’d better get myself together first.” I’ve established some of these habits better than others, but a little progress in the right direction is a good thing, don’t you think?

Now it’s your turn: Do you have any daily routines that help you reduce stress? Which of these habits would you pick to work on? 

I link up with these communities: Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesdayKelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup, and Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory.

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

32 thoughts on “7 Routines to Help Tame Chaos

  1. Love this post…such an organized list of strategies to bring order and peace to our lives…many blessings to you ❤️

  2. We will never be perfect at all of the things you have listed but your point is that centering ourselves each day is important for the day to run smoothly. I have always planned my day out the night before and prepared as much as I could to help me when the new day begins. It makes a hug difference. I think your strategy or anybody’s who feels that chaos has the upperhand is to choose several of these ideas and do them well before adding more to your list. Baby steps always work best. Good luck!

    • I’m with you, Mary! Baby steps always work best. A little planning does make a huge difference. I can’t look at my to-do list the night before, because it stresses me out. But right after my quiet time is perfect! I’m sure as a teacher you’ve HAD to be a planner.

  3. I have been using flylady.org to establish my routines. It is a blessing to have certain things un line before starting the day. Or, coming home from a busy one!

    • I LOVE Fly Lady, Samantha! Used it several years ago, and some of it stuck. I like her “I can do anything 15 minutes” philosophy and also this word: “A little housework, poorly done, is still a blessing to my family.”

  4. Betsy- Thanks for addressing such a practical topic! I needed this today. Things sometimes feel so chaotic and I forget that getting back to basics can prevent some of the chaos – or at least some of the panic over it. Great words, friend!

  5. I totally agree with number one. We try to do this also with our son. If he gets his books together and his backpack packed, that saves time in the morning, since he leaves for school at 6:50! Trying to use LOTS of crockpot recipes during the week also helps me save time in the evenings. High-maintenance meals mean I won’t be leaving the kitchen until well after 7:30 or 8:00. By that time, I’m exhausted! Great thoughts and ideas here, Betsy!

    • I could learn from you about low-maintenance meals. (We don’t like crock pot, UNFORTUNATELY) and I tend towards high-maintenance meals, a bit stress inducer. You are so right. I’m trying to learn to keep. it. simple. in the kitchen. And YES, with getting kids to school, you practically have to start the night before.

  6. I do some of these, but still feel chaotic – seems time to try a few more of your tips. Thanks for sharing, even though you feel you have work left to do! #RaRaLinkup

  7. I love this! And I smiled when you mentioned laundry, because that is my default! When nothing is going right with the blog, and the internet is slow or I’m frustrated with how school is going on a particular day, I put in a load of laundry! It helps my outlook on life to think that SOMETHING is getting accomplished while I’m spinning my wheels.

  8. Hey Betsy … I LOVE this! There’s something about getting ready the night before that lets us tie up the loose ends of the finished day and have everything ready to go that needs readying when we wake up. Seems like when we do those tasks, we can have a time with God that is richer and more focused because we’ve done what needs to be done.

    Super post. I’m glad I visited!

  9. Betsy, I love this! I just a read in a book that even extremely right brained, creative people should try to be organized (at least a little bit). It satisfies the left brain and frees up the right brain to be more creative. I tried it just a little, and I can’t believe how much it is true! You’ve got some great suggestions here. And I love that you powered through and wrote it even though you don’t have them all mastered yourself. We don’t need perfect, we just need you. Love to you today. Thank you!!

  10. I love these tips, Betsy. I always try to get ready for the day the night before: fill coffee maker, prepare son’s morning meds, wash pots and pans from supper (I HATE seeing them on the countertop the next morning). And the laundry suggestion is one I definitely agree with. Just keeping ahead of that one chore is a de-stresser — and now that the weather’s nice enough to hang laundry outside, it’s an enjoyable task.

    • Do you hang laundry outside too, Jeannie? Me too! (In Turkey very few people have dryers. Yes, I’m with you there on seeing pots and pans in the morning. I’m trying to improve my evening routine!

  11. Wise words as always, Betsy! I love that your husband sets the table for breakfast the night before. 🙂 I always procrastinate on getting my son’s lunch made for school and making sure his things are packed for the next morning – but if I don’t, it sets the day off in rushed chaos for him and I don’t like sending him off that way. So, I purpose to plan and yup, sometimes miss the mark – but enjoy the times I don’t. Grace here too, right friend. 🙂

    • Yes, my husband’s a real keeper, Tiffany. I’m forever grateful that He’s in charge of breakfast so that I can have my quiet time before home school! Makes my life easier. I’m with you on the planning ahead to get a start on the day. Some days it happens. Some days it doesn’t! But there’s always grace.

  12. Great post Betsy! I have to admit that I am beyond organized and I still lack iin the area of setting up a routine. I am getting a bit better. I do set up the coffee maker the night before, and after eight years of marriage, I feel pretty good about that. Mainly because my husband is the real coffee drinker. I am not sure if I can ever be a great to-do list person, but one thing that has become better for me is immediately posting in my Google calendar when a family member needs something or I just remember a “to do.” I have made a habit of checking my calendar before I leave the office. THIS has worked wonders for me and has almost fully eliminated the need to head back out when I have finally made it home. Thanks for your encouragement!

  13. these are great! too often it’s all about how I start the day – starting with quiet time and prayer is the best way to get off to a more organized and calm start. Then there’s days like today, where my little one wakes up early with me, so delays my quiet time and then I’m off kilter and spend more time fighting with the internet than talking with God. Grrr… maybe I’ll do better tomorrow…

    • Oh yes, Kathryn! There’s always tomorrow, isn’t there? I remember that frustration of getting up early and then the littles would wake up too. May the Lord give you strength and joy for each day.

  14. Love these suggestions, Betsy! Even for someone who is past the child rearing years and who lives alone can use these ideas. Or maybe that’s just me! I’ve felt so out of sync lately and I need to get back on the disciplined bandwagon. Thanks for the encouragement to do so.

    • Grace to you for your busy days, Holly. I’m sure that between your job, church, and writing, you’re plenty busy even without kids at home anymore. I hope you’ll get back in sync and experience grace ’til you do!

  15. Hi Betsy! I try to exercise 4 to 5 days a week. That really helps me blow off the nervous energy, and I come back ready to tackle my day. I like the idea of starting the day the day before too. I can make lists, set my route etc., so I’ll feel more in charge in the morning. I liked that tip!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

  16. What a helpful list! (And, I love your disclaimer. It gives us all hope that perfection isn’t needed to accomplish the list.) Laundry has been my one, big household thing, so you’ve got it covered. 🙂 Good job.

  17. Thus my title Regimens with Grace – except I’ll admit, I often lean a lot more on the GRACE than on the regimens! Thanks for a good – and well-needed – piece!

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