It’s no secret that daily routines can bring joy and purpose to your everyday life. Routines ensure that the important things are prioritised and—in theory—they make life simpler.
Having said that, I know from personal experience that things don’t always go to plan! If you’re not intentional with how you create your routines, they can occasionally lead to unintended consequences such as added stress or even guilt.
After all, who hasn’t decided to implement the “perfect morning routine”… only to realise after a few days that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? You end up giving up on the idea and feeling worse than before you started.
I know this firsthand because I struggled for years to create meaningful daily routines—you know, the kind I could actually follow through with!
It all felt like a mystery to me… until I realised (as always!) that the key is simplicity. Here are five ways I simplified my daily routines. These tips have completely changed my approach and I hope you’ll find them useful too.
Why Create Daily Routines?
In order to simplify your daily routines, I think it’s important to clarify WHY we create them in the first place.
- What purpose do daily routines serve?
- Why do we want them in our lives?
- What is the point of investing precious time and energy?
While the details will undoubtedly be different for everyone, ultimately all routines should serve the same purpose: ensuring that the important things are accounted for every day.
This might involve spending quality time with family, learning new skills, making time for rest, keeping a tidy home or saving for the future. Whatever matters to YOU, routines are a way of making sure that the most important things get prioritised.
Keeping this front of mind is essential because it’s easy to get distracted when creating your routines. After all, a quick Google search reveals thousands of “best daily routine” suggestions. There is so much we think we *should* be doing—but what are you really trying to achieve?
Ultimately, the choices you make should reflect your personal priorities. Get this wrong and I can guarantee that you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead of empowering you, your daily routines will end up feeling like another chore on your already overflowing to-do list. (The last thing anyone needs!)
So to recap, get clear on the purpose of your routines first—and then the following tips will help you simplify and follow through.
If you’re not sure where to start, then I invite you to check out my course Values + Vision! Together, let’s get crystal clear about what matters most to YOU.
Enough with spreading yourself thin and trying to make everyone else happy. Your time and energy are precious, so stop wasting it on things that don’t deserve your attention.
Instead, learn how to align your life with your personal vision. Step into your power, make yourself a priority and start living your truth. Click here to get started today!
“As I had previously worked on living a value driven life I wasn’t sure I would get anything more out of this, but The Values + Vision course challenged many of my thoughts and I believe it will increase my abilities to live my best life.” — Jennifer W 46 Glen Cove, Values + Vision Student
5 Ways to Simplify Your Daily Routines
Now that you’ve made an intentional decision about what to include in your daily routines, let’s talk about how to simplify and put them into action!
WORK WITH YOUR NATURAL RHYTHMS
My number one tip for creating daily routines is to work with your natural rhythms. There’s no need to do things the hard way! Instead, keep things simple by paying attention to what feels natural and easy for you.
For example, let’s say that you want to include more physical activity in your daily routine. Your first instinct might be to start going to the gym every morning. It sounds like a good idea and it works for a lot of people … but before you decide, I invite you to think about how you naturally feel throughout the day.
- What types of physical activity do you enjoy the most?
- When you work out for fun, when does it normally happen?
- Have you tried going to the gym in the morning before? And if so, how did it feel?
I know some people swear by their morning gym workouts but personally, I’ve tried it and it never felt good. My body tells me that I feel my best when I have a slow start to the day.
With this in mind, it doesn’t make sense for me to force myself into a 6 am spin class. More than likely, I’ll never make it out the front door—and after a few days of beating myself up for not going, I’ll completely abandon the idea.
I don’t like punishing myself so I choose to do what feels good instead. This looks like gentle yoga at home, an early afternoon pilates class, or a long walk in the early evening. I actually follow through with these plans because I’m listening to my body and doing what feels natural.
BUILD IN FLEXIBILITY
My next tip doesn’t work for everyone—I know there are some people who adore strict daily routines—but for me, flexibility is SO important.
As a work-at-home mum with a toddler (and another baby on the way!) my free time and energy levels are all over the place. My daily needs are always changing and to be completely honest, I crave variety! Too much structure definitely leaves me feeling unsettled.
I’m sure a lot of you can relate … so how can we reconcile this with our desire for daily routines? The solution is to be intentional about building in flexibility.
There are a few ways you can do this. First, consider making certain types of activities part of your routine but be flexible with the details.
For example, when I’m home with my daughter I always prioritise self-care during nap time. This is non-negotiable BUT I’m flexible with how I practise self-care. Sometimes it’s a nap, sometimes it’s journaling, and sometimes it’s doing annoying tasks like booking appointments. I give myself the flexibility to listen to my body and do what I need most.
Another way to work flexibility into your routines is to be generous with your timelines. I’m currently suffering a lot from pregnancy insomnia, which means I give myself permission to sleep in when I need it—but this doesn’t mean I abandon my morning routine altogether. Instead, I’m flexible and I simply follow my routine at a time that works for me (even if it’s early afternoon!).
It’s simple but that’s the point! Don’t give up when things don’t go exactly as planned. Just adapt and do the best you can with the time and energy you have available.
One of the biggest reasons why people fail to stick to their routines is because they try to do too much at once. You don’t need to start ten new habits overnight; instead, be intentional about choosing one thing to focus on at a time.
Go back to your purpose—what are you trying to achieve with your routine? Get clear and then decide on ONE small change that will help you move forward. Do that for a few weeks until it starts to feel like a natural part of your day and then you can add something else.
Slow and steady, my friends! It works and it feels better too.
REFLECT OFTEN—WHAT’S WORKING + WHAT’S NOT?
Next, it’s important to regularly reflect on your daily routines. What’s working well for you and what’s not?
Again, I know it sounds simple but I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that your routines are there to serve YOU. Just because you decided to start a journaling habit doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. It’s completely OK to change your mind and adjust your routines when needed.
Sometimes things don’t add value to your life the way that you think they will. Or sometimes something will work for a while … but then our needs change. It’s normal so don’t feel pressured to keep mindlessly doing something just because it’s what you’ve always done.
Check-in with yourself and make sure that your daily routines are still working for you and if not, don’t be afraid to make changes.
Finally, the easiest way to simplify your daily routine is to embrace imperfection. Life happens and things don’t always go to plan. This doesn’t mean you should abandon your routines.
Instead, remember that you can always pick up where you left off. Every day provides new opportunities and your daily routines are simply tools that will help you live life to the fullest. Give yourself permission to live a beautiful, messy life. (This is true for everything, not just your daily routines!)
Daily Routine Examples
If you’d like to hear more about my daily routines—what they look like and how I practise what I preach—check out:
- My Minimalist Daily Routine: Embracing Slow + Simple Every Day
- How to Spend Less Time Cleaning: My Minimalist Cleaning Routines
Are you a fan of daily routines? What do yours look like and how do you keep them simple? Let us know in the comments! x