When I was single, I had a pretty easy routine. Wake up. Get ready for work. Ten minutes of devotions. Work. Workout. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. It was pretty predictable and I liked it that way. Once I started dating my husband, however, both our routines went out the window. We would always meet at Perkins or Applebees for half priced apps and of course we’d go home at midnight and be dragging the next day. He usually got done with work around 9:00 pm and I started work in the morning at 7:30. So what do you do when you’re in love and your work schedules don’t match?
I must admit, there were days that I would survive on five hours (sometimes less) of sleep and LOTS of coffee. It wasn’t all that bad at first but eventually it started to catch up with me. I would be sluggish, my focus was not 100%, my interest in working out was zero, and all I would think about at work was how I couldn’t wait to get home and crawl into my comfy bed. I realized that this leads to poor productivity. I hate leaving work knowing that I could have done a better job. I did not feel like the work I put in on these days was my best. By the time I got home, I was notorious for taking a two hour nap and after waking up, zero motivation to make dinner, workout, or clean house. The cycle just continued and encouraged laziness. I felt bad about it and desperately wanted a routine.
Sam is a night owl and I’m more of a morning person. After we were married, I still stayed up and continued to push bedtime just a little bit more each night because we didn’t see much of each other otherwise. I would justify myself that 10 min wouldn’t hurt anything that making my lunch in the morning vs. right before going to bed would be alright. Ten minutes would come and go so easy and that would turn into an hour. Every morning when my alarm went off, I would continue to hit snooze until the last possible minute. I made sacrifices just to prolong my sleep. “I can take a shower when I get home.” “I don’t really need to leave at 7:05.” I would often tell myself this.
My problem was that I was not prioritizing my time very well. I was really convicted of being lazy and not taking the best advantage of my time. I know I didn’t spend the quality time with God like I should, I didn’t feel ready or awake for work, I didn’t have dinner prepared or my house in tip top shape. I was surviving and not thriving. Then I read Proverbs 31 and became convicted. “She rises also while it is yet night, and gives met to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms.” Proverbs 31:15-17 These verses especially convicted me as I knew I was not living up to being A Proverbs 31 Woman.
One day I decided to sit down and write out all of my daily priorities. It started with creating my routine with just the bedtime routine. This step is vital because little sleep = lack of productivity. I need to have a full 8 hours of sleep every night. So I really need to start getting ready for bed at a decent hour. That includes preparing my clothes for the next day and getting my lunch together so I’m not in a rush. These steps save me 15 min in the morning! It wasn’t until I sat down and mapped out my day that I really realized how much time I had to use and how much of it I was wasting. Do you ever find yourself saying “I just don’t have enough time?” Me too.
Once I nailed down my bedtime routine, everything else fell into place. My mornings became a breeze. Instead of feeling rushed out the door, I am now awake, alert, and prepared for whatever my day turns out to be. With a morning already off to a good start, that segued into a more productive day at work. Usually when I arrive home, I let the dog out, do a quick clean up for 10 minutes, make dinner, clean one room for 30 minutes, and workout. The best part about this is I can fit everything in my day that’s important to me and I still have time to do whatever I want before repeating the cycle again.
All it takes is being smart with the time you have and strategize how to fit them all in one day. Of course life happens and things change. For now, this is the routine I developed for myself. What I didn’t know at the time was if I just took a few shortcuts, went to bed when I should, and prepared dinner, things would be a lot easier.
What little steps have you done in your routine that made a big difference in your day?