Skip to main content

How to Develop Helpful Routines

graphic image of a woman doing daily helpful routine tasks with a clock in the center

There are many benefits of having helpful routines in place. Helpful routines reduce stress and make for a more efficient day which allows you to even work in some time for yourself.

Follow these steps to develop helpful routines

  1. Start by listing all that you have to do in a day or during the week. At this point your list is just a brain dump. Don’t try to sort the tasks out.
  2. Next divide your day into time blocks. What works for many people are:
  • Morning – from the time you get up until you head out the door to work or to your desk or studio
  • Work time
  • Mid-day – taking a break and eating lunch
  • Evening – after work or the last part of your workday where you plan and prepare for the next day and getting ready for bed.

3. Get time specific

Let’s look at what a morning routine might look like and how to get time specific with it.

Choose the hour that you must be in your car to leave for work or the hour that you plan on starting your workday.

Look at your list of all the things that you must do before you start your workday. Determine how long each of these tasks takes to do.

Arrange the tasks in a logical order for you, starting with getting out of bed.

Once you have your list of tasks and the time each task takes, you can determine the time you need to get out of bed and start your day.

One task will flow into the next task and become your morning routine.

If you have never done this activity, it can be an eye opener. It can also help you determine what a helpful morning routine looks like. One client while working on this activity realized that she spent a lot of time in the morning taking care of her cats. She had also been fixing her lunch as part of her morning routine and looking for clean clothes to wear. This client was always frantic trying to get to work on time. She realized that she had to get up way earlier or do some of the routines the evening before. Plus, she also determined that it would save her time if she ate her breakfast in the car during her commute.

4. Evening Routine

This leads to what an evening routine might look like. Again, list all that you plan to do in the evening. For the above client this now included laying out what she was going to wear and packing her breakfast and lunch the evening before.

Start by knowing when you need to go to bed to get the amount of sleep that you need. This client realized that she had been staying up too late watching TV and would need to trim that evening TV time.

Just like for the morning routine, list all that you need to do before you go to bed and work backwards to see what time you need to start preparing to shut down for the day.

5. Be aware of your most productive times. When you are developing your work routine, know when you are more productive and have high energy. That is when you want to schedule your more challenging tasks.

6.  Schedule time for flexibility. Don’t overfill your scheduled routines. You will need to adapt your routine for one off activities like appointments or car maintenance. Be realistic about how much you can do in a day.

7.  Develop weekly routines in addition to daily routines. Have routines for your household tasks. Develop a routine for doing your laundry, cleaning, or paying your bills. Write down all that needs to happen to perform these tasks. Put the steps in a logical order and schedule a time in your week to do that routine.

8. Work on one routine at a time when developing your helpful routines. When that one seems established, then work on another routine. Forgive yourself when you mess up. Remind yourself why you want to have these helpful routines in place and start again or tweak the routine so that you can have success.

Developing helpful routines makes your days and weeks flow. You no longer need to try to figure out when you are going to do standard tasks. It takes the worry of forgetting out of the equation. It puts you on autopilot. No longer do you roll out of bed and worry about what you must do that day. It’s all planned out. Just follow your helpful routines.

If you are ready to develop a set of routines or would like to organize and  tame your calendar, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group. The group will offer ideas, support, and gentle accountability for working on developing plans or projects.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.








  • Seana Turner says:

    I’m a huge believer in routines. I think I pretty much run my life around them. Whenever something “new” comes into my life, I ask myself what routine I need to form to accommodate it.

    For the morning, my timing isn’t always the same. So I start with when I need to show up and work backwards to figure out what time I need to get up every day. Today, however, I was woken up extra early by my daughter’s dog (whom I am dog sitting), and my husband who needed to catch an early flight. I’m not always in control of how the day goes. Nevertheless, I find myself launching into my morning routine, and probably I’ll just crash a little earlier tonight. 🙂

  • This is an excellent description of developing routines and crafting a plan for your day.

    I like to have a plan but also give myself a lot of flexibility. I prefer not to overschedule my days and need some breathing space throughout. I don’t like feeling rushed.

    There are times when spaciousness isn’t viable. When those times happen, I take extra time the following week or days to recover.

  • Creating a routine is so critical to save time and feel less stressed. I love that you mentioned looking at your list and analyzing the tasks. Not all tasks need to be done in the AM. Doing them in the afternoon or evening the night before will save time in the morning.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    Your approach is exactly right. I don’t know how I’d live my life, let alone run my business, without my routines. I teach my clients that you have to know when you have your mental energy, your physical energy, and your social energy so you slot the right activities at the right times. Without knowing what you have to do, there’s no way to plot out how and when you’ll do it. I know that I’m almost non-functional in the mornings, so I block everything that doesn’t require interacting with others (so, laundry, housework, non-urgent emails, etc.) in the evenings so that mornings are solely for personal grooming and essential calls before I head to do client work. I’ll gladly write a blog post at 1 a.m., but don’t ask me to do basic arithmetic or attend a Zoom at 9 a.m.

    I have no pets, and I have a sort of “uniform” for what I wear on client days (though, when I worked in TV, I selected my wardrobe the night before). I can tell you — if I ate my breakfast in the car, I’d arrive covered in orange juice, cereal, and milk! 😉

Skip to content