Episode 15: Jenn Uren on Rhythms and RoutinesMay 11, 2021
Jenn Uren, shares 5 routines to anchor your life and make it easier to handle the unexpected surprises that you know life will throw at you.
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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 15
One of the things that I have learned well as I have emerged from overwhelm is about rhythms and routines. As I worked through the inward transformation of settling into who I was created to be, the idea of rhythms became a consistent theme. But I soon discovered that routine is equally important. Rhythm and routine are opposing forces that bring stability to something, these things working together, equalize the pressure in our lives and give us freedom to live fuller lives. So what do I mean exactly? When I say rhythms and routines? Well, I am so glad that you asked!
Routines refer to what we do, and rhythms refer to when we do them. So for example, you may have a morning routine, your rhythm is every morning when you roll out of bed. And your routine is the list of tasks that you do during that time. So brush your teeth, wash your face, get dressed, you know, things like that. Now, before we move on, the most common objection given to embracing rhythms and routines is usually something like this. "I don't like to be restricted, I'm a bit more of a free spirit, and I like to be spontaneous." Well, yay, that's great. And guess what? Rhythms and routines will give you more freedom and space for spontaneity than you may even realize. Let me explain.
The real reason that we want consistency is because then, when the unexpected happens, and it is going to happen, since so much of what we do is already ingrained in rhythm and routine, we can muster our energy and focus on the crisis or the unexpected thing that has caught us off guard.
When we wing it, we are we have inconsistency all the time and winging it actually takes a lot more energy, more than we even realize that we're expending until the unexpected hits that is, and that's when things fall apart and we realize just how much energy we were putting into maintaining our lives. It becomes chaotic, and we just don't have the capacity to add to regular life.
So let me give you let me give you a real simple and recent example. It was a Monday afternoon, just after four o'clock when we got a phone call from a friend. She was passing through Chicago on her way home to Spain. And because of the timing of her COVID test results, she was not allowed on the plane they had expired a few hours earlier. They wanted, I don't know 24 hours and she had 48 hours. It was something- it was a semantic. She was negative. So she wasn't allowed in the plane. They said, "take a test here at the airport, and you should be fine by tomorrow." So she had to wait an extra day. So basically she was stranded. So she called and said, "help!" And of course we hopped in the car to go get her right away. But when we pulled back into our driveway, it was now dinnertime. But because of the rhythms and routines that surrounded her in our house, it was cooking and it was ready to go. And so we flexed with the unexpected and we have the joy of seeing our dear sweet friend and we hardly missed a beat.
So today I want to suggest five routines that when they're integrated into your day can really become anchors for your home and for your business. The first one is a morning routine. When we know what we're going to do as soon as we get up in the morning. It really helps us get our day launched and started in a way that puts us on a trajectory trajectory for a successful day. What does your morning routine look like? You might have the beginnings of one and not even realize it. So think about it all the minutiae, and the big things. And really, it can be anything that you feel you need to do every morning, in order to get ready for the day. So it might be shower exercise, eat breakfast, read, whatever it is, that gives you the footing to start the day well. So that's the first routine, a morning routine.
The second routine is I'm going to call it a meal routine. But really, it's a dinner routine. So while we want to have a good routine around all of our meals, I really am just going to focus on dinner because there is something about having dinner nailed down that makes a world of difference. For most of us breakfast and lunch are already meals that we or the members of our family tend to eat on their own or fend for themselves on. So there's already probably a little bit of a routine around those meals. And there are a lot of tools out there that can help streamline the process. But the heart of all this routine is in deciding in advance what you will make for dinner, and then making sure that you have it on hand. I even take this one step further and I often will prep today, for tomorrow. So after dinner tonight, I will go and pull out what I need from the freezer for dinner tomorrow. And then it can thaw and it can be ready. Or I might even set out the the cans from the pantry, the produce that needs to be cut, the things that that need to be done so that they're ready. Because then often this lets you get started on assembling dinner so much faster. Sometimes I'll assemble it at breakfast time and put it and get it ready to go so that I just have to pop it in the oven or put the instant pot on delay start. But if you're anything like me, the kitchen is the last place you want to be. And there is something about the stress of four o'clock rolling around and not knowing what to make that is just enough to push to push me over the edge. It's, it's stressful enough that for me sometimes that moment alone can derail what was otherwise a productive day. And it just can, you know, send me crashing back to earth and feeling like I blew it for the day. So having a good meal routine, specifically a dinner routine, that is routine number two.
Routine number three is a mail routine. Now I call this the mail routine, but really, it's about all the paper that comes into the house. The faster we can deal with it, the sooner we can get it resolved. The sooner it's resolved, the less clutter we have around. The less clutter we have, the fewer piles we see. Clutter is really a measure of noise, it's visual noise. And the noisier it is, the more stressful it is. And that's why walking into a hotel room can feel so relaxing. It's because there isn't a clutter. When we can keep those paper piles reduced or even non-existent. That is beneficial for ourselves, for our family, and for our productivity. And intent. productivity is good for business, right? We no longer miss deadlines. We don't incur late fees. We're not searching for papers because we already took care of it, or we put it where it needed to be when we wanted to find it. So we've got a morning routine, we've got a dinner routine, we've got a mail routine.
And the fourth routine is a laundry routine. Now this fourth routine, a lot of people would probably say let's just broaden it to be a general cleaning routine. But I would make an argument that when laundry is under control, it has a deeper impact on how our actual day plays out. You can still go about your day if the bathroom needs to be cleaned. But if you don't have clean clothes to get dressed in it when you go to get dressed in the morning, then you're in trouble. Or if the dress clothes you actually need aren't ironed and ready to go, that's a problem. So the good news is with laundry there is not a right or wrong way to do it. You get to decide. Are you a weekend laundry person or are you a once a day during the week? Are you a load of morning kind of a person? They can all work they can all work well. But the important thing is that whichever routine you have, that you're being consistent with utilizing it, that's the rhythm part coming through again. So a laundry routine that is routine number four.
The fifth routine is an evening routine. Now the last, this last routine can really, it really can anchor the next day, we'll talk about that in a moment, you may already have some variation of this, like with your business stuff, a routine to wrap up the tasks of the workday and signal that work is done. But it's really the same idea for home, the evening routine signals the end of the day and your transition to rest. And like I said, really, this evening routine, it is the secret to the success of all the other routines as this is where we begin to prep for the next day. So what is in an evening routine? Well, again, it depends on what your needs are, but here's some things that are in mind. So I lay out my clothes for the next day. Now being a Minnesotan, I, I look at the weather forecast first, and I figure out what, what's coming. Because that's going to help me know Do I want, you know, short sleeves or long sleeves? Do I need a sweater? Do I need something that is going to hold up to the rain, what's coming on. But then I also look at the calendar, do have any podcast interviews that I'm doing? Do I have an appointment I have to be at? Do I have an appointment for the kids? So those things helped me also determine how I'm going to get dressed for the day. So once I have those things, I decide what I'm going to wear and I lay it out. The other benefit of checking the calendar is not only in figuring out what to wear, but it eliminates surprises, especially the early morning appointment kind of surprises. So if you look at the calendar, and you go, oh, my goodness, the dentist is tomorrow, I didn't remember. Now you're not waking up the next morning and getting that phone call of where are you because you saw the appointment, you're you're good to go. This is what I also will do like my final walkthrough of the house and make sure that things are picked up and everything is locked - any of the things that wrap up the day.
So those five routines I have found, they anchor our home and they anchor all the other routines that come up during the day. Our homeschooling routine, our cleaning routine, our work routines. You know, even our our play routines, you know, working out - all those things, they start to settle in around these five routines. These core routines have helped me as a mom, make sure that we are not spinning our wheels or wasting our time and that everyone is able to move forward with the things that they want to do, the things that they have to do, and the things that I want them to do.
Now we could talk a whole lot more about how to develop a routine. And we could talk more about finding the rhythms and the ways that routines can work into your days and weeks. And in fact, when I was digging out of overwhelm, I started with laundry as my first anchor routine. And I have a few resources that I'll link to in the show notes that can help you figure out the rhythms around which to build your laundry routine. But these same principles work in figuring out a lot of these routines. You don't have to start with laundry, you can start with any of them. But I really encourage you to just start with one, pick one. But don't try to do them all at once. Just pick one. So learning a new routine is kind of like learning a new recipe, the first several times that you make it, you look at that recipe and you follow the steps exactly and it takes longer, because you're not familiar with it, you're stopping you're looking you're checking. But eventually you can make that recipe without even looking, you just know what to do grab the ingredients, you make it, you're done. And you become even more comfortable with it and you start to do it while you're doing something else. You make the recipe while you're having a conversation or while you're watching something, it becomes so natural, and it happens naturally. And over time you realize that the stress has shifted. And so this is the same thing with learning these routines. At first it might feel a little clunky and cumbersome. But keep at it and it's going to start to feel automatic and natural. And that is going to shift stress. And you're not going to be asking questions like where's that piece of paper that I need? What are we having for dinner? What am I gonna wear? Why don't I have clean clothes? Because they have all been settled before the question ever has the opportunity to arise.
So where are you going to start? I would love to hear about the rhythms and the routines that anchor your home and business. So shoot me an email or share them on social media and please be sure to tag me.