Routines Support Family Life
Contrary to what many people may think I am not an organised person – at least not naturally. My mum started me with lists when I was about 12 years old because I kept forgetting her instructions so she started writing them down. When I was first married I knew that if I was to achieve the things that I wanted to achieve then I needed to be disciplined and not just live by whatever I felt like doing. I needed habits and I needed routines.
So over the years I have created habits, routines, systems that help me do what I want to do. Ultimately I want to create a home: a welcoming, fun, thinking, creative place for my family and friends. I want to build relationships with people – first my family and then other people. I want all my efforts, whatever I find my hand to do, to reflect my love for God.
To be honest, I still lack a lot of self-control: the ability to say no to myself, in order to do what is right. I still give in and do whatever I feel like doing. I still procrastinate. I still forget things! This is why I still work on habits, routines and systems – even after all these years! They are still my support – I need these external frameworks to help me overcome my lack of self-control.
The main habits and routines I have established:
- Write it all down! I use a diary to keep tabs of my time commitments, a control journal to keep lists, charts and rosters that help me manage all the spheres of my life.
- Quiet times in the morning –a short time where I can focus on God and His Word to me.
- Maintain the home with daily chores, weekly chores and monthly chores. A little bit every day gets the job done
Our days have been divided into these main blocks of time for many years – the activities within these blocks change but overall our days look much the same:
- Morning routine – personal responsibilities: breakfast, chores, exercise, quiet time
- Focus time – This is the best time for training my children – remembering we are training their whole being: spiritual/moral, physical/practical, emotional, social and intellectual
- Lunch time, chores
- Individual time: rest or just time to yourself for quiet focus
- Project time or Family time: time to be creative, work on talents or responsibilities or time to be involved with other people
- Family time (and bedtime)
Having these blocks of time, each with its own purpose allows me to keep a balance in all that we do in our family life. Balance comes in two ways – one is by being intentional and planning to include all aspects you need to include in your life, and the second way is by being flexible. Flexibility is key to keeping life-giving routines. Flexibility to the extreme is really a lack of self-control, but flexibility done right is about knowing your ultimate goals and choosing what is best.