Hey my loves! Ever since we started our morning and evening routines together, I keep getting asked these questions: What time should I start my routine? How long should it take? And my standard response is: it’s completely up to you! Honestly, there is no right or wrong answer, I promise.
But then the follow up question is almost always: What’s your timing, Raveena? When do you start? When do you end? Fine, I concede! I will try my best to go into detail on how it works for me. I hope this works as a general guideline for you, but please bear in mind, it is not cast in stone.
I want to take you back to a time, long ago, when we were probably at our most productive. It was so long ago in fact, you were still a child. That’s right, I’m talking about school. Do you remember how you got so much done every single day in school? Ever wondered why that was? The reason is because we had structure.
I went to school and had an hour and twenty minutes of maths during which time, I was focused on solely on maths. I may have been dying to tell my friend about my new dress, but I had to wait until recess to do my gushing! Because talking during math would have had consequences. Ms Lopez was very strict!
Children thrive on routine and structure. But in a grown up world, there is no Ms Lopez, so how do we attain that high degree of productivity? We must create our own schedule! Just like in school, we must focus on what needs doing in a day, and dedicate set time periods to do those things.
But, I hear some of you asking, what if we can’t be so rigid with our time anymore? What if we have these grown up responsibilities that don’t allow for a structured timetable? Some of us have young kids, some are caregivers to the elderly, others have physical limitations and so on. That’s why we absolutely crave flexibility. So how then, do we create a balance between these two ends of the continuum, between being productive without waiting to hear the bell?
I found that dividing my day into blocks or chunks works well. I like working with 2 hours blocks because I wear quite a few different hats. Of course, you can do 3 hours or even 4 hours, depending on your lifestyle, but here I am going to use myself as the example and explain my 2 hour blocks.
Block 1: My day starts at 6 but that 2-hour block is partly spent in bed (I will hint that it is the best snuggle-cuddle time of the day), sipping tea, and partly planning my day.
Block 2: I actually get out of bed by 8 am and I slot in making breakfast for my darling husband who has usually built up an appetite by then. (Excuse me! It’s because he hits his beloved treadmill). This 8 to 10 am is pretty fixed. I do my entire Morning Routine in this chunk of time. You can watch my Morning Routine video and read the post on it, here.
Now, my morning routine does not take me two whole hours and neither does cooking and eating. But unlike some systems that work on 15 minute tasks or working 45 minutes every hour, I have given myself two hours. This ensures I get it done but if I am not feeling too good, I can slow my pace. I can rest in between and swap the order of my tasks. Believe me, it helps a lot.
Block 3: After that is a flexible block, and between 10am to 12pm I can check my social media, e-mails, spend time with my parents, literally doing whatever I want.
Block 4: By 12 noon however, I start on my Lunch Block. Here I cook lunch, we all eat lunch and then we clear up and move on.
Blocks 5 & 6: Similarly, my 2-4 pm is very flexible but my 4-6 pm is not. I can go run errands or visit some friends, but by 4pm I like to be home (so I can avoid the build up of heavy traffic) and start my weekly cleaning.
Block 7: What’s for dinner? I get started on dinner and some routine work and then we have our dinner. Since there are no young children who need to be bathed and forced into bed, we just mosey along into the next block.
Block 8: This is where we finish up the home and cleaning night routine and say our good nights and then we retreat to our bedrooms, and conclude our Personal Night Routine or watch tv. Totally flexible!!
And that’s how I keep my day productive without being too hard on myself. I have never felt in any way confined or restricted by my routines, if anything I feel free to enjoy my day and be productive.
Next week, we will get out our highlighters and add colour to this block system.