As Laura and I often say in our blogs, it’s easy to focus on the big moments in life—vacations, parties, holidays, important meetings—but it’s the little everyday moments, many of which take place at home, that make up the majority of our lives. Waking up, getting dressed, getting out the door, commuting to work, making dinner, paying bills, doing homework with the kids, all daily routines that we spend hours of our lives doing. And yet, we tend not to pay as much attention to those moments—we put up with minor inconveniences or hindrances. Just imagine if we gave our daily routines as much attention as we did planning a vacation or party. If you were planning a trip you would want to make sure your travel arrangements go smoothly by ensuring you get the best service, hotel room, or rental car. Or if you were having a party you would take time to plan a great menu, create the guest list, and send invitations. Why not spend as much time thinking about your daily routines?
People often tend to tune out to their environments and the minor annoyances in their homes rather than make a change. For example, I recently worked with a client who kept a window closed all day because there was a piece of furniture blocking the window crank. She would have preferred to have kept it open during the day to let in the fresh mountain air, but she settled on closed all day rather than wrestle with the armoire blocking the crank. Another person I worked with was frustrated every morning by having to make toast in a toaster that was placed in an awkward position, yet hadn’t taken the time to move the toaster to a convenient spot where a rarely used blender was placed. And how many people do you know are always misplacing their keys or cell phones in their homes? I know I used to frequently misplace my keys! Now all of these are small annoyances, but they can add up over time and even create unhealthy patterns. Have you ever lost your keys and then been late for a meeting or work or perhaps out of frustration snapped at your spouse or roommate? Sometimes, these small annoyances can have a ripple effect, which affects the rest of our day or other even people’s days…
Think about your daily routines at home… Is there anything you’re putting up with? Are there any small changes you could make to help your routines flow more smoothly or complete tasks more efficiently? It’s common to tune out to our daily mundane routines, so it requires stepping back and really thinking. Start by catching yourself every time you avoid a task. Usually when we avoid a task it’s simply because it’s not easy to do. We are either uncertain of how to start the task or we’re uncertain of the location of something we need to complete the task—so we just don’t do it. Also, catch yourself if you find you’re annoyed about something in your home. If you’re always frustrated because your children or spouse won’t hang up their coats on hangers in the closet, then get hooks—seems silly, but the easier you make a task to complete the better chance someone will do it—hanging something on a hook takes less time than a hanger. So if it drives you crazy that your children leave their shoes all over the house rather than in their rooms, get a basket to place by the front door where your family can toss them when they come home. If you avoid paying bills because you’ve left them all over the house, and you don’t know where your stamps and checkbook are, then make an “inbox” that you can leave somewhere convenient and place stamps, a pen, a checkbook and anything else you may need inside.
You can also take it a step further by not only making sure you are supported in your daily routine by being organized, but also by thinking about how your environment can inspire you to take on chores and enjoy your everyday routines more. If you loathe doing dishes, perhaps music in the kitchen and a great scented candle would give you a boost. If you’ve been putting off organizing photos, plan a night when you get a great movie, make popcorn, light a fire, and do your photos while watching. If you’ve created an inbox for your bills, you don’t have to pay them sitting at your desk, you can bring your box anywhere in your home that you might find more comfortable.
Just think, a little time planning out our daily routines, can result in a lot less time feeling frustrated or annoyed. Your home can inspire, support, and nurture you as you go about your daily routines!