Creating New Routines (Part 2)

As I mentioned yesterday, one of my goals for 2020 is: Create purposeful monthly, weekly, and daily routines. I have seen how much routines can make a difference in my productivity! For January, I gave myself two routine-related goals. The first was to brainstorm possible routines that I'd like to implement. Before I could start implementing anything, I needed to figure out what exactly I wanted to do on a regular basis! 

First, I looked at household chores: meal planning, grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry. I chatted all about that in Creating New Routines (Part 1) yesterday. Once that was done, I started thinking about a few other tasks I'd like to perform weekly and/or monthly. I brainstormed a big list of all the things I said I wanted to do on a recurring basis and then categorized them based on how frequently I felt they needed to be done.

Everything left on my list fell into three general categories. So, here's what ended up on my Monthly to-do list:

The first four tasks are grouped because they're all related to digital photos:
• Download photos/videos from iCloud to my external hard drive.
• Rename the files, which I do based on date taken. For example: 2020-01-02_01.jpg. 
• Backup the photos/videos to OneDrive. I like having them saved in two places!
• Choose a calendar photo for that month, which I'll order from Artifact Uprising in December.

The next three are quick tasks to keep my computer organized:
• Delete/archive emails. I want very little in my email inboxes! 
• Clean out Pocket. I save articles/links here throughout the month.
• Organize desktop. It can get messy as I make blog graphics and such.

The first three are reminding me of the blog posts that I publish every month:
• Monthly Recap – sharing all my favorite things from the past month!
• Goal Check-In – recapping previous month's progress and setting new goals.
• Quick Lit – mini reviews of everything I read the previous month.

The next two are general blog maintenance items:
• Goodreads – basically just add any reviews I've written!
• Update Pages – the list of what I've read and any reading challenge progress.

And the last three involve wrapping up the month in my bookish planners:
• Reading Log – filling out my top three reads from the month, favorite quote, etc.
• Bullet Journal – just making sure it's updated and ready for upcoming month!
• Blog Plan – use my calendar to loosely pre-plan two posts per week.

The first two are related to my Promptly Journals for my sons:
• Promptly 2 – fill out applicable section in my second's journal (Birth Story, First Month, etc.)
• Promptly 1 – work on getting caught up on the last three years in my first's journal

And the next three are related to my Simplified Planner and PowerSheets:
• Planner Prep – note any birthdays, mark Nick's upcoming travel, add any appointments, etc.
• PowerSheet Prep – review previous month, fill in new month's brainstorming pages, etc.
• Tending List – choose my new monthly goals and put them on this page in my PowerSheets

It might sound like a lot, but so many of these tasks only take a few minutes. I've always had the time to do them but just hadn't developed a system to make them into a habit. To keep myself on track, I created a bookmark to print monthly for my planner, which you can see in the photo above. The number following the item correlates to the week of the month that I want to try to do it. For example, (1) = completing this task the first week of the month.

Before I shift to the small list of weekly to-do items, I wanted to mention my second January mini goal since it's related to this section. In addition to brainstorming routines, I wanted to schedule a monthly planning session. On the last Saturday of January, I went to Starbucks by myself with my planner, PowerSheets, and bullet journal. I spent about two hours there enjoying the quiet time, reviewing the past month, and getting prepped for the one ahead. It was heavenly! I'm definitely doing it again in February, though I anticipate being at home instead.

Most of the items on my initial brainstorm were monthly, but there were a few things that I wanted to do weekly. The first was meal planning, which I mentioned in yesterday's post. Here are my other Sunday tasks:

• Planner Prep – plan for the week ahead, write down any known to dos, add in meal plan, etc.
• Bullet Journal – coloring books read, noting book purchases, and so on (like in this post).
• Reading Log – filling in anything I read during that week (using this same format).
• Cull Photos – delete any blurry photos, duplicates, screenshots, etc. Keep only the best!
• Delete Texts – delete threads I don't need, like appointment reminders or ones using up space.

Because I'm me, I made it into a printable that I keep at the front of my bullet journal. The "Blog" section is to help keep me on track with my goal of blogging two times I week. That's roughly 8-10 posts per month, so I gave myself check boxes for up to 12. It's motivated me to think ahead and schedule posts!

Can you see why I was shocked by how much progress I made in this area in January? I'd planned to just brainstorm potential routines – never imagining that I'd actually feel motivated to start implementing them! Like I said yesterday, I do anticipate pausing on the cleaning routine until we've started to adjust to life with a newborn. But I'm hopeful that I'll still be able to stick with the things I've mentioned today!

I'll share an update on these routines, likely at the end of the year. Additionally, there are other routines or rhythms I'd like to introduce – family traditions like pizza + movie on Fridays, some school-adjacent things for my firstborn, some health and wellness habits, etc. However, most of them didn't make sense to start in this season of my life. I've got them on a list for future consideration, and I'll revisit those when the time is right.

What routines do you have in your life?
I'd love to hear what habits have made a difference!

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