5 Simple Steps to Creating a Routine That Works For You

Solopreneur Sanity

Solopreneur Sanity
If you’re like me, you probably clicked on this title with a slight sense of doubt. Yes, yes, another post telling me that if I just get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, my life will be magical.

NOPE! You’re in luck. Despite the fact that I’m former military (or perhaps because of it!), I will never tell someone that the key to a happy life, or better business, is to get up at 5am. I’m a firm believer in working with the way your body functions, rather than against it. Better already, right?

In fact, my very first tip for creating a routine that works for you starts at night, not in the morning! Here we go:

  1. Write your to-do list before you go to bed

For me, a good daily routine gets a kick-start the night before. When I write my to-do list in the morning, it usually comes from a place of stress (from not feeling on top of things), and self-reproach (“you’re a boss, you should be more organized!”).

When I write my to-do list at night, I can clearly focus on a mission. What is my big goal for tomorrow? What do I want to have accomplished by the end of the day? Do I have any appointments in my calendar?

  1. Determine how much help you need to get going in the morning

Just like I will never tell anyone that they should get up at 5am (although kudos to you, if you do!), I will never judge you for needing a little liquid energy in the morning. Or a lot. I’ve actually attempted to reduce my caffeine intake, but as the mom of five kids, I think it’s here to stay.

If you know that you need coffee in the morning, it may be a worthwhile investment to get a coffeemaker that you can program the night before. Best part of waking up, amirite? Just kidding, I’ve never woken up to coffee. Baby foot in my face, or toddler ninja-staring at me…yes. Coffee…no. Sadly. This clearly needs to be added to my bucket list.

But coffee may not be your thing. Maybe you like to drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning. Or perhaps it’s a quick workout (I’m quite fond of this one), or a meditation, or even a hot shower. Maybe you need to set the tone with loud music (or silence). Whatever it is that gets your blood flowing and perks you up for the day ahead, know it ahead of time and make sure it happens.

  1. Tackle your one big goal for the day

Okay, back to that to-do list. Earlier I mentioned the big goal. A lot of to-do lists have a spot for the main three things you want to accomplish, and I love that. But I think women put a lot of pressure on themselves, so I recommend putting a big star next to the one that is the most important to you. Then throw your efforts into accomplishing that big item. Once it’s done, feel free to move on to the rest, but no matter what your day throws at you, you’ve accomplished your biggest priority.

  1. Pick something to do for yourself, and make sure it gets done

I don’t know about you, but I am dreadful at self-care! And no matter how many times I hear that over-repeated analogy about the oxygen masks on an airplane, I still put everyone else first. The problem with that is, no matter how over-used that analogy is…it’s used for a reason. You only have so much energy, and if you expend it all on others, you wear yourself down quickly.

Doing something for yourself doesn’t have to be huge, or expensive. It can be a bubble bath, or using your favorite essential oils (make sure you read the label so you don’t accidentally put cinnamon oil into your bath…not that I’ve ever done that). It can be reading a chapter or two from a book you’ve been wanting to read.

One of my current favorite me-moments is coloring in some of those fabulous grown-up colorings books. I’m starting to get quite the collection of them!

  1. Write your to-do list before you go to bed (the cycle begins again)

And this is how you turn it from a to-do list, into a routine. Like anything else, this takes practice. Sometimes life happens, and I forget to do my to-do lists for several days, but I always notice a boost to my productivity (and a dip in my stress levels) when I do them. And there’s few things more satisfying than crossing off an item you’ve accomplished.

What are your go-to tips for establishing a solid routine?

Want more tips + tactics for maintaining your solopreneur sanity? We've got you covered. Just released: The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, inspiration and action for finding the intersection of productive and sane to maximize your time working so you can maximize your time living. Ready, set, sanity!

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Amanda Sue Howell is the unicorn behind Magic In the Mess, and a homeschooling mom of 5 (soon to be 6!). She teaches creative biz-moms how to combine their business, craft, and home into a magical blend that satisfies their soul AND their bank account. When she's not creating content for her blog, you can find her crocheting, coloring, or listening for TARDIS sounds in her backyard. Join the fun at magicinthemess.com!
  1. Taish says:

    Great posts! I am making it my priority to add myself to my to do list. My lists are always focused on my business or mommy duties.

    • Amanda Sue says:

      Oh no! I totally thought I replied to this back in December! Thank you SO much for coming over here to read this. 🙂 I’m glad you’re making yourself a priority… how has that been?

  2. I need to pay attention to #4.
    It will be the end of the week and I’ll be thinking, “did I take a shower this week?”

    • Amanda Sue says:

      That’s one reason I made sure to include it! I’ve noticed a lot of us struggling with this. Me, my Mom, my friends… we’re all so busy trying to make sure the kids are wearing clean clothes, and there’s food on the table, and everyone’s where they’re supposed to be, that we forget to take any time for ourselves.

    • richelle says:

      omg i thought that was just me! ;p

  3. Tricia says:

    Great tips!!!! <3

  4. Nancy says:

    Awesome tips, Amanda! You seriously kicked butted with this post, girl! I’m very impressed! ♡


  5. I love packing self-care into my todo list too – and I’m a HUGE fan of giving yourself one big goal for the day, rather than filling your page with ALL THE THINGS.

    Great post luv!


    • Amanda Sue says:

      Thank you! 😀 Yeah 3 things is nice, but sometimes it’s just a 1 thing day. lol Sometimes your kid is sick, or you’re sick, or the weather’s got you in a muck. Why make yourself feel bad about it?

  6. richelle says:

    Yes! my planner saves my life on a regular basis! And i have given up trying to wake up early. As long as i get a full day in, it really doesn’t matter that i get up at 8:30.

    Lovely post!


  7. Kerstin says:

    #2? Fantastic – I definitely need to work on that! Great post, Amanda Sue!

    • Amanda Sue says:

      Thank you! I’m trying to really zoom in on that one right now. Like today I woke up knowing that I had a FULL client load, so I texted my husband and asked him to pick up coffee on his way home lol.

  8. The before bed to do list is such a wonderful tool. I also try to write down the good and bad things about my day before bed. Helps to clear the head!

  9. Pattymac says:

    So I am one of those people who likes to get up super early. it really works for me. It’s happened naturally. And yes, I added in gym time and one fun thing a week away from the work to my self care routine. I need the exercise for sooooo many reasons! I don’t get out nearly enough, so I have to change that. Yeah, and the whole not showering for days thing is gonna stop! I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one dealing with that issue!

    • Amanda Sue says:

      What a freak! Just kidding 😀 (For anyone who reads this, I know her… I’m not being a jerk, roflol). I’m really working on getting exercise in there more often…. mama’s gotta lose the baby belly!!! lol

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