Friday, September 21, 2007

After the Clutter: 5 Steps to a New Daily Routine

I've noticed that in the two years since the major de-cluttering of my apartment, clutter has been creeping back in.

So what DO you do after you've cleared the clutter? If your day-to-day routines are continuing to create clutter, then you'll always be one step behind it.

5 Steps to a New Daily Routine

1. Identify the problem. Think of things that tend to sneak up on you in your life - annual things like tax time, monthly things like invoicing clients, weekly things like running errands or daily things like meal times. For this article, well use the example Im always rushed in the morning.

2. Identify the costs. If the costs arent that high, you probably wont be motivated to do anything to change it. The costs of being rushed in the morning may include: poor choices for breakfast or no breakfast at all, poor digestion from eating too fast or perhaps not eating at all and having coffee on an empty stomach. Then, getting to work in a rush results in stressful travel, impatience and unpleasant interactions with fellow travelers. This will affect your whole day.

3. Back it up. So youre rushed in the morning what choices did you make up to this point that resulted in being rushed?

4. Experiment with some changes in your routine. Dont be rigid; youre in the lab here. One day you can try going to bed a half hour earlier and waking up a half hour earlier. The next day try laying out your clothes the night before. The next day try putting your lunch (and any other lunches you have to prepare) together the night before. The next day try a 5-minute meditation break in the morning.

5. Commit to a new daily routine. Once youve experimented for a week or so, look back and reflect on which strategies made the most difference to your morning (and the rest of your day). Use structures as reminders (tack up a list of your routine), inspiration (post a photo that represents the kind of relaxing morning youd like to have) or tracking (give yourself a gold star or another fun and visual marker on the calendar for every day that you implement your new routine).

Remember that its not about keeping a perfect routine or beating yourself up for straying from it its about making healthier choices every day. If you slip, your very next choice can set you straight again.

(c) Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services.

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, is the author of The Everyday Self-Care Workbook. To receive one of her free monthly newsletters, subscribe at

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