It might still be 98 degrees here in South Florida, but the start of the school year officially signals the end of summer fun. This time of year is an adjustment for children and adults, alike, and everyone’s trying to get back into a productive routine.
Here are things things I’ve learned to make the transition a little easier on my family. They’re handy tips for the current transition, but these hacks will help you manage a transition between any kind of routine.
Communicate the upcoming change.
This might seem obvious, but it’s really easy to overlook, so I’m gonna make it plain. One of the first things you should do before changing up a routine is notify your inner circle. You may have a different inner circle for different areas of your life, so use your discretion and talk to the people who will have a stake in the change. For me, the back-to-school routine happens in my home arena, so my inner circle includes the people I live with (Hubby and Nugget), and the family members that help with childcare when my daughter isn’t in school.
Filling everyone in on the new routine is essential because it does two things: 1) creates accountability, and 2) protects against unintentional sabotage. Accountability to your inner circle can help you stick to a new routine because you’re no longer the only one looking forward to on the expected benefits of the new routine. It’s positive peer pressure from the people who matter most to you and want to see you win.
But protecting against unintended sabotage is the lynchpin. Because a kind family member can derail your new healthy eating plan by bringing over a homemade pound cake. Because a toddler that doesn’t know that school is starting will vehemently protest an early bedtime and stop everybody in the house from catching some zzz’s. Because…you get the point.
On my end, it’s been critical to get my husband on board with the back-to-school routine. He’s very involved in our daughter’s care and schooling, but I’m on point for organizing most of it. Not so long ago, I thought that organizing everything also meant executing everything. #Lies. Hubby is glad to do his part, but he can only step up when he’s clear on what needs to be done.
Nugget is only three-years-old, but that doesn’t mean I can afford to ignore her. She’s extremely observant, naturally curious, and won’t hesitate to bring it to my attention when something doesn’t happen the way she expects. She always wants to know the plan — where she’s going the next day, what kinds of activities are on the agenda, and whether I’ll be staying with her or dropping her off. (Seriously, you should hear these conversations.) When there’s a deviation from the established routine, things generally go more smoothly if I’ve taken the time to explain it to her in advance.
Sometimes, the best way to start a new routine isn’t to simply replace the first routine, but to disrupt and dismantle it. Do something to interrupt the established pattern in a drastic enough way that it’s just as easy to settle into a new routine as it is to return to the old one.
As we transitioned from from summer break to back-to-school, the natural reset for us was a family vacation. Hubby and I took a few days off work to take Nugget to Disney World, where she indulged in all the musical fairytales and theme park hikes she could handle in two days. By the end of the trip, we were all so exhausted that the normalcy of the back-to-school routine was refreshing.
Not every transition has to be so dramatic. It just has to be effective enough to disrupt existing habits. For example, if you get a promotion at work, part of your transition may include dressing more professionally. In that case, purging your closet might be enough of a disruption to allow you to change up your style.
Refine your morning routine.
Whatever it is you want to do, it will be easier if you start your day on a good foot. You need a practical morning routine that allows you to enter your day in a mindset that helps you achieve what you want. The key word here is practical, as in it must be designed and adapted to be functional for you. Don’t try to do what you think everyone else does in the morning. Do what actually works for your situation and desired outcome. And remember, a great morning routine starts the night before. There’s a certain amount of preparation that should be done in advance to let your mornings be great.
For me, an effective morning routine allows me to make myself look presentable in as little time as possible, get my daughter fed, dressed and out of the house without a meltdown, leave the house without forgetting anything, and make it to where I’m supposed to be on time. It also allows me to have a small amount of alone time to gather my thoughts and take in some inspirational content — usually a daily devotional and a podcast about creativity or entrepreneurship.
What kind of transition are you seeing in your life right now? What’s the bottom line outcome you need from your morning routine? Drop me a line in the comments and share your thoughts.
In the meantime, we’ve got a guide that can help you get started. Sign up here to get your free copy of “Start Your Day with G.R.A.C.E.” delivered right to your inbox, and learn the basic elements you can use to create your own peaceful and productive morning ritual.