I’m a big believer in routine.
I’m a single parent to 3 kids. It’s how we survive.
It’s also how we thrive. (See my lost post… they’re the same thing).
I’m also a foster carer. My kids have suffered trauma in their early life. Routine is essential to them too.
And habits are the way we build those routines.
From James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them.
Like many people, I’ve had to rethink my daily routines in light of the current situation. I effectively have 3 time zones…
Getting up early gives me time while the kids are asleep.
I’m up at 5am, and get an hour (2 if I’m lucky) before my youngest wakes up.
Here’s what I get done:
I’ve gone into detail here as it raises a useful behaviour design trick.
Back over to James Clear…
One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top.
Once the kids start waking up, all bets are off.
Getting creative work done is challenging. It’s still possible (when they’re quietly watching a film… if/when that happens!). I treat that time as a bonus.
Here’s what I get done during the day:
It’s easier for the kids to understand what I’m doing if they can see it. So working at my laptop isn’t great, but loading the washing machine is fine.
The kids also have their routines. I’ve written before about how we use a Pomodoro-style system at home.
My youngest goes to bed around 7.30pm.
I still have two kids to put to bed, and my energy levels are (understandably) pretty low by this point.
And so, this is when I consume:
A good day starts the night before, and so I do a little prep for that too (small things like placing a bottle of water next to my bed for the morning).
I would love to hear what works for you.
*I’m human. I don’t do this every day. Sometimes I get really close, and other days I’m miles off. I know where I want to be, but I don’t beat myself up for being less than a perfect person. You shouldn’t either.