July 8


The 5 Most Important Daily Routines

By Cassie

July 8, 2024

daily routines

Daily routines help us automate tasks, reduce overwhelm, and also help us create smooth transitions.  The best daily routines simplify our lives and help us create more joy and harmony in our lives.  This is because they reduce decision fatigue and minimize change resistance.  In this post I’ll be sharing the 5 most important daily routines along with some things you may want to consider including and how they will improve your life.

1. Wake Up Routine (aka Morning Routine)

Your morning routine helps you automate the things you need to do each morning to prepare for your day.  This saves you countless decisions and helps conserve energy.  In addition, having a morning routine also enables you to accomplish tasks or take on new habits in a more automated way by simply stacking them into your routine.

That said, the primary purpose of your wake-up routine is to help you transition from sleep to wakefulness.  For that reason, it’s important to create a routine that fits your lifestyle and morning concentration and energy level.  This may mean that your morning routine is short and tidy with only the bare minimum, or your routine might be geared toward getting you fired up and energetic or inspired.  No routines are one size fits all, but this is particularly true of the morning and bedtime routines where transitioning to and from sleep and wakefulness can vary so greatly from person to person.

2. Start Work Routine

If you expect yourself to walk into your office or sit behind your desk and immediately shift gears into productive mode, forget about it!  You’re very likely to find yourself distracted by mom guilt, a laundry list of things you “can’t forget”, or feeling disconnected and uninspired.  Just because you’re in your workspace doesn’t mean that your brain has registered a need to change its focus. 

Creating a start work routine that considers how you commute, what you do during your commute, reviewing your day’s work, reading an inspirational quote, doing some journalling, or simply taking a moment to set your intention for the workday makes an enormous difference.  Get inspired to start your day and create clarity about your focus to improve productivity and creativity.

ATTENTION for those working at home including stay at home parents…

It’s arguable that if you’re a stay-at-home parent, your work from home, or you run a business out of your home the routines you engage in at the start and end of your workday are even MORE important than if you work outside of the home.  This is because our brain’s often associate location with activity and since your location isn’t changing it may be even harder to transition into your workday.  It could even be impossible, and you may notice that your work and homelife are blending together in a very uncomfortable and imbalanced way. 

3. End Work Routine

Welcome to the 21st century where the workday goes on and on and on and on!  With all the technological advances we are more tethered to work than ever before.  Back in the early double income, boomer workdays not only did they enjoy a single income economy but when they were off work they were completely OFF!  Calling an employee at home with a question was considered a huge violation and wholly inappropriate, let alone reaching out on a weekend, vacation time, or at 11pm.  Now with texting and email, it feels like you’re ALWAYS working and that’s just not healthy.  This is even more true now as more people have taken on side-hustles, started their own businesses, and began telecommuting.  We’ve all become workaholics and we don’t even know it.  We’re overwhelmed, stressed to the max and burning out.  It’s destroying our communities, families, and mental and physical health.  So, it’s time to create a end of work routine and stick to it.

Your end of work routine may include checking email, creating an email “away” message, turning off certain notifications in your phone, reviewing and moving things in your schedule and to-do list, and doing a brain dump.  Essentially, you’ll want your start and end work routines to bookend your workday and contain it.

If you are a stay-at-home parent end of work routine would include anything you need to do before beginning your evening routine which is shared with your partner (or which they are responsible for).  This is the transition between it’s all me and I’m clocked out (or at least part time).  You deserve some relief too and one thing you can do is create a faux commute time for yourself where you get 15 minutes or more of you time to go for a walk, talk to a friend, etc. when your partner gets home.  It’s important for both parents to get decompress time and if your partner works away from home you may find yourself resenting that peaceful drive no matter how bad traffic is.

4. The Witching Hour Routine

The witching hour is the time when everyone gets home, and everything needs to be done.  It tends to be incredibly overwhelming and is often fraught with irritability, high emotion, and meltdowns (even from the kids, ha-ha).  It’s fairly interesting that even infants will often be reactive to this time of day and be fussier and more demanding. 

Creating a witching hour routine can help set the tone for your evening and even the quality of sleep you’ll get that night.  The best witching hour routines often involve a snack and water, some quiet time (even if just 10 – 15 minutes), and a routine task (like emptying back packs, starting homework, getting ready for evening activities, or tidying up).  This routine should help set you up for success by giving you a little head start on what need to happen in the evening, getting some nourishment into your body, and taking an intentional moment to reconnect and take a cleansing breath.  The witching hour routine is commonly done after school / work and before dinner but it could also happen after dinner and before bedtime.  Just taking 20 – 30 minutes for this routine will help everyone have a better night.  And yes, I know this is likely the busiest part of your day but remember, haste makes waste.  You will avoid forgotten items, tantrums, meltdowns, accidents, and so many other time suckers by consistently including this routine (especially on your busiest days).

5. Bedtime Routine

You’ll often hear me argue that this is the most important routine of the day.  The reason is that your day isn’t shaped by what happens when you first wake but instead by the quality and quantity of sleep you got the night before (and that you are consistently getting. Setting yourself up for success with a R & R (reset & rest) bedtime routine will ensure that you are getting enough sleep to maintain your physical and mental health, and improve your mood, judgement, productivity and so much more.  The bedtime routine is so important that I’ve written an in-depth blog post on only this routine, and I invite you to check it out here!

Daily Routines That Work

Many of these daily routines are rarely if ever talked about, despite how important and impactful they are, for one simple reason.  They are difficult to create and maintain because they vary based on outside circumstances (for example the witching hour is different if your kids are out of school for the summer).  Using The Routinely App has been a game changer for me and my clients in creating custom routines that suit your lifestyle and can be turned off or modified while still maintaining your streak.  Give it a try!

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