There is so much to keep track of at home.
Not only does everyone want to eat three times a day, but the house also has a fast trajectory down Entropy Lane.
There are apps for home routines. But will we really check yet another app consistently and regularly? Do we need one more place to keep information? Whenever feasible and efficient, I think it’s best to consolidate into using as few apps as possible to manage your home and family.
There are printables for home routines. But will someone else’s plan really work in your situation? Where will it live? Will you look at it and work from it regularly? How difficult will it be to change as life changes? I believe our plans need to be in an adaptable format, because what worked one year or one month ago won’t necessarily work today. Our lives and needs change quickly with a growing family.
There are task management apps. If we’re already using one of these, why not add the routine items to it also? Aren’t they tasks? Don’t we want to check them off? The problem with adding your routines to a task management app is that unless you keep on top of it every day, your system will quickly grow weeds and be a wild jungle of potential rather than a list that gives direction.
So, where do those routine tasks best fit?
If you’re a paper planner, you might have a separate page in your planner, you might have your own weekly list you print, you might keep a list behind a page protector and reuse it or on a whiteboard where everyone can see it.
But what if you’d rather not deal with paper? What if you prefer glancing at the screen in your pocket to look at your list? What if you don’t like the visual clutter often attendant with paper?
Now, over the years I’ve experimented with all kinds of formats for keeping my routines. I’ve played with Evernote, with the Home Routines app, and with task management apps.
They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but you know what it really boils down to? Actually looking at the lists.
Yes, my big insight is…
You have to look at your lists.
So, if you’re using Evernote all the time, you have it open, and you’re looking at it, it’d be a great spot to keep your routines.
Intentionally build those habits of looking at your list no matter what format you’re keeping it in, and you’ll be far ahead of those who spend more time reformatting their lists than doing them (cough like myself).
But, let me show you some of my reformattings, in case they inspire you to find one that will make sense for you right now.
Daily Note Checklist
For a time, I kept a daily to-do note as well as a daily journal in Evernote. For my daily routines, I cut and paste the same little chart into each day’s note.
I set up the basics of each note during my weekly review, then filled them in with more specifics the night before. But that cut-and-paste list of daily routines I wanted to build and check off was always right there.
Plus, there were a few extra spaces to add that day’s task from the list of weekly tasks.
Weekly Note Checklist
You can keep a weekly note in Evernote just the same as you would on a clipboard with paper.
- Create a master template that is blank or has your repeated routines on it.
- Each week, during your weekly review, duplicate the template and fill it in with that week’s specifics.
- Throughout the week, at a designated time at least once a day, check your list and check thing off. The beginning and ending of the day are two good times to build in a list-review habit.
As the week goes on, you’re able to see your progress build. And, if you didn’t get to your work one day, there’s still the next – the item stays in front of your eyes all week, either as a checked-off win or as a to-do item.
Separate Routines Checklist
Another option is the keep a list with only your routines on it.
This works particularly well if you use a task management app for single-time and time-sensitive tasks, but don’t want to clutter up your app with the routine tasks that repeat every day or week.
This list is the same concept as a FlyLady list or Motivated Moms, but simply kept in Evernote instead of on paper. This makes it easy to customize and adjust as needed, also.
The real trick is building the habit of looking at it when you need to be reminded of your routines. You might want to set an alarm on your phone to remind you that it’s time for your routines, then look at the list as needed beforehand or only afterward to check them off.