Live or Die By Routine, Sometimes.

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All this talk of routine and schedule had me thinking — my plate is always full. Whether it’s parenting, writing, designing, creating, I am never short of ideas for the limited time we’re given. I haven’t always lived and died by a schedule, but in the last year, I realized that if I wanted to have any semblance of happiness in my career and energy expenditures, I needed a frame of a routine.

Here’s how my routine used to look:


I’ve switched things up a bunch and to keep the machine running more smoothly around here, this is how it looks most days now (Monday-Friday):


I’m also learning that I do a REAL terrible job at taking of myself in the midst of all the crazy. I don’t say “no” easily, I feel guilty when I do, and try to do way too much. (My third grade teacher once sent a concerned letter home to my parents that I had too high expectations of myself and that I was an overachiever. LOOKS LIKE I’M HOLDING STRONG SINCE THIRD GRADE, Y’ALL.) So somewhere in all this schedule, I’m learning that if I don’t rest, enjoy life, talk to people I love, say “no”, purposefully write in the margins what makes me happy, I will forget. I won’t do those things. I will shuffle them off as not important and pay the awful, emotional, depressing price weeks later.

1. Mornings. We take our mornings very seriously around here. Routine is king. I sing wake up songs to rise the living dead, coffee is brewed in a mega-sized french press, breakfast table conversations, bus watch, hugs, kisses, music, and the day is rolling.

2. I get dressed. Whether it’s work clothes or running clothes, I get OUT of my pajamas. I realize one of the perks to working for myself, from home, is that I could lounge around in my skivvies all day and no one would care. (Ok, maybe my parents would, but…you know.) But when I consciously change up day from lounge to active mode, it helps my brain go “Oh yeah. We do things besides lay in bed and read Harry Potter all day, don’t we?”

3. I keep a list of things that I can do immediately to relax. I call it my self-care list. It might be as simple as reading poetry, walking around a bookstore, take a 15 minute nap or putting on my favorite music as loud as I can stand it. But when overwhelmed during the day, I resort to that. It keeps me sane. It reminds me that I am not superwoman. I cannot possibly do it all, even if I want to.

4. Also, since my last conversation with the amazing Claire Burge, I use Wunderlist for every random thought. For book ideas, marketing, summer plans, house plans, future fears, entrepreneurial ideas, financial goals. It’s all collected there. The kind of peace that comes knowing my endless thought stream is somewhat captured somewhere is such relief.

My friend Alle and I are going to read this book, Daily Rituals, together and if anyone else is interested in reading along and talking about this with us, let me know. Already I can tell that this book reminds me that every creative person is different, somewhat eccentric, and needs some kind of routine (even if it’s the strangest routine you’ve ever heard of).

So here’s to the end of the “work week”. Cheers to the weekend!


  1. Ouch! ;) My routine currently looks like your “before”, so, as you can imagine, it’s a constant source of anxiety to a perfectionist like me. I’m apparently not a perfectionist when it comes to time management …. :-P I so need to change this.

    • Anxiety is my arch-nemesis. Drove me crazy when my schedule wasn’t somewhat normal. Also the list-keeping. That has helped MAJOR with my anxiety.

  2. Andrea – what helps you the most as a single parent is the routine. I raised my two sons (now 18 and 20) almost entirely by myself while working full time and having a set routine made all the difference.
    And yes, self-care is HIGHLY important, especially when you are solo parenting. Happy mama = happy daughter.
    I am such a fan of your writing; thanks for being so transparent and authentic. Your personality just shines through your writing.
    Much love from Minneapolis,

    • Thank you for this encouragement today, Renee! I can’t tell you how good it is to hear from others who have walked the same solo-parenting road. I do see how routine is already such an improvement for her and my relationship. I am so thrilled to know that my writing is connecting with you too! Thank you! xoxo

  3. Jill Gottenstrater says:

    I am a top 5 things to accomplish in the day person. I always include a checkbox next to each item. Checking off items delights me. I have even been known to write in something I already accomplished, just so I can check it off!
    What spoke to me today in your post the most, was something I will continue to work hard to do: “purposefully write in the margins what makes me happy.” I was afraid to write in the margins of my Bible or dog ear a page in a book until a friend convinced me that I was not defacing the Word of God or ruining a good book…I was celebrating all that was good! You should see my books now!! Freedom! Cheers from Asheville!

    • I definitely am the type of person to add things to the list just to cross them off! :) Writing in the margins is where all of the secret goods live :) I love going back into books, notebooks, etc to see what small notes I made over time. Thanks so much for leaving a comment! Cheers right back to ya!

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