How to Make and Stick to a Weekly Routine

How to Make and Stick to a Weekly Routine

When you think of a busy life, what comes to mind? Maybe it looks like juggling graduate school with your full-time job. Maybe it’s working two jobs and having no social life, or maybe busy means working hard and playing hard. Maybe busy for you is taking care of your kids and making your house feel like a home.

A busy life doesn’t have to be chaotic. It’s possible to have a full calendar and still be able to keep everything organized, live a healthy lifestyle and make time for yourself and the people that you love. You can do big things, like rearrange your sleep schedule so that you wake up an hour earlier to accomplish things in the morning before the family is awake or before your day shift at work. Or you can do simple things, like swapping out your messy liquid laundry detergent for laundry soap sheets that save you time and energy.

Read on to find out how you can make a routine that will keep your busy life in order, as well as some tips on how to stick to it.

How to Make a Weekly Routine

  1. Prioritize and set times for little tasks, daily to-dos and big projects. Determine which tasks need your time before work and which projects can be scheduled for after work hours or on the weekends. Maybe you need to set a time to journal every morning before work. Maybe your daughter’s band practice takes place every day after school at 3 p.m. Maybe you need to make sure you’re hitting the gym four times a week, or reaching all your marathon training milestones. Whatever your specific scheduling needs are, sometimes it’s helpful to write them all down and divide them up into categories before plugging them all into your calendar.

2. Schedule a weekly grocery shopping day. This could mean taking an entire Saturday to hit the farmers market, the local co-op and the Mediterranean store back-to-back. Or it could mean choosing an afternoon each week when you can breeze through your local Aldi for budget-friendly meal prep items. Perhaps you just need to set aside time each week to sit down and order your groceries, select your meal service plans and order your eco-friendly laundry products online. Whatever grocery shopping looks like for you, make sure you put time in your calendar for it. It’s also a good idea to set time for meal planning a few days before grocery day so you have a baseline to work from.

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3. Pick meal prep days. Similar to committing to a grocery shopping day, it’s helpful to set a day each week to do meal prep. Maybe it’s the same day that you do your shopping so that you can immediately process the items you purchased for easy storage and convenience. Make a pot of rice and store it in the fridge for an easy side throughout the week. Wash, spin and chop lettuce and store it in a big glass storage bowl for an easy salad base. Pre-cut veggies that you can make into curry, casseroles or veggie trays later. Divide bulk packaged items into smaller, meal-sized quantities, freezing some for later use.

4. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a pain. Make a list of all the chores that need to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and occasional basis. It’s best to give your home a thorough cleaning once a week, but smaller cleaning tasks — such as taking out the trash and vacuuming — can be scheduled for multiple days throughout the week. Weekends can be reserved for deep cleaning the bathroom, wet mopping the bedrooms and washing all the bedding. To make it easier, keep up on daily tasks like washing dishes, wiping the counters and sweeping the kitchen floor. Sustainable and durable reusable paper towels make cleaning the kitchen after dinner a breeze.

5. Leave time for self-care. When you lead a busy life, it’s absolutely necessary to keep room in your day or week to do something for yourself, whether that’s a face mask before bed or a weekly meditation class.

6. Pencil them in. Schedule time for connection with the people you love. It’s easy to fill your calendar with daily tasks, weekly projects and work. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we aren’t making time for friends and family until it’s been months since we’ve seen them. Don’t let your relationships with loved ones drift away. Call your friend to join you for yoga. Ask your significant other to accompany you to the farmers market this Saturday. Don’t forget about your pets either — remember to set times to take your dog for a hiking adventure or to play chase-the-laser with the kitties.

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How to Stick to the Routine

  1. Make the routine realistic. If you’re truly not a morning person, don’t try to force yourself to get up at 4 a.m. every morning to squeeze in a spin class before work. Instead, opt for a class right after work. Similarly, if you can’t seem to stay up past 10, don’t make a standing wine and dessert date with your bestie if you’re just going to yawn through the whole thing. You’re most likely to stick with a routine and follow through with a plan if it works for your lifestyle, not against it.


2. Use a calendar, or a planner, or both. Sometimes, it’s good to have a large, easily visible calendar where you can coordinate schedules with your family or roommates. Your personal planner is where you can set times for daily tasks, appointments and projects.

3. Use the format that works best for your personal lifestyle. Maybe you are an analog loyalist and can only use a physical planner and calendar. Or maybe you prefer the flexibility and collaborative nature of a digital calendar and planner. Either way, it’s important to begin the process of setting your weekly routine with whatever method is most familiar to you.

4. Streamline the process. It’s easier to keep systems in place when things are simple, streamlined and easy to find. Keep all the things you need to leave for work in the morning in a basket by the entry door. Label bins of office supplies to save time and energy. Color code laundry baskets to signify whether they are for clean or dirty laundry.

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5. Figure out easy ways to save time. A meal delivery service can save you hours since you won’t have to plan recipes or go grocery shopping as often. You can also save a lot of time and energy by signing up for subscriptions for items you need to purchase regularly.

Making a weekly routine might feel like a big undertaking, but once you have a system in place, it can be life-changing.

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