the ‘r’ in routine stands for…

Years ago I watched this clip where strong bad tries to explain how the morning routine is the most important routine of the day. He is repeatedly interrupted and we never find out what the ‘r’ in routine actually stands for!

Here’s task 25:

25. Streamline your life. Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives because we haven’t given them much thought. Instead, focus on one system at a time (your laundry system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and written. Then stick to it. Here’s more. Another good article here.

I require a great deal of flexibility in my weekly (and daily) schedule so some of my systems are a little fuzzy. Let’s look at a few a bit more closely here…

In #26 I take a gander at my mail & paperwork system.

26. Create a simple mail & paperwork system. If you don’t have a system, this stuff will pile up. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Here’s how.

At home we have a small table next to the front door – mail is sorted here into three piles: one for my husband, one for me and one for the shredder. We have a super-powered, giant shredder and my husband does most of the shredding (I don’t like the noise of it and he doesn’t mind doing it). At the office the mail system is a little sloppier because we’re still getting items from the previous tenants (grrr!) so the piles are as such: one to return to the post office, one to recycle, one to shred (and later recycle), then actual mail we want is distributed accordingly.

Where I actually really suck at this is the filing and putting away of paperwork. I keep piles of stuff for work and personal paper all over, with the best of intentions of dealing with them in my free time. That ‘free time’ just never wants to be filled with sorting papers! Over the coming weeks I am going to schedule a half hour each day to filing, shredding and organizing my paper systems. It isn’t an overwhelming amount of time and I’ve asked my husband to check in on my progress.

Housework Routine

27. Create a simple system for house work. Another example of a simple system is clean-as-you-go with a burst. Read more.

We actually have a couple of systems in place for housekeeping – in the kitchen I cleanup after cooking/baking, or my husband helps out if he’s home (especially if I am making a meal that mostly focuses on his carnivorous diet!). Every two weeks we have a professional cleaning service — while they are scrubbing my shower I do loads and loads of laundry and any other household chores that have stacked up. We used to spend an entire weekend day cleaning and found that we’re much more satisfied paying someone else to help out, even though it means less dinner-and-a-movie money. In between cleanings it easier to take care of quick jobs like wiping down the bathroom sink every few days and giving the toilet bowl a swish.

Clear your desk

28. Clear your desk. If you have a cluttered desk, it can be distracting and disorganized and stressful. A clear desk, however, is only a couple of simple habits away. Read more.

I do this pretty regularly – clearing off everything and stacking it into one nice sized pile. I keep an “inbox” on my desk at the office and try to get to the bottom of it by the end of the day. Somedays this doesn’t happen, still coming off my vacation I am a bit back-logged.

Establish routines

29. Establish routines. The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines. A great article on that here.

I find myself renewing my routines with the changes of the season. Going into fall I am looking at what worked over the summer, what didn’t, and which areas I need to work on.

Empty email inboxes

30. Keep your email inbox empty. Is your email inbox overflowing with new and read messages? Do the messages just keep piling up? If so, you’re normal — but you could be more efficient and your email life could be simplified with a few simple steps. Read more.

When I first saw this challenge back at the beginning of the project I knew I was in trouble. One email account I have is very rarely cleaned out and has literally thousands of unread emails in at any given time. I guess it has been my email junk box account because if it didn’t look interested I didn’t open it. Over the last month I have been going through and spending a few minutes here and there clearing out *all* of my inboxes. Oh my goodness it feels so good!! I’ve unsubscribed from all of the blogs, unnecessary newsletters, and other subscriptions that have no value to me and only take up space and time. Most emails coming in to my accounts these days are important and I work from the top down and then file them into archive accounts as I go.

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