Habits are fascinating. It only takes a few repetitions of the same routine for our minds to create new habits. After that, we automatically do certain tasks without having to give them a thought. Some daily habits become a part of our lives, and we don’t even know it.
But, as you may know, there are good, and there are bad habits, it all depends on what we choose to do on repeat. That is why it’s so important to create good daily habits, especially at home. If you want to be more productive at home, try these 10 daily habits that will save you time and effort. Start practicing them today, and feel the difference!
1. Start the Night Before
It all starts the night before. Waking up to a picked up house, and especially a clean kitchen makes all the difference in your day.
Make it a daily habit to leave all dishes clean, a sparkling sink, and a clear counter in order to prepare for the day ahead. Not only it’s easy on the eyes but things like breakfast, coffee, and lunchbox prep, are much easier and faster.
Along the same lines, try to leave the living areas clear of clutter. Ask your children for help to put their toys and other belongings away, fluff the pillows on the sofas, and clear out the coffee table and other surfaces.
2. Wake Up Early
If you have children, then you know that the wee hours are the quietest, most productive, hours of your day.
Try to create the daily habit to wake up 1 to 2 hours earlier than your family so you can get a head start. The quietness will give you clarity and focus to plan your day.
If waking up earlier than usual is a hard thing to do for you, try setting your alarm 10 – 15 minutes earlier each week, until you adapt to the new time. However, the one and only method that worked for me was going to bed one hour earlier than my normal.
Going to bed by 10:00 pm allows me to wake up at 5:00 each morning without feeling overtired. Once I did that for a week, my body adapted to the new habit. Now I am getting tired earlier at night, I am going to bed earlier, keeping the cycle going.
3. Review and Plan Your Day
So, what to do with that extra hour or two that you get by waking up earlier? There are plenty of things you can do including exercising, praying, meditating, reading, etc.
One daily habit that I have adopted for years now, is planning my day with a daily planner. Many of my tasks and to-dos have been written down far in advance. Things like meetings, work tasks, school activities, etc. However, I like to review, plan again and make adjustments or changes if necessary.
I am on my 2nd year using the Living Well Planner, and I can’t sing enough praises about it. It is realistically the best way to track my daily to-dos, my appointments, my projects, and most importantly, my progress.
4. Set Daily Goals
In the busyness of life, we tend to pay attention to what’s urgent (here and now) as opposed to what’s important. And although there are things that need to be taken care of as they happen (think water boiling over or a flat tire), we need to set bigger, manageable goals that are not urgent. Make it a daily habit to set 3 daily goals.
I find 3 daily goals to be an attainable number. A few examples of these type of goals are things like: plan all the meals for the week, do all the laundry from start to finish, pay your home bills, plan a party, etc. These are tasks that take a reasonable time to complete and make a great impact in your week (or month).
If you are not the type of person that likes to write on planners (like mentioned above), a simple paper can help you write down those goals and to-dos. Check out my Junior Size Goals Setting and To-Do List printable PDF.
5. Sort the Mail
Set a daily time to get the mail from your mailbox and sort it. On average, it should not take you more than 10 minutes to do so. Take each piece of mail and decide in which of the following 3 categories it falls on.
- Toss: junk mail, store flyers or books (cut out any coupons), shred credit card pre-approval letters, etc.
- File: read any correspondence that is important to you or your family, and save it in a file if you consider that you might need it for reference at a later time.
- Take Action: all bills that need to be paid, letters or correspondence that need a reply, or invitations to parties or events, should go on this category.
It only takes a couple of weeks to create this daily habit, and the impact that it makes is great. Slowly but surely, your mail pile will start decreasing. Try to do this at the same time each day, in order to create the habit in your mind.
What I personally do: I pick up the mail at 2:30 pm when I come back from picking my son up at school, and sort it on the kitchen counter. At this time, I ask my son to hand me his school folder and I go through any notes or papers that need to be signed or sent back to school.
We also take the homework out of the backpack and set it on the kitchen table to work on it at a later time that day.
6. Use a Smart Assistant
We live in the era of busyness. Although I do not want to accept it at times, I am rather forgetful. I can not tell you how easier life has been since I have been using my smart assistants. Try to get into the daily habit of using a smart assistant to delegate all those little tasks that take up time. Long gone are the days of taking notes, writing reminders on random papers, or making a shopping list.
A Google Home Mini on the kitchen counter makes a shopping list for me while I am making dinner. I remember everything I need in the pantry or fridge when I am cooking, of course!. Best. Invention. Ever. I can also ask Google to turn on the living room light while I am making dinner. Hey, one thing less to do, while I am stirring the sauce!
If I open the fridge and pull out the last (or second to last) yogurt, I ask Google to add it to my list. I can set up reminders or events that immediately sync with my Google Calendar (best calendar app!), set timers for cooking, or to control our son’s screen time.
I also have two Echo Dots in the bedrooms. We can control lights, set timers (more on this below), listen to music, and bedtime stories.
7. Set up Timers
Setting a timer to complete any task, is a daily habit that can help you stay on track, focused, and challenges you to get more done in less time.
I have to confess that for years (like 5 years!!) I stopped making the beds daily. Maybe twice a week. Maybe on Sundays. Every time I stared at the beds, I cringed…but I talked myself out of making them by saying: ‘I don’t have time’. What a lie!
One day, tired of my excuse, I looked at the rooms and thought that it couldn’t take me more than 5 minutes to make the beds. So, I set a timer (on Echo Dot) for 2 minutes to make my son’s bed, and for 3 minutes to make my bed. I challenged myself to get it done before the timer went off.
Surprise, surprise. I can make both beds, pick up anything that’s not in place, and walk out of the rooms in under 5 minutes total. I beat the timer in each room, every. single. time. It’s like a game, and it keeps me laser focused on the task.
Try using timers for daily habits 8 and 9, explained below.
8. Declutter for 15 minutes
Of course, one of my favorite daily habits had to be decluttering. Decluttering is a marathon, a step-by-step journey. And that is why I strongly recommend taking 15 minutes each day to make a quick sweep in any room (or two) and declutter.
Decluttering is a daily habit I have exercised for the past few years. Admittedly, I currently do not set a 15-minute timer anymore, because it is precisely a habit, it comes naturally to me. I don’t have to think about doing it, I just do it. I clear out surfaces, and drawers as I go on with my
One particular space that gets a lot of my attention is my closet. On laundry day, when I am putting clothing away, I go through old clothing (mostly clothes I haven’t worn in the past 6-12 months) toss them in a donation bag.
That little task, gives me enough momentum to go through shoes, handbags, and accessories. Before you know it, I have decluttered more than I expected in 15 minutes or less.
If you are just getting started in decluttering and freeing your life from stuff, I highly recommend you read Unstuffed and Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. Both books, written by NYT bestselling author Ruth Soukup, are packed with wisdom that can help you in your decluttering journey.
9. Clean One Area of Your Home for 15 minutes
Along the same lines, cleaning daily, at least for 15 minutes should be part of your daily habits. Letting the cleaning -and decluttering- tasks pile up for a later day, make the process daunting and unattainable.
By habit, every morning, after making the beds, I do a walkthrough in each bathroom, pick up everything that is not in place, and wipe down sinks and mirrors. Other days I vacuum the bedrooms, wipe down furniture, clean my desk, etc.
The idea is to create the daily habit of cleaning a different area of your home each day for 15 minutes. No job is too small.
Check out my House Cleaning Weekly Schedule template.
10. Put Everything Back
This might be the last daily habit on the list, but probably the one that will make the most impact on your life. Putting everything back where it belongs is the biggest time-saver at home.
It is very important that you find a place to store items you use on a daily basis and stick with it. Things like keys, shoes, bags, and backpacks should have a place where they go back after each use, so they can be found quickly and easily the next time they’re needed.
By habit, every single time I arrive home, I place my car keys inside the junk drawer, in the same compartment. If I leave and enter the house 8 times in a day, you bet I open and close the drawer 8 times. It’s a habit, I don’t think about, I just do it.
Along the same lines, I hang my handbag inside the coat closet, and my son hangs his backpack and place his school shoes inside the coat closet too. Each morning before heading out to school, accessing the keys, backpack, handbag, and shoes is a breeze. No one goes in
There are several reasons why we all should learn to find a place for everything, and put everything in its place. The main reason being that it simultaneously brings order to your home and your mind. But my favorite reason is this: I don’t need to think about it! I repeat the task over and over again until it becomes a habit.
On a busy night, when I come home with my hands full (enter: handbag, laptop, planner, groceries, sports gear, water bottle, and
I might not remember doing it, but you bet I will find my keys there next time I have to leave the house again.
We all have different routines, a different family size, and different schedules. However, we can all agree on one thing: we all need help saving time and effort on our unmovable daily to-dos.
If adopting these 10 daily habits all at once sounds a little overwhelming for you, choose only those that you can relate the most to. Maybe all 10 habits are not right for you, but I am sure that some of them can spark an idea on how to develop your own.
Apply them as I described them, or tweak them until they feel right for you and your needs!