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Helpful Habits and Routines
Old 07-24-2014, 11:20 AM   #1
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Helpful Habits and Routines

My friend, Hakuna Matata, is running an interesting thread about the effects of having habits and routines.

I would like to start a complimentary thread about habits and routines that people find helpful. Did you develop certain habits that make life easier? (AKA "life hacks.") Have you "set up" your daily doings so that everything flows smoothly? Do you clean the house in a certain way, on a certain schedule? Do you have a daily routine that keeps you healthy and helps those around you as well?

One tiny example: The moment the mail arrives, I grab a kitchen knife and open every envelope, unfurl and stack contents, and pile up the outer envelopes and inner payment envelopes for the recycling box (itself a recycled grocery store box). In less than 60 seconds, I have a neat stack of contents to look at later. Should there be a need for a particular envelope, the recycling box is handy.

This seems like a group of organized, critical thinkers and I'll bet we have a lot of useful habits to share.

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Old 07-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #2
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My daughter just moved out on her own and so I have thought about this subject a little bit. My goal was not for her to have happiness (that's my wife's job), my goal was to share things that I thought would reduce the likelyhood of misery, hehe.

I shared the same mail opening thing, except I added that you have your bank's billpay page open and you schedule payment right then.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:38 AM   #3
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I follow several routines thanks to Flylady.com's guidance.

Until my mid-30s I was a horrible housekeeper which was likely a rebellion against my mother's obsessive neat freak ways.

Anyway, my routines now include:
1. Dishes - I never go to bed without the dishes being done. They aren't necessarily put away from the drain board but there are no dirty dishes. This particular habit is considered a 'keystone' habit. If the dishes are done then it's easier to want to keep the rest of the space tidy.
2. Make the bed - as soon as I get up the bed gets made. The bed isn't perfect but the covers are pulled up, the pillows are in place and the throw pillows added. It's SO nice to get into a bed at night that's been made that morning. BTW, whoever gets out of bed last is responsible for making the bed. It took some doing to get DH to agree, but if he's up last he makes the bed.
3. Washing the sheets - I wash them religiously every Sunday and look forward to Sunday night with nice clean sheets.

Flylady had a lot of other routines that she advocates but those are the 3 that have stuck with me for almost 5 years now.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:39 AM   #4
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I drink a tall glass of water first thing every morning. Then things flow smoothly.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
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B/c I have to follow too many routines, policies and processes at megacorp, I have no routines at home. The routines which help me at megacorp (may not apply to RE) ...

- get easy things out of the way so that I can focus on important things
- write down AIs and revisit them to make sure I complete them. Send reminder e-mails to myself.
- don't get behind on reading e-mails. Delete e-mails which are "taken care of."

As you can see, my megacorp routines are all about getting things done. I wonder what type of routines I'd develop at RE (sleep until noon, watch TV until 2:00 am, ...).
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:53 AM   #6
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That FlyLady site reminds me a little of a modernized version of "how to be a good housewife (or husband)". Having said that, I admit I like keeping the sink and counter around it clear of dishes.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:57 AM   #7
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The only consistent routines I can think of are bike riding and weights at the gym.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someguy View Post
That FlyLady site reminds me a little of a modernized version of "how to be a good housewife (or husband)". Having said that, I admit I like keeping the sink and counter around it clear of dishes.

Trust me I'm not a good housewife :-)

But Flylady helped me keep the house straight enough that I can have people drop in unannounced without me being embarrassed.


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Old 07-24-2014, 12:11 PM   #9
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For me I find that going to the gym FIRST thing when I wake up is the only way I go consistently. I have tried other times of the day, and I can always talk myself out of it.

But first thing, I roll out of bed, get dressed and am halfway through my routine before I even wakeup! For me I find getting to the gym is the battle, once there I am good to go.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by hakuna matata View Post
For me I find that going to the gym FIRST thing when I wake up is the only way I go consistently. I have tried other times of the day, and I can always talk myself out of it.

But first thing, I roll out of bed, get dressed and am halfway through my routine before I even wakeup! For me I find getting to the gym is the battle, once there I am good to go.
Another early morning exerciser here. I don't go to the gym but either jog on my treadmill or outside based on the weather. If I waited until after work or even just a few hours later it would never get done. I have my clothes and shoes ready to go so I don't have to think about it.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:41 PM   #11
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I think most of my habits are just to make up for a poor memory.

My most useful habit is to have a self by the door to the garage where I can leave things I need to take with me, or leave a note. I always check it before I leave.

I have the usual SMTWTFS pill containers. I open the compartment for the current day so I can see the pills inside. Some are taken 1/2 hour after breakfast, some with dinner, some before bed (mostly just supplements, I'm in decent health). That way I don't have to know what day it is and it's easy to see if I've taken them or not.

And of course, seatbelts and locking doors are quite ingrained habits now. I try not to lock DW in the back yard when I go in, but often enough she hears the lock click and gives me that dirty look.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:29 PM   #12
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I like Lisa's shorter list--when I looked at the Flylady website, it just made me tired thinking about all that stuff! Especially the idea of mopping floors at 8am on Monday morning!
But I could probably adopt the clean dishes and making up the bed business pretty easily. And I already do all my laundry on Sundays, including sheets and towels.

Clutter is our biggest problem. DH is the one I blame for that, though, because everything he uses (tools, electronics, drinking glasses) is set down right where he was last using it. I didn't really realize how much that contributed to the mess until he went out of town a few weeks ago! The house is MUCH cleaner without him.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:33 PM   #13
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The instant my shower is over, before I even open the door, I spend <2 minutes squeegeeing the shower walls and interior doors and wiping the door tracks. Keeps the shower interior fresher and easier to clean.

I'm really into these "takes less than 2 minutes and zero brain power" helpful habits :-)

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Old 07-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #14
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Dental floss is your friend.

Every night after dinner, plus one spot after every meal.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
Trust me I'm not a good housewife :-)

But Flylady helped me keep the house straight enough that I can have people drop in unannounced without me being embarrassed.
Upon further reflection I like her overall goal of reducing clutter. I just blanch at some of her tactics for getting there. Things like putting on your lace-up shoes and your face and doing your hair first thing make me laugh. I know totally forgetting about those things are a major perk of vacation and a motivating force for DW and I as we work toward FI/RE.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:59 PM   #16
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The instant my shower is over, before I even open the door, I spend <2 minutes squeegeeing the shower walls and interior doors and wiping the door tracks. Keeps the shower interior fresher and easier to clean.
This!

I am big into "clean as you go." I try not to walk past something that needs to be picked up, wiped up, etc. Just do it and move on. Gets tedious sometimes, but then I have a clean house without having to spend a whole day playing "catch up". Slowly getting DW into these habits, too...

But the greatest part about my wife?

She doesn't need nor wear much makeup. She has rail-straight hair and we live in dry weather. She can make herself beautiful without much effort because she's just naturally so. Takes her five minutes to get ready for anything from a workout to date night, and saves money on makeup/personal care products.

Marrying a beautiful, low-maintenance woman: the ultimate life hack.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:06 PM   #17
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Read (non-fiction). All the time. The saying goes that you will be who you are in 5 years except for the books that you read and the people you hang out with.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:14 PM   #18
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I too am a FlyLady devotee. Drove my husband nuts at first, but he's learning to like it.

I also open and deal with the mail immediately. No piles of papers laying around.

I have a basket where I file bills and "pending" papers, with clothes pins with appropriate categories written on each. Bills, Medical (EOB's, flexible spending, travel & tickets, etc.) I clean it out on the 15th of every single month.

In addition to doing that on the 15th of each month, I also:
  • pay bills (most of which are auto debit from checking, but I need to register then in Quicken;
  • change the furnace filter
  • give the dogs their heartworm pills
I like routine. There's something comforting about it. I also like reading what everyone else does.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:31 PM   #19
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1. Have my housed cleaned once a month and I pickup in between house cleaner's visits. it's worth the $50.

2. Make my bed every day.

3. Get my lawn cut and trimmed once a week April - Jan, it's worth the $25.

4. Say my prayers every night.

These are a few things I routinely do.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:44 PM   #20
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I am not a well organized housekeeper, but I do clean the shower immediately after use.

I buy good food on sale. When I buy a loaf of bread, I divide it in four portions, three of which I put in Ziplok bags for freezing. The fourth portion goes in the fridge for daily use. As soon as only one slice is left, I take out one of the freezer mini loaves. I use the same routine for freezable vegetables, meat and fish.

I have registered with Canada Post as someone who wants no junk mail. The mail carrier has placed a sticker inside my mailbox. This has greatly reduced the volume of mail I receive. If you are trying to eat healthy, there is no value in receiving special offers for burgers and pizza! I also use Amethyst's mail opening technique. I try to look at each piece of mail just once. If it must be retained for my own information, I scan it and shred the original, unless a paper copy is required for some other purpose, in which case I file it. Some years ago I got horribly disorganized but my files have been much more organized since I bought two large filing cabinets and upgraded my filing system. Every year or so, I do a purge of outdated documents.

I have set up all regularly recurring bills electronically and I process payments immediately they arrive, postdating it to the due date, or to 1-2 days prior if the transfer involves two organizations.

Since ER I have collected receipts for all purchases. When I make a small cash purchase that doesn't come with a receipt, I write it on a Post it note. All these receipts are kept in a Ziplok bag in my desk. At the end of the month, I reconcile and categorize all my expenses using my customized spreadsheet, analyze the variance to budget for each category, and develop a spending plan for the coming months. Then I shred all the receipts unless they need to be retained in my Warranty file or Tax Deductible file.

When I visit the dentist or have a haircut, I make the next appointment and enter it into my electronic calendar immediately, with a reminder. I have also set up reminders for seasonal items, such as "Pay Income Tax Instalment" or "Put Winter/Summer Tires on Car".
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