How To Build A Routine When You Don’t Have A Set Schedule

Want to build a routine but don't have a set schedule? You can totally create a morning routine or night routine, even with a different schedule every day. Read on for tips!
What day is it even? How is it almost the weekend again??!
If you’ve ever uttered these words, I see you and I get it. Developing healthy routines is challenging in the best of times – it can feel damn-near impossible when you don’t have a set schedule.

If you work a swing shift, have kids with challenging sleep schedules, or just work a job with a varied schedule, this post is for you. If you want to create a morning routine, night routine – really ANY kind of routine – these tips will help you do that, regardless of your schedule. 

How to develop routines when you don’t have a set schedule


⚓ Anchor your routine to your ‘daily constants’ (even if you do them at different times)

When I was an ESL teacher in Taiwan, my schedule changed every week – sometimes I worked till 9 pm, sometimes I finished at noon. But every single day, I went to sleep, ate food, put my contacts in, etc. And I bet the same is true for you!

Even if you work the swing shift or your schedule changes from week to week, there are some constants in your day-to-day life.

For most of us, those constants are:

  • waking up + going to bed
  • eating
  • brushing our teeth, washing our faces, etc.
  • getting to and from work 

Once you identify these daily constants, you can tie your routine to them! You can drink warm lemon water and stretch when you wake up, even if some days you wake up at 6 am and some days you wake up at 9 pm for the night shift.

RELATED: How To Become A Morning Person (Or At Least Fake It) 

☝️ Build a routine one piece at a time

If you’ve ever tried to change everything in your life, all at once – yoga every morning! no screens after 7 pm! journaling every night! – you know that ish doesn’t work. Humans have a limited amount of self-control and decision-making that we can exert in a given day and trying to build a 17-part routine from nothing is a recipe for disaster. Click To Tweet

Instead, choose ONE thing you’d like to anchor to a daily constant and start there. After a month or two of doing that consistently, add one more thing.


  • Stretch for five minutes after you get up
  • Drink a glass of water before you eat a meal
  • Think about 5 things you’re grateful for while you brush your teeth
  • Listen to your Spanish-learning course while you commute to work

? Create accountability + get support

According to The American Society of Training and Development, we’re 65% more likely to achieve a goal – like creating a routine! – when we have accountability.

Accountability and support look different for everyone – what works depends on your personality, your learning style, and the demands on your time.

A few ideas for creating accountability + getting support:

  • Educate yourself about the things you want to add to your routine – meditation, hydration, yoga, etc. Understanding a topic more deeply can help you commit.
  • Set alarms on your phone to check in with yourself. Every day at 3 pm your phone can ask you “Did you journal today?”
  • If you share a living space with someone, ask them to hold you accountable
  • Join a community – either online or offline – of people who are committed to similar goals. My free Money & Happy Facebook group might be a good place to start!

What do you think, my non-set-schedule friends? Do you feel better prepared to start developing a routine that supports you? If your new routine included more happiness or better spending, join us over in the Money & Happy Facebook group. We’d love to have you!

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

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1 Comment

  1. Vova

    I can totally relate to this. The covid has made me a little less active. No early morning wake up job. Thanks to my treadmill.

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