(I get some great ideas while I'm doing housework, and carry a little notebook to pause and write them down...and that's one of the ways and reasons I get lost.)
So, how do I combat the whole "wait, what the fuck was I doing?"
Checklists. I have checklists. So many checklists. I have every day checklists (it's on the fridge, because it's mainly the "before I can even get started on my coffee" tasks). I have day of the week checklists. There's a whiteboard calendar on my fridge where I keep the weekly tasks noted, and the approaching appointments written.
My checklists are exactly that: a list of tasks typed up with a space to check them off, printed, and slid into a page protector. I use a dry erase marker to check off finished tasks.
What's on my checklists? I'm glad you asked! Because the things on my lists? Are the things that I'm trying to build into a routine. Into habit. Into something I do automatically enough that I don't have to think about it.
"Things like what?" you may ask.
Everything. I have everything on a checklist. From "make sure the kids have their breakfasts" to "make sure the kids have their lunches" to "make sure your other half has his lunch" to "make the kids follow their checklists.*" And all of that goes before coffee.
Some of it has made its way into habit (specifically, the making breakfast for the imp, who still won't make his own). But there's a lot that hasn't. Not even in doing the same thing every morning for decades.
My morning checklist ends with "get the kids to school."
Day of the week checklists involve straightening up a single room: the bathrooms; the entry hall, hallways, and the walk way into the kitchen; the kitchen, pantry, and utility rooms; the living room; the dining room and craft areas; the TV area; the bedrooms. Then, there's a week-of-the-month deep cleaning for each of those areas (thank you FlyLady!).
One thing I've managed to turn into a habit? Checking my checklist. It actually was one of the hardest things to turn into a habit (it feels overwhelming, sometimes). But it has kept me going, without forgetting too much.
Wait, where was I going again? Oh yeah, building routines.
How do checklists build routines? Easy: they help you not to get lost in your attempts to create habits of your day-to-day, every day chores. Eventually (maybe?), you won't even have to look at your checklist while you're moving through the chores--just remember to skim through it before you move on to make sure there's nothing you missed before you celebrate. Or you'll end up with the cat so disgusted by the litterbox (that you've forgotten for weeks) that she's peeing on anything fabric left on the floor...and sometimes, fabric that she's pulled onto the floor to cover up a puddle.
Seriously. Make yourself a checklist (or more than one). And use it.
*The kids' checklists start with get dressed. Goes through assemble and eat breakfast. Take your morning meds--focus pills for one, allergy pills and vitamins for the other. Feed your pets. Wash hair, brush teeth, wash face, PUT ON DEODORANT!!! Get your stuff ready to get out the door. Are you wearing shoes?