Mornings are busy and they can be quiet hectic. If you have a young family and plenty of people to get ready and out the door, you know this first hand. I see you. I feel you. I get you.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way, no matter how busy you think you are first thing in the day. Earlier I shared with you how the first few hours in the morning set the tone for the entire rest of the day.
Do you want that to be rushed, frantic, and feeling like you’re constantly running and trying to catch up? Or do you want it to be calm, collected, productive, and with a feeling that you’re in control? It’s up to you and it’s all about embracing two simple concepts.
We've defined your vision and I know at this point you're wondering how it could even be possible. It's not a pipe dream! We're going to work today on finding that time that you need to create your perfect morning so you have space in your life for these new tasks that will change your day.
This blog post is part of an email challenge called "Morning Makeover: The Smarter Way". You can read other posts from this series here:
Get Up Early Enough
It’s tempting to hit the snooze button and catch a few more minutes of sleep, isn’t it? It’s even hard to set the alarm early enough that you have plenty of time for everything you want and need to get done.
I get it. I used to hit the snooze button at least five times. I would set my alarm a bit earlier than I needed to just so I could hit the button. I'm not proud of it, but there's it is.
If you’re not a morning person, moving up the alarm by 30 minutes to carve out a little extra time can be tough. Trust me though, after the first few mornings it’s not nearly as hard as you think and something you’ll quickly get used to.
My suggestion is to do it over the course of three days. Each day move it back ten minutes. You've got this! If I can do it, so can you!
Getting up early enough and avoiding the snooze button at all costs is the key to an calm morning. Here’s the problem with cutting time too short, or worse hitting the snooze button a few times. It gets you behind first thing in the morning.
You have to rush to make it out the door in time and any little problem or speed bump along the way turns into a huge problem. Not being able to find the car keys is suddenly a major crisis because it could cause you to be late for work and the kids to be late for school.
Do you really want that judgemental look you get at drop off? Or worse yet, as you run back to the car and you realize your shoes don't match? Not like that's happened to me or anything...
Remember, your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you start it in chaos, that’s likely how you’ll spend the rest of your day, always trying to play catch up and find that sense of calm.
Kids not cooperating? Well there goes your day! Dog refuses to go outside before you leave? You need to pick between being late or coming home to dog poop on the floor.
For what it's worth, my dog has refused to go outside, refused to get in the car when I've needed her to, and refused to eat. Most of this happens on days when I'm bringing her to doggie daycare (it's a legit thing!) and it happened the most when I was 8 months pregnant and couldn't lift all 70 pounds of her.
So it's not just the kids that can make you late! Although, sometimes I think my dog and kid are in cahoots with each other to see who can do more damage to make Mommy late...
We can't control everything, but getting up early enough on the other hand puts you ahead of the game. You’re in control, or as much control as you can be in.
You can take care of everything that needs doing in a calm manner and still have time for the important things you want to work on. In short, getting up early enough sets you up for an amazing, productive day.
For me, I now give myself an extra ten minutes days that I need to do a drop off. If we have a smooth morning, then I have extra time to sit in the car after drop off alone. Ah, the bliss of being alone...
Restructure your routine
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Before we wrap this up, spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine and where you’re spending time. Look for things you can change and tweak to find more time for the things you really want to do.
It's not just about not being rushed. It's about being able to start the day how YOU want instead of how life decides for you that particular day.
For example, if you want an extra 20 minutes in the morning to meditate, look at what you could take care ahead of time, eliminate, or delegate to make that time.
If you spend a lot of time getting breakfast for everyone, get in the habit of setting the breakfast table the night before. Do you drink coffee or tea in the morning? Could you get a coffee maker that turns on automatically?
Teach the kids to make their own breakfast and take the dirty dishes to the sink, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. Make sure clothes are set out the night before (including yours), and that diaper bags, purses, briefcases, and car keys have a designated spot and that there where they need to be before you turn in for the night.
We have a designated area in our kitchen near the door. Before I go to bed at night I do a quick sweep to make sure everything is there.
Car keys are in the basket, daycare and work bags are packed on the floor, and shoes are laid out. Plus if there's something I can not forget, I put it in my shoe. Yeah, I went there.
Small changes like this to your morning routine can make a big difference. I don't run around in the morning looking for everything anymore. It's the world's most amazing feeling! I challenge you to come up with a few small tweaks that will save you at least 30 minutes in the morning.
If you're still stuck, think about things that usually make you late in the mornings. Let's say you always lose your car keys. Do you always leave out of the same door? Add a basket or a key hook where you can put your keys right when you walk in. Then when you're leaving they are in a set place.
Do you get stuck with lunches? Find ways to pre-make some parts of lunch. If you can't make a sandwich (because it could get soggy) could you leave out the bread and put everything you need together the night before? Small actions like that can add up and make a huge difference.
When thinking about these things, remember to keep in mind what you already do. For example, in our family we like to dump keys places. So key hooks for us didn't go over well.
We use a basket because we can dump the keys in there without altering our routine too much. Small change, BIG difference.
Let's go back to your journal. Write down all the areas that you struggle with or all the things that can make you late. Write the problem on one side of your paper, and add some solutions to try on the other. You may not get it all right on the first try, but it's a work in progress you can adjust as needed.
Once you identify problems that you face every morning, and come up with solutions, start working them into your morning.
Try not to change everything at once. While tempting, if something isn't working it's hard to know what that something is if everything is different.
Instead, change one thing at a time and live with it for a few days. If it doesn't work, you know exactly what the problem is and you can try something else.
Comment below if you get stuck and see if we can help each other find new and better solutions!