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Make your morning routine better with this somewhat simple three-step process.
I am not a morning person.
I actually loved the rhythm of working nights, because I could wake up whenever I wanted, do my own thing for a few hours, go to work when everyone else was thinking about leaving, and work through the evening and early night before going to bed late.
I don’t know if I could handle going to bed late these days, because I do love my sleep, but it was good when I was young.
Now I will admit to being extremely lucky in that I work from home so I don’t have to start work at a specific time (and most of my colleagues are on the west coast, which makes time work that much more in my favor in the mornings), but I do have a school-aged kid who has to be somewhere on time, so that plays a key role in how our morning schedule works.
I’m a huge believer in routine, for her as well as for me. Doing the same thing in the same way at the same time every day makes it easier because it’s automatic. Routine in the best possible way.
I know you’re probably thinking you can’t possibly squeeze more into your mornings, and maybe you shouldn’t, but I’d wager you could make your mornings a little better by looking at what you’re doing and why and what you’d rather be doing instead (though, alas, staying in bed is not an option).
I have a three-step plan for making over your mornings so that you can start your day meeting your goals and in a happier place than you do most mornings. Let’s give it a try.
1. What Do You Want from Your Morning Routine?
Here is your chance to dream big. Well, there does need to be a bit of reality in there, because it’s not like your kids are going to leave you alone so you can have a bubble bath every morning (unless you want to wake up early enough to do that…) but spend some time thinking both about what you need to get done and what you want to get done in the morning.
- everyone awake
- everyone dressed
- everyone fed
- lunches/homework/paperwork made/finished/collected
- get to school on time
- get to work on time
- work out
- morning pages
- snuggle time (still an essential in our house)
- a little time to make/be creative
- time to work on a passion project
Obviously not all of these things are going to happen in the morning (and not all of these things are on my or your list) but it’s good to start with an idea of what your ideal would look like and go from there.
2. Getting Realistic/Editing/Delegating
Here is where your plan really comes together. You know what you need and what you want to get done, so how can you fit more of it in?
Maybe there are some things that don’t really need to be done, or don’t need to be done in the morning. Maybe the kids need to be responsible for their own lunches and backpacks, and they need to prep them at night along with picking out school clothes (and knowing where their shoes are; wouldn’t that be a huge time saver?).
Maybe you can prep breakfast ahead or at least have the table set the night before. Maybe your partner or your kids can make breakfast. (Husband makes the coffee and breakfast most days, and that time allows me to fit in morning snuggles and morning pages, which is amazing.)
And maybe you can’t edit and delegate your way to having enough time to do it all, even with evening showers and pre-prepared lunches.
Then you have to get really serious.
You either have to take things off your morning list to be done later in the day (maybe you read a book at lunch instead of scrolling Instagram) or decide that thing is important enough for you to do in the morning that you want to wake up earlier to be able to do it.
This is where I’m super lucky to work from home, because my morning routine can stretch almost all morning long (seriously, it’s four hours) to include taking the kid to school, running errands, doing chores and working out (it’s ok to be jealous). But if you have to be somewhere in the morning and don’t have that luxury, you will have to make tough choices.
A key thing for me is not feeling rushed in the mornings, feeling like I have time for all the things I want to do, and if waking up earlier were necessary to do it, even I, devoted lover of sleep, would be willing to get up earlier.
3. Be Patient and Re-evaluate as Needed
With time and practice you’ll not only refine your own morning routine but that of your other household members so that all your mornings will run smoother, you’ll get more done and start the day on a more positive note.
Indeed, my daughter is so into her morning routine (snuggles, followed by bed making, having breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, brushing hair, getting stuff together for school) that the other morning when she woke up late she was in tears because she didn’t think she had time to get it all done.
She did actually have time, she just didn’t have as much downtime for reading as she’s used to. But that’s still a good lesson: not every day is going to be perfect, maybe most of them aren’t.
But taking the time to understand what you really want out of your morning routine makes it that much easier to work toward that goal so that one day you might actually start to look forward to mornings.