I have to preface this post by saying that I totally recognize that most people are not “morning” people. In fact, I believe that we are all wired different and some of us have a circadian rhythm that helps us better perform and be more productive in the evening hours instead of the morning hours. If that is you, then go on with your night owl tendencies!
I started a morning routine in early 2017 once my second child started sleeping consistently through the night and we were out of that season of middle of the night wakings. If you’re in that season, I salute you. It is hard and tiring. Thankfully that season does not last forever.
Why start a morning routine?
Prior to a morning routine, I found myself waking up with the kids and my husband and frustrated with trying to get myself a cup of coffee and get myself ready while wrangling two hungry kids. I was short fused, impatient with them, and I also found that I was spending much of the day trying to figure out when I would get certain tasks done. If they didn’t take a decent nap, when would I get my work done? When would I get time for me? It stressed me out.
I work from home (my kids are 4 and now 2 years old), thankfully I set my schedule and determine how much I will work, but there are certain tasks that need to get done. Waking up before my kids enables me to check a few things off my list and have quiet time and personal space.
Ease into the routine
I was very encouraged by a podcast with Kat Lee on creating a morning routine, which she has since published an awesome book called Hello Mornings. She even wrote an e-book on how to get the most out of your mornings. Click here to go to her website.
I knew of people that woke hours before their kids did, and I thought that was just plain crazy. I knew I’d have to ease into this kind of routine. It wasn’t going to happen overnight. And I knew I’d slip up, press snooze, and sleep in, and that was okay.
Set yourself up for success
- Start your routine the night before. If you’re a coffee drinker, consider setting your coffee maker to go off a few minutes before you need to wake up. The ritual of a warm cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea to look forward to in the morning, one that I don’t have to drink in a hurry or with a small child on my lap is motivating to me to get out of bed early.
- Make your list the night before. What do you want to accomplish in the morning? Manage expectations with this and start small. Do you want to read a book? Start a load of laundry? Unload the dishwasher? Write a blog post? Write down a few easy tasks that you plan to get done in the morning. I tend to want to “eat the elephant” and check off tasks that are difficult for me to get done during the day, or tasks that I don’t enjoy doing.
- Start small. Consider setting your alarm a half hour earlier than you normally wake up. Do this for a few days. On these days you won’t accomplish a lot, the goal is that you get up and start your day. If you’re groggy in the morning, brush your teeth and wash your face to wake you up. I like to put on some peppermint oil or throw some peppermint in my diffuser with a citrus oil to help wake me up in the morning.
- Gradually wake up earlier. I started out by waking 30 minutes before my kids for a week or two, then worked up to an hour, and now I’m up sometimes 2 hours before my kids are in the morning.
- Get to bed earlier. If your goal is to wake an hour or so earlier than you were prior, you’ll need to make up that sleep. I set my phone to “night” mode by 8:30 pm which dims the blue light on the screen. I try to put my phone on airplane mode by 9:30 pm and have a goal to be in bed by 10/10:30 pm. I realize that some people require 8 hours of sleep, if you’re in that camp you might need to be in bed earlier than 10. I need about 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep to function well.
What does my routine look like?
I set my alarm at 5:30 am most mornings. My goal is to be out of bed by 5:45 am. The first half hour of the day is spent drinking my coffee, sitting by my diffuser in my living room with a good book or devotional. I also try to journal multiple times a week. It helps me process through things and I love to look back later on and see how God has provided and come through in my journaling.
After that I’ll spend 45 minutes or so setting up work things for the day. If I have to mail anything to my team, I’ll often get that started in the morning (make rollers, print postage), write social media posts for the day, respond to messages on social media/emails and I make my to do list for the day.
I try to close down my computer and unplug from my morning routine a little before 7:30 and I’ll start breakfast. My husband usually gets the kids up between 7 and 7:30 am (thankfully they sleep in relatively late) and lets them watch a show in bed with him. I’ll then work my way upstairs a little before 8 am, get dressed with the kids and start the day with them.
I think it’s important to recognize that a successful morning routine doesn’t have to look like 2 full hours of quiet time. It can be as short as 20 minutes of quiet time before your house wakes up. Even 10 minutes can make a difference. Start slow and see how it goes. You might be surprised!
Do you do a morning routine? What works for you?