“When I wake up with my children, I am immediately “on.” If you don’t have kids, imagine this for a moment: your boss awakens you in the morning, first thing, and dumps your workload in your lap before you’ve showered, had coffee, and gone through whatever rituals you do to wake up.” –Carrie Willard
This simple quote, from The How and Wow of Habits, was the small pebble that was dropped into the seemingly calm river of my life (which was actually a wild rapids under the surface) and set of a ripple effect that has, in many ways, changed my life.
I’ve always been a fan of routines. My kids were each carefully settled into one shortly after birth that lasted through their entire first year. They now have morning routines and bedtime routines and, because of the daycare, we even have a very set schedule for our days. They are happy, peaceful, always know what to expect and, most importantly, what is expected of them. It helps bring a calm to our days that I wouldn’t want to live without.
In the past, the missing piece has been me. Other than the parts of my day dictated by keeping the kids’ routines in place, I’ve been pretty much all over the place. I have some routines, I guess. I always put my makeup on in the same exact order (foundation, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara), I clean things in the same order and even shower the same way every time… TMI?
As far as a big picture general routine for my day…well, that would be a big fat fail. I’ve always just flown through my days hoping I accomplish everything I set out to do but knowing that I’m missing things constantly. Bible reading is overlooked, chores are forgotten, and forget about exercise.
I knew there had to be a better way. I started looking and learned what I guess I expected all along; there are so many benefits of keeping basic routines or daily rhythms in place to guide your days.
As one of my favorite bloggers always says, “How you spend your minutes is how you end up spending your life.” -Allie Casazza
Crystal from moneysavingmom.com, Allie from alliecasazza.com, and Hal Elrod author of The Miracle Morning all share extensively about the importance of beginning your days with a basic, productive routine or rhythm.
Sidenote: I encourage you to take some time to read into a few of those authors a bit, I follow them regularly and I have always felt that the time I invested was well spent.
Three years ago, I started working on my mornings. I knew I needed to take baby steps and figured the best place to begin was at the beginning of my day.
Because this was well before I had even heard of the authors listed above, I started with setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier than I had been. This gave me 30 minutes before my kids were awake or the first daycare child arrived for the day at 0700. Just to sit. Alone. And enjoy the peace of the morning.
As wonderful as it was, I quickly learned that there are far better uses for that time. Now, I’m not talking about tackling some huge project, though I’m slowly working in that direction. I’m thinking more along the lines of reading my bible before I check my email [or scan my Facebook newsfeed]. Just get your body up and moving a little earlier than normal and spend the time productively.
I started small with just making sure I spent some quiet moments with God before my day started, the rest of the time remained mine.
This January I turned this thing on its head. I have made several huge changes, one of which has me up and ready 90 minutes before I need to do anything for anyone else. Every second of that time is packed full of praying, reading, writing, planning, speaking affirmations over myself, and listing action steps to accomplish goals. I spend that time investing in me!
I can honestly say, at a little over halfway through this year, I have made more positive changes in my life than ever before.
All because I decided to set my alarm a little earlier than I had been and kept my phone in another room on silent, while I invest in myself.
Yeah, that’s the other part. You have to call that ‘great tool’ what it is, a giant distraction! Give it a place and leave it there; for me that’s on the kitchen counter, screen down, on silent (most of the time).
- Train yourself not to pick it up constantly. Yes it will take time, do it anyway.
- Turn all those pesky notifications off.
- Let it die and don’t charge it.
Whatever it takes, put it down and don’t pick it up!
Your people are in front of your face! Please choose to connect with them instead of that friend from high school, who lives across the country, and is probably just trying to sell you overpriced leggings.
Not sure where to start?
Here’s my morning…
- Up at 5:45 get ready for day and downstairs by 6am (I shower at night)
- Pour cup of coffee (I set mine to auto brew every morning. Best. Thing. Ever.)
- Sit in my comfy spot and begin quiet time by 6:05 (daily devotion, bible reading, prayer journal)
- Sometime between 6:45 and 7 am I switch to my bullet journal which is where I plan out my day, make my task list, read over affirmations I have written for myself and set actions steps for my goals.
- I will at some point journal for a bit and then spend the rest of my time reading/reflecting until 7:30.
Yes, there is a lot there. I promise it didn’t start that way. Once I got a taste of it, I guess it just snowballed. My morning routine is my absolute favorite time of day, getting out of bed isn’t even difficult anymore because I know I have so much time built in before I have to meet the needs of others.
Wake up a little early tomorrow and invest in you. You will be shocked how spending some time on yourself fills you up so you can turn around and invest in your husband and your kids.
Give it a try, I promise, you won’t regret it!