5 Ways to Manage Your Mornings
Today we are going to talk about how we manage our mornings. We wrote a weekend recap which led people to inquire about our weekday routines. I can understand this - it's during the week where the rubber meets the road. The mornings are where the most happens in our lives. Once 8 am hits, the majority of our family are out the door or on our way out the door. Then it is work, work, work until I return home at 5:15 (John gets home between 6:15 and 7:00).
Here are the 5 ways to manage your mornings:
Wake Up Early - John is up at 4 am and my first alarm goes off at 4:40 am (second alarm at 4:50 am). There is much scientific research on getting up early. I won't be redundant but I will tell you waking early has been the biggest game changer in my productivity and happiness. There was a time in my life when this was just not possible. Always an early riser, this came to a halt when I had Little A. Between her frequent nightly wake ups and what I suspect was some post partum blues, I could not get out of bed at all. It took everything in my power to will myself out of bed by 6:30. When I changed this behavior, everything changed for me. My point isn't everyone should get up in the 4 o'clock hour. My point is do what you can given the circumstances you are living with. Rising earlier than my children has given me much needed "me time" and sanity.
Do something for you - Before we start our day, we take time for ourselves. Even on the days I am not getting my sweat on, I rise early. I read, write, meditate, stretch, and sip my hot cup of coffee in peace and quiet. By taking care of me first, I can now take care of everyone else. Just 20 minutes can make a huge difference in your on-going productivity throughout the day.
Less is More - Streamline your morning routine. This isn't about getting a lot done the night before. That helps but I mean take a hard look at your priorities and what you put on your plate each morning. Do you really NEED to do those things or do you want to do them? Sometimes we are only able to get to our needs and the wants have to wait for another day.
Avoid social media and email. My first inclination is to see what has happened on Twitter or Facebook the second I wake up. About a month ago I changed that behavior because I realized how it distracted me from my morning priorities. I wake up early to have time for me not social media.
Assign Roles and Responsibilities. I use a "checklist system" to delegate and clearly define roles and responsibilities. Aside from getting up early, this is the most critical step in how we manage our mornings. Teamwork is key to our productivity. The A Team are expected to wake up, get dressed, brush teeth (and hair), make their own breakfast, locate the items they need for the day (including snack), double check backpacks, and have everything by the door ready to go. Oh, and we expect them to do it with a good attitude! Of course there are days when they wake up grumpy or need a lot of reminders, we all have days like that. For the most part, they are a tremendous help and they take a lot of pride in being self-sufficient. Remember, Life is a Team Sport!
One last thing to note, by the time I get to Monday morning all my weekly prep has been done. Sunday is spent Getting Organized for the Week. Being able to "set it and forget it" is a huge time saver and productivity boost.
Everyone's life differs. For us, our mornings are key to our productivity. Maybe for you it is the afternoon or evening. You can still apply a number of the tips here to maximize your most productive time of day. If your current schedule isn't working for you, don't be afraid to try something different. Maybe getting up a half hour earlier is all you need or maybe you need to assign roles and responsibilities more consistently.
Here is a 5 Ways to Manage Your Mornings PDF of the image above in case you want to print it out. If you do, let us know how it works. We are trying to expand the resources we provide and would love your feedback.