One day early last week, I looked at my schedule. This day in particular was going to be tough to pull off. Without realizing it, I needed to be in four different cities at once – Furniture was being delivered to Loblolly Manor some two and a half hours away. I needed to restock the booth, which was an hour away. I needed to find new pieces of furniture to paint and my treasure hunting grounds were an hour in the opposite direction. If that wasn’t enough, I was set to pick out paint samples with a client. It was all totally unrealistic.
I used to think the busyness of life was just seasonal. You know? Like when you’re invited to 3 different holiday parties on the same weekend. Yet if the past few months have taught me anything about my schedule it’s this: this is my new normal. One thing that’s helped me stay sane during this crazy time of building a small business while still maintaining a blog and an active family life is the importance of a morning routine.
I’ll freely admit I’m a morning person. I treasure the quietness of the house before everyone wakes up. I love breakfast. It’s totally my jam. I like to sit with my thoughts, a cup of coffee and ready myself for the day with a daily devotional. I can tell a huge difference in my level of productivity on the days when I’ve been intentional about my morning routine and the days I’ve tried to just “wing it.”
The beauty of a morning routine is that it’s totally customizable. It can be as long or as short as you want it to be. It can be detailed or flexible. But there’s one key to a lasting and successful morning routine: You have to be consistent
Here are a few tips that have helped me stay on track:
- Write down your morning routine – you can keep your morning routine in a journal or on the refrigerator. Keep it where you can see it so you’ll be able to move from one task to the next without getting distracted until it becomes a habit. For example, I wake up, make the bed and take care of my pets. Then hit the treadmill where I’ll listen to motivational music or podcasts related to my business goals. Next I’ll shower, dress and eat a healthy breakfast. After breakfast I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit on the back porch swing with my journal, daily devotional and daily schedule. Next, I quickly glance through emails to see if there is anything pressing that requires my immediate attention. I post to social media and check to make sure my blog post is live. Lastly, I take care of my chores/cleaning schedule and set about the rest of my day. This is an example of my schedule. Cater your morning routine to one that meets the needs of your family.
- Prepare the night before – I don’t feel like looking for my workout clothes at 5 am and I pretty sure you don’t want to search for yours either. Lay out your clothes, shoes and gym accessories the night before. That way, you can hop out of your pajamas and into your workout clothes before you have time to talk yourself out of working out. If you have a delay brew setting on your coffee you can even make your coffee the night before so you aren’t bleary eyed fumbling for the coffee scoop. It’s equally as important to practice good sleep hygiene habits, which I know can be tough. Solid preparation the night before will lead to a more manageable morning.
- Take advantage of the quiet time – Most likely your chance for quiet time will come while the rest of the house is sleeping. This means you’ll have to wake up earlier than your family. If your kids wake up at 630 am try waking up at 5 am or 530 am depending on how much you want/need to accomplish. The extra time will feel like a gift when not only your morning runs smoothly but your kids have a smooth morning as well.
- Review your daily goals – Keep a list of priorities you want to tackle week and then break those goals down into achievable tasks each day. It can be anything from “write proposal” to “pick up eggs at the market.” Reviewing you daily goals will keep your mind set in a proactive mode as opposed to reactive mode. It will also help build confidence when you see how much progress you’re making each day/week.
- Keep an attitude of gratitude – Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It can be so hard not to compare yourself with others. I totally get it. In a Pinterest driven world it can sometimes seem like we’re “not enough” but that simply isn’t true. We were all created with a unique set of gifts and specific purpose on the planet. Use those gifts on a daily basis. Repeat after me – I am totally awesome!
Inevitably there will be things that come up that you can’t control. Things like your dog gets sick on your way out the front door, your kid has a last minute field trip slip that needs to be signed as they’re getting out of the carpool line, your spouse spills coffee all over the rug or your work called during the middle of the night with a problem and you couldn’t go back to sleep. When things like this happen, give yourself grace.
Creating a morning routine will allow you to live with intention. Each day you’ll be one step closer to accomplishing your goals and dreams.