I hate mornings. Seriously, you won’t find anyone who is less of a morning person than I am.
I was that person in college who considered a successfully planned semester to be one where not a single class on my schedule began before 11 am.
I’m that “set-my-alarm-an-hour-early-so-I-can-push-snooze-50-times” person.
And even now, with three kids ranging from age 4 to 6 months, I consider the days when no one wakes up before 8am to be my life’s greatest achievement.
So why am I writing about making over your morning routine?
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Well, it’s certainly NOT because I just love the sunny bright possibilities that each new day brings. But it’s actually because I’m such a notorious grump in the morning that I decided to try to make a change.
Because like it or not, the way your morning begins actually does have a big impact on the rest of your day and sets the tone for it.
And I bet you can imagine the kind of tone my days have when they start off with me being yanked from sleep by my oldest daughter bouncing into my room, flicking on the lights, and talking in her loudest “I-swear-it-could-shatter-glass” voice at 7 am. (Thereby waking up the baby who starts screaming and wakes up the toddler…. It’s a whole thing.)
So if you’re reading this article expecting to hear about how I am now suddenly waking up every morning embracing the rainbows and butterflies as I meditate and exercise, spoiler alert, that isn’t coming (no offense if meditation and exercise are your thing- it’s just that NOTHING is my thing early in the morning.)
But, I have found that creating some sort of morning routine that doesn’t begin with screaming babies and shrill-voiced toddlers really does make a positive impact on the rest of the day.
Mornings are your best shot at uninterrupted focus time
As a biz mom with an extremely small window of uninterrupted work time throughout the day, I’ve found that like it or not, mornings, before my kids wake up, are my only shot at focused work time.
So begrudgingly, I’ve started making over my mornings, and as much as it pains me to admit, waking up early does seem to be the key to getting anything done while juggling running a business with the chaos of #momlife. And that, of course, means I have to share my secrets with you, too!
I’m a night-owl by nature, so I prefer to work on business tasks at night after my kids go to sleep. But, after I had my third baby, I had to change things up because she hates going to sleep at night until well after my productive brain shuts off.
Before she was born, I would have told you to ignore everyone talking about waking up early and just lean into your natural tendencies to find your most productive time of day. However, part two of that advice was to also find your uninterrupted time of day.
When those two times don’t line up, you need to make a choice. So if you find yourself at a similar crossroads, this article is for you.
Why You Need A Morning Routine
If you saw yourself in any part of my story above, you already know exactly what I’m talking about. But I realize that I’m also a more extreme morning-hater, so you may not have been able to relate to my early morning woes. But I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced something similar.
Let’s use the (dreaded/beloved) snooze button as an example. You set an early alarm to make sure you have time to get stuff done before your kids wake up. It could be business-related, exercise, meditation, or simply some much-needed “me time”.
You have every intention of getting up and doing whatever you’re setting out to do when you set the alarm in the first place. And some mornings, it all works out just fine. You get up when the alarm chimes and go for that walk, do your meditation exercise, or read a book for twenty minutes. #winning
Then, there are those days when you just can’t make yourself get up. You hit the snooze button multiple times, or turn the alarm off altogether and go back to sleep.
Think about how the rest of those days went. Did you notice a difference in how you felt? How much did you get done in the mornings when you got up with your first alarm? Were you able to do all the things you set out to do? How did those days compare to the ones when you hit the snooze button over and over again?
If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the mornings when you got up as soon as the alarm went off went a lot smoother. I bet you accomplished what you have planned to do. And probably snapped a lot less at your kids before you made your morning coffee.
Chances are that the days when you slept through the snooze button didn’t just affect your morning, but the entire rest of your day.
And if the entire reason you’re creating a morning routine is to get more done, you also need a routine to make sure you don’t wake up and just waste time doing unimportant tasks that don’t move the needle at all. But we’ll talk more about that later.
How You Start Your Day Sets The Tone For The Whole Day
So by now, I think we can all agree that you set the tone for how your day is going to go first thing in the morning. (You know, it’s basically the whole premise behind the expression about getting up on the wrong side of the bed.)
And so, whether you identify as an early-bird, a night-owl, or a perpetually exhausted pigeon, having a morning routine really will start your day off in a positive and productive way- even if you hate mornings.
In order to create your morning routine, you need to spend some time thinking about it and planning it. But that doesn’t mean it will be set in stone #momlife. Just take a few minutes to think about the following things to create a loose structure for your morning.
Define Your Perfect Morning
I’ve already told you that for me, a perfect morning is one where we just skip the whole morning part entirely. But as a busy mom of 3, that’s (unfortunately) not a viable option. So instead, I took some time to reflect on why I don’t like mornings so much and really it’s because they always feel rushed and stressful to me.
But this isn’t just about me, I’m here to help you have better mornings, too.
So here are some things to think about when creating your morning routine:
- What’s most important to you?
- What’s the one thing you really want to do on a daily basis that would make a big difference, but you just can’t seem to find the time for?
In short, what good habits do you want to cultivate that would make a real impact on your life? Think about this for a moment. It could be in any area of your life from exercise and healthy eating to self-improvement or getting ahead in business by having some uninterrupted work time. It could be working on your relationship with your kids, finding time for creative pursuits, or getting in the habit of reading every morning.
Here’s what your perfect morning could look like:
- It isn’t stressed or rushed.
- It’s a day when you have time for everything on your list.
- Maybe it means having time for a long shower.
- Maybe it’s going for a run before breakfast.
- Maybe it’s having a few minutes to connect with your spouse over coffee
- Maybe it’s carving out an hour first thing in the morning to work on your business.
That’s a lot of “maybes,” but the key is to start with what’s most important to you and think about how you could fit it into your morning routine.
If you’re not sure where to start, try this: what’s the one thing you spend most of the day trying to figure out how to fit in but you never actually get it done? For me, that’s working on my business. The days that I don’t get up and work before the kids wake up are the days I grumpily stomp around from task to task waiting to “find time” to work on my latest project.
And as you may expect, it doesn’t ever go well… but, I digress.
Remember, you’re just dreaming and imagining at this point. We’ll work on figuring out where to find the time to fit it in and how to make it all work out later on. For now, I simply want you to paint a vivid picture of what your new morning could look like. And be sure to write it down somewhere- don’t just keep it all floating around in your head, begging to be forgotten with the next interruption.
Why is this so important? Because you can’t start to make any meaningful changes until you know what your goals are. You can’t get to a destination if you have no idea where it even is that you’re trying to go.
So go ahead and complete that step- then head on over to the next post in this series where we’ll talk about the two ways to make more time for your business in your busy morning.