Confession time. I have never been a morning person, until recently.
I realized that if I want to get stuff done in life, I need to get up before the rest of the world. But it’s still not easy to get going.
I really believe having a morning routine is one of the most powerful ways to not just change your day, but change your life, because we give ourselves more permission to go deeper in the morning than we do at any other time.
As the morning goes on, we can come up with more and more excuses about why we are not doing what we need to do.
Having a morning routine means deciding in advance what you’re going to do, so you can spend your mental energy focusing on what’s really important for the day.
Here are five steps to creating a routine for happy mornings.
1. Make a list of everything you do in the mornings.
Go into detail, and leave nothing out, no matter how small. Here is an idea of some things you’ll want to include:
• Brushing teeth
• Making breakfast
• Finding car keys
• Getting kids ready
• Quiet time
• Making coffee
• Putting on makeup
• Getting dressed
• Eating breakfast
• Packing your computer bag
• Making lunches
2. Evaluate your list.
The next morning, if you remember things that aren’t on the list, write them down. I want you to get an accurate reflection of what you can accomplish and see where the stress is in the morning.
Are you a morning person? Awesome! Load up your mornings, but load it up with the most important stuff.
Are you a night owl? Do everything you can to prep the night before so you can get the rest you need. I could do a whole other blog post on having an evening routine, but the bottom line is…PREP, PREP, PREP.
If it’s not working, brainstorm ways to make it work. Maybe you need a longer prep list the night before, or you might even need to plan earlier in the week. Making a big pot of oats to heat up in the microwave or putting together your outfits for the week can make your mornings go more smoothly. I’m a big fan of a prep and plan day to set you up for success for the rest of the week.
3. Time yourself to see how long things actually take.
We are time optimists. We think it takes 5 minutes to put on makeup, but it really takes fifteen. Time yourself so you know where you can save time, and where to schedule more. You’ll have a realistic idea about how long your morning routine takes and reduce your stress level getting out the door.
4. Print out your list so it’s easy to follow.
Put it up in the kitchen, your bathroom, the bedroom, or wherever you’ll see it. Practice, practice, practice.
When I did this, I learned more efficient ways to get my list done faster. Since I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast, I got to where I could unload the dishwasher in the 3 minutes and 33 seconds it takes to cook.
The first couple of weeks are discovery. After that, it’s execution.
5. Adjust as you go.
By sheer accident, I discovered that my oatmeal turns out just as good if I only cook it for 3 minutes, so I had to think of new strategies to unload the dishwasher 33 seconds faster.
Sometimes you’ll have to change your routine as circumstances change, like for a new job or school schedule. Keep adjusting your routine so that it continues to work for you.
By the way, there’s one other thing that can keep us from a happy morning: Clutter! (You knew I had to go there on a Clutter Free Academy blog post.)
If you haven’t already joined our growing community on Facebook, follow the link to find an encouraging, shame-free place where you’ll get the support you need to get the clutter out of your house.
Peace is possible in the morning, I promise!
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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