Productive mornings are the best way to begin the day. Creating productive mornings is a challenge for most of us. My mornings weren’t always perfect. It’s taken a lot of work and soul-searching to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Here are some ways my family avoids hectic mornings.
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In a perfect world we wake up with the sunrise and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee in the garden. Yeah, I know- I’m dreaming right?!? Usually I’m woken up by a wet dog nose and two cats begging for breakfast and two kids bouncing on the bed. The daily grind of deadlines, laundry, writing, grading, grocery shopping, cleaning, work, etc. loom over my head like an impending avalanche. You get the picture.
This is not ideal, so I decided to redesign my mornings and create a routine that gave me some ME time – before the craziness of the day ensues.
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Once I decided to streamline my mornings, I gave myself a few days to really mull it over. I figured out what I have to get done on a daily basis and what I need to nix. I paid attention to how our weekday mornings operated. What was causing friction? What was slowing us down? What worked? I also paid attention to what I wanted out of my mornings.
For the next three days I paid attention to everything that went on each morning and wrote them in my planner. I recorded everything from feeding the pets to checking email. I’m a very hands-on, tactile person so I like to create hand-written lists. For some reason my brain can think and organize information better when I am writing it by hand. You may do better with jotting down notes on your phone or in an app like Trello. Use whatever works best for you. Just make sure you record everything that happens in your mornings.
Figure Out What’s Important
Once I was sure I had everything written down, I made a list of morning tasks that I wanted to carry out. My goal was to create productive mornings so I made sure I included things that would help me accomplish more tasks each day. Here’s some examples:
- 15 minutes of daily cleaning.
- Laundry – ugh laundry – I need to do at least one load per day.
- Create the day’s to-do list.
- Morning meditation and/or yoga and stretching.
- A trip to the gym.
- Time for hair and makeup.
Remember the Must Do’s
Sure the above tasks are important but I can’t forget the things that absolutely have to get done.
- Dressing the kids and myself.
- Coffee (yes this needs to happen).
- Feed the animals.
- Brush teeth.
- Drive to school.
- Get hubby out of bed (because somehow in our 15 years of marriage I became his alarm clock #smh).
Set a Time Limit
Next, I gave each task an estimated completion time. I also made a note of which items could be done together. For example, making my coffee and feeding the animals can all be done in the same block of time. While I’m waiting for the coffee to brew I feed the pets.
I made a simple chart in Word with blank spaces for time and for writing each task and printed out a few pages.
Design A Productive Morning
Finally, I began to plug in everything onto my schedule sheet. I organized must-do’s around want to-dos. I wrote the time and the routine directly on the paper. I slipped it and a few blank routines into a clear protective sheet (I like these), and snapped it into a pretty binder.
I use a dry erase marker to check things off the list each morning. You might want to write your to-do’s on the protective sheet with dry erase marker too. I wanted mine written in pen so that they wouldn’t rub off.
You can download a free morning and evening routine checklist in the pink box at the bottom of the page.
Create You Own Productive Morning
Here’s the fun part. Figure out what is really important to you in a morning routine. Perhaps it’s zeroing out your email inbox before the day gets started. Or maybe it’s just to have one quiet cup of coffee before the world starts pulling you in different directions. Whatever it is, try to pinpoint the things that are important to you and
create demand the space in your day to those things.
Productive Morning Tips
- Create before you consume. Avoid consuming any media like facebook or emails until you accomplish at least one item on your to-do list. Most people are more creative in the morning. Don’t waste that creative energy on soaking up outside information. Use that energy towards something that benefits you or your family.
- Wake up as early as possible. It might take a few weeks to get in the habit. Try to rise before the rest of your household and use that time for personal development.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Not every morning is going to run smoothly. Sometimes we sleep later than planned. Other days outside appointments and commitments might change our daily routine. Just accept these things as they come and focus on having productive mornings in the long-term.
Do you have any productive mornings tips or tricks? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.