I wouldn’t try to guess what all you have on your plate as you start each morning. We all face unique challenges – with different obligations and circumstances. One thing we probably share in common, though, is a need to develop a routine that helps us accomplish what we have to do and leaves us feeling motivated to tackle the day.
And regardless of the type of things we need to get done in those first few hours of the day, we can all benefit from determining what our goals are, and the best way to meet them.
Keeping your goals in view and making your routine so easy that you don’t have to think about it are the hallmarks of creating a morning routine that jump starts the day and gets you off to a good start.
1. Review your goals.
Think about the big picture first. What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish in the morning? Try to consider major tasks as separate goals. For instance, your goals might include the following:
- get coffee and have devotion
- shower and dress
- make bed
- help children get dressed
- take the dog outside
- prepare breakfast
- straighten up the kitchen
- make sure kids book bags are packed
2. Take little steps.
Goals are big pictures, but sometimes big pictures can feel overwhelming (especially early in the morning with children around you!) Focusing on the small steps necessary to complete each goal can make a stressful morning seem more manageable.
To have coffee and devotion in the morning, you need to make the coffee and get your devotional material. Would you prefer to set the coffee maker to automatically brew in the morning? Can you get out your reading material the night before? Getting yourself (and your children) dressed might be easier if the clothes are picked out before bedtime, rather than early in the morning.
3. Pace your time.
Consider the time it takes for each task, or group of activities. Be reasonable. If it takes you 20 minutes to shower, put on makeup and dress, then you know that you’ll need that 20 minutes of dedicated time.
When you are on a timetable that demands that your morning routine is accomplished by a certain time, it can be helpful to chunk your activities into periods of time, rather than simply saying you will have everything completed by 8 a.m.
If you know that you plan to have coffee and devotion at 5 am, shower at 5:30, and cook breakfast at 6 am, you will be better able to monitor your time and adjust as you need to, even if you don’t stick strictly to your schedule.
4. Reschedule tasks when it makes sense.
As you consider what you do, and how long it takes to do it, look for things that could be re-arranged in your schedule to work better.
For instance, if you unload the dishwasher before going to bed at night, you won’t have to do it in the morning. If you put dirty dishes in the wash before heading out the door in the morning, you will come home to a cleaner house.
Instead of looking through book bags in the morning before sending the children off to school, consider making that part of a night-time routine.
5. Eliminate distractions.
I used to love to watch the news as I had coffee and fixed breakfast. I felt like I had a better handle on my world. I had an epiphany, however, when I realized that it was actually slowing me down.
Those few minutes I was spending focused on current events were stealing even bigger chunks of time from my day, as my creativity was squelched and my attention was diverted.
I still watch the news – I’m not burying my head in the sand, after all – but I save it for later in the day, when my mind is already beginning to lull into a midday slump.
6. Treat your “me” time as a priority.
You’ve probably heard it said many times before: you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This applies not only to your physical well-being, but to your emotional and spiritual well-being as well. Take time to read Scripture or a morning devotion; set aside time for yoga or a run; plan for a relaxing hot shower – whatever motivates you and feeds your inner soul – should be important to you!
7. Always build in a few spare minutes.
The best laid plans go awry – it’s the way of the world. Build some extra time into your morning routine, so that you feel comfortable and relaxed, not stressed and overwhelmed.
Some people set their clocks a few minutes ahead – and if that trick works for you, then do it! I find that what works best for me is to make my target “finish” time a few minutes before the real deadline, that way, if there is a delay, I’m still o.k.
And that’s it. Tailor these steps to your own specific situation, but keep your focus on what’s important to you, and arrange the time to your advantage.
If you’d like to share your thoughts and ideas, or simply want to let us know how your morning routine is working for you, I’d love for you to share in the comments below.
Here’s wishing you many happy mornings ahead!