I am not a morning person. Never have been and possibly never will be. If you ever meet my mom she can tell you some great stories about trying to drag me out of bed in the mornings as a teenager. Sorry about that Mom…The funny thing is that I desperately want to be a morning person. On the days when I wake up earlier and get a jump start on things I feel so much more productive and organized throughout the day. And as a busy mom of three I desperately need less chaos in my day.
This school year we are tackling a new morning routine as my oldest starts school at 7:30am. My alarm goes off at 6am and I hit the ground running. I know some of you are laughing and thinking to yourself that 6am is not early. For others, you know exactly what I mean when I say that 6am is a rough time for the three girls in this house…The boys on the other hand seem to have no problem with that hour of the day (my husband wakes up at 4:30am – sometimes earlier!).
Once 6am became our new normal I decided that a few things about my morning routine had to change. In order to get three kids up, fed and ready for the day, this busy mama had to step up her morning game. Being productive from the get go was essential to starting the day off on the right foot. I thought about what simple steps would help our household run more efficiently and began testing out some ideas. The end result was discovering 5 things that make my day run more smoothly if I complete them by 8am.
Make the Bed
Simple task right? So often I would overlook this one in the rush to get the kids out the door in the morning. Later in the afternoon though I would walk into my bedroom and absolutely hate looking at the blankets and pillows in a giant heap on our bed. I decided I needed to make a conscious effort to make that sucker every single morning. Now, even if my two year old’s toys are cluttering my bedroom floor (and they usually always are!), the room just appears more tidy if I make my bed from the get go.
Start a Load of Laundry
After we had our third child I swear our laundry quadrupled. How is that even possible? All of a sudden there were mountains of laundry piling up everywhere I turned. I did a load or two and then three more would spring up. Keeping up with the laundry was an impossible task.
Solution? I realized that if I started a load first thing in the morning, I was more likely to continue with at least one more during the day, AND I felt at least somewhat caught up. Another plus? I don’t hear nearly as much whining from my kids when they are out of clothes.
Unload Dishwasher/Clean up Breakfast Dishes
Okay, so this is really two tasks, but since they go together I treat it as one. Once our youngest started using actual cups and plates, unloading the dishwasher became a daily occurance. I’m sensing a theme here…third child = more household chores? This is probably my least favorite chore. Who am I kidding? I hate it. Now I try to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. If I really want to be productive, I make the older two help me. I am training them to be adults!
Before I began implementing these into my routine, there were mornings when I would leave the house without cleaning up after breakfast. You know those mornings? Mad scramble to rush out the door, one kid can’t find their shoes, the other forgot to pack their snack. All the while my youngest is still sitting on the couch in the soggy diaper I forgot to change from overnight…Even on these mornings I try and take two minutes to stick the dishes in the dishwasher, quickly wipe down the counters, and put away any breakfast foods that may have been left out. Two minutes. Such a small amount of time, but it has a big impact on the overall tidiness of your home.
Now I realize that this one might not be for everyone. I am not a super religious person, but I do like to take time to reflect on life. Several months ago a friend of mine recommended two books to me that she reads daily. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, and Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence. I also recently purchased The Wisdome of Sundays: Life Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, by Oprah Winfrey. This book includes excerpts from meaningful conversations Oprah has had with some of today’s most admired thought leaders. Converstations and thoughts about mindfulness, intention, love, and forgiveness just to name a few.
For me this practice sets the tone for my day. I can come back to bits and pieces of each daily reading as I go about my daily activities. Some of these readings speak to me more than others, but I can almost always take away some small nugget of wisdom from each page.
Pick Up Family Room
Every morning I ask myself why we didn’t pick up the night before. Then I remember it is because after putting the kids to bed my husband and I both collapsed, exhausted, onto our giant cozy sectional, and never got up. After a long day it is just asking too much to pick up toys, books, shoes and whatever else our toddler left on the floor. For the record, she is really good at cleaning up after herself. We clearly need to make a better effort to ask her to start taking responsibility for her messes!
As a result of our evening exhaustion, I am left to tackle the task in the morning, but really it only takes about two minutes. Toys are picked up, pillows neatly placed on the couch, blankets are stored away and books are put back on the shelf. It looks amazing. For about 5 minutes. Then the cycle begins all over again.
If you feel like you want to be more productive and are itching for your day to run more smoothly, I encourage you to try this! I feel so much better in the morning knowing I have left my house in fairly good order, especially if we have a busy day ahead.
I should add a little disclaimer here though…in addition to the above I also make lunches, help the kids get breakfast, drive my oldest to school and deal with a toddler (who if you remember the girls in our house – is often cranky). I do not however, always get myself ready unless there is somewhere I need to be. That comes later in the day after I squeez in a workout and run errands. If I do have an appointment or meeting I can usually manage to check these five things off my list, get my kids ready, and get myself somewhat put together. However, if I am being completely honest, that is not an easy accomplishment…
What routines do you have to make your day more productive? I would love to hear from you!