One of my goals this year is to work on being more mindful of my time, understand where it’s going, and hold myself accountable.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve had over the years, as I’ve tried to unsuccessfully manage my time, is that so much of my day, and my schedule is out of my control. Always being in response mode to other people’s needs (mainly my four monsters), as I know so many of you can relate.
Except, this one sweet golden hour in the morning. That’s mine. The only hour of that day that’s truly in my control.
To have this though, you have to wake while the world is sleeping. So last year I committed to starting my day an hour earlier. I set my alarm for 5 am every day (well, almost every day), and I got up while the house was still quiet and it felt as if the world was asleep. It was magical. And quickly became my favorite part of my day.
But here’s the thing, how I used that precious hour before my kids woke seemed to always be shifting. Some days I’d work out, other days I’d write, and sometimes I’d just organize my calendar for the day. And it never felt as efficient as it could be. I knew I was taking full advantage of this precious time.
So in an effort to become more mindful of my time (including at 5 am), I challenged myself to come up with a morning routine that I could stick with, which made me feel good, and that really helped set the tone for my day.
And friends, I’m sharing it all with you today, in detail, minute by minute (sorry, it’s a doozy). But this is just my “morning routine”. The key to making any of this work is that you find what makes you feel good. Finding a routine YOU can stick with. One that sets the tone for your day, and helps you focus and feel grounded.
My morning routine
5-5:05 – 5 minutes to “wake-up”
5 minutes to dust off the cobwebs and drink some water (as a side note I go to bed every night with 16oz of water next to my bed, so that as soon as I wake I have room temperature water to drink immediately. It helps rehydrate you after sleeping and jumpstarts your digestion.)
5:05-5:20 – 15 minutes of morning movement
I have a yoga mat that lives upstairs in our new “office” where I stretch. I light a candle. Take it easy, and just do some basic movements to get all the kinks out (and there are a lot of them). The older I get the more I’m realizing that my body needs TLC when I wake.
5:20-5:30 – 10-minute meditation
Meditation is something that’s come and gone for me for years. But somehow every time I feel a little “off” the practice calls me back. My practice is pretty bare bones. Just me, my mat, and a timer. That’s it. It truly requires nothing special. And I’ve personally found that 10 minutes is my sweet spot. Consistency is key when it comes to meditation. As soon as I have a loftier goal, even just 15 minutes, I start cheating. So 10 is where I’m at today.
5:30-5:35 – 5 minutes to make lemon water
There are so many great benefits to adding a cup of warm lemon water to your morning routine (you can read my full post about it here), but to sum it up, it helps wake up your digestive system, boosts your immune system, and flushes out toxins. I’m currently taking a break from coffee (which is honestly so hard for me), so lemon water has become my new “coffee” as I sit and work.
5:35-5:50 – 15 minutes of morning pages.
This is new to me. I used to jump right into “working”, and now I do my “morning pages” first and you guys, it honestly is such a nice way to start the day. It’s so grounding and centering. And has really helped me sharpen my focus and show me exactly how I’m spending my day.
My morning pages consist of two things, and both are taken from Rachel Hollis’ “start today” journal, but they are too good not to share.
So here’s how it works. First, in a journal dedicated to just gratitude and goals I list out five things I’m grateful for, then 10 dreams I’m reaching for in the next 10 years, and then finally the “one” goal I’m working on NOW. It seemed a little silly at first. But the thing I’ve found is that the more you list your dreams and goals (which are very different), and rewrite them, DAILY, it focuses your attention. It gives you clarity and perspective with what you’re working towards. Where your energy should go (and more importantly where it shouldn’t). If it’s not helping one of the things on your list…then maybe it’s not deserving of your time. It makes things pretty clear, pretty quick.
Then I go through my day and time batch where my time is going. Here’s the thing though. This is NOT my calendar, and it’s NOT my to-do list. It’s planning out just ONE day on a more micro level. I already know what I “have” to do that day (for my “mom” responsibilities, etc), but this is where I plan out MY time within those open windows. I decide on THREE (and ONLY three) things must get done that day. Anything from finishing a blog post, to sending an important e-mail. I estimate the time it will take, and see how I can fit it into the schedule, which often takes a lot of “maneuvering of pieces”. And then I build my day/time AROUND my priorities. Not the other way around. So a lot of things get left behind (like picking up dry cleaning, etc…which is what happens when you work from a “to-do” list), but the IMPORTANT things get done (and the laundry eventually finds its way home).
5:50-6:00 – 10 minutes to get “ready”.
This usually just consists of a super-fast shower, my skincare routine, brushing my teeth, and throwing on some clothes. There is no makeup time or blow-drying my hair. One day I’d love more time to “get ready” before starting my day, but the truth is, for now, I’m ok with things like this, and wouldn’t trade a thing.
By 6 am I’m back in “mom” mode and we’re off to the races. Someone’s usually yelling about wanting waffles (Frankie ;), I’m begging other kids to get out of bed, find uniforms, going over afternoon schedules, packing lunches and signing homework folders. It’s pure chaos.
From 6 am, until everyone goes to bed, I’m answering to four other people who still need me to be “mom”.
And I love it. I wouldn’t change it for a thing. But I can do that without frustration or stress because I had “my time”. I had my 60 minutes to focus on me, get myself ready, and grounded and centered for the day. And that has been the best gift I could have given to myself.
I’m taking care of me so that I can show up for them.