What is your morning routine like? If your mornings are like those of many other moms, you are flying by the seat of your pants from the time your feet hit the floor until you walk out the front door (probably at least a few minutes late, right?).
Mornings don’t have to be so hard. I simplified my own morning routine so that I can get ready for the day in a stress free way. There is no need to rush through your morning routine haphazardly when a little time management is all it takes to start your day in a smooth and productive way.
1. Pick out what you will wear the next day from undies to shoes. Do the same with your children. Every person you are responsible for in the morning should know what he or she is wearing the next day before going to bed at night.
While doing this on a nightly basis is a great start toward an easier morning routine, work up to picking out clothing for the week on Sunday evening. I began doing this when I returned to full time work and it’s a sanity saver, for sure!
2. Make lunches the night before. Let preschool aged and older children help to make their lunches. Never spend your precious morning time making lunches. Once you get used to make lunches every night, start planning lunches for the week on Sunday night so that you know exactly what’s going in the lunch bag every day.
3. Plan your breakfast the night before. Know what you’re having the next morning so that you can adjust your wake up time if making breakfast requires more time than usual.
Again, planning a weekly breakfast menu is a great idea for streamlining your morning routine. The ultimate way to lessen breakfast-making minutes is to cook large batches of your family’s favorite breakfast foods and freeze them.
4. Write your morning routine down to the minute and turn getting ready into a game. I have been known to attempt to beat my best time at getting ready in the morning. As you will see in my morning schedule below, any time I save is time I give back to myself and the things that I enjoy doing, like blogging.
5. Make the next day’s to-do list before bed. This simple step will allow you to rest better, because you won’t spend the night going over the next day in your head. Dump the next day’s tasks on to paper or into your favorite to-do list app and be done with tomorrow until tomorrow.
The Morning Routine
Before you can streamline your morning routine, you need to know what’s taking too much time and what’s not getting enough attention in the morning. For a day or two, record how long certain morning tasks are taking to accomplish. Decide which tasks are a priority. Remove the rest from your morning routine.
Here are my tips for a stress-free morning routine:
1. No electronics until you’ve showered, gotten dressed, made breakfast, etc. Once everything is done, you can sit down with your breakfast and check emails or watch the news.
2. No phone calls at all, unless there is an emergency. Do not talk on your phone while you’re getting ready in the morning. Also — and this could be a tough one — No. Social. Media. Unless you get ready quickly and have time to spare!
3. Get up earlier. Just do it. Start with 15 minutes earlier, move up to 30 minutes. Eventually you will have time to incorporate meditation, scripture reading or your favorite spiritual practice into your morning routine. This will benefit you all day.
4. Put your keys, work bag, children’s backpacks, etc in the same convenient place every day. You should be able to grab and go within seconds and know that everything you need it already in your bag and that the children have what they need in their backpacks.
5. Don’t wash and dry your hair every day. If you have a hairstyle that requires a lot of time in the morning, you have two choices — change your hairstyle or get up earlier. Stop letting your hair make you late.
6. Set a goal time for leaving the house. It is very important that you write down your morning routine to the minute. At first, estimate how long it takes you to shower, make breakfast, get dressed, etc. Write out a schedule. You can adjust the schedule if you find that something takes more or less time than you thought. Write the schedule based on your desired time to walk out the door. (Help your children to make a morning schedule, as well.) See below for my morning schedule.
My Stress Free Morning Schedule
My children are home schooled and I have their lessons and assignments planned by the week. I don’t have to get my children out the door quickly in the morning, but the trade off is that my evenings are packed. I save time in the evenings by getting a lot of work done in the morning before I go to my job.
5:30 am — Get up, shower, get dressed, play a “brain game.”
6:00 am — Start breakfast, unload dishwasher, care for pets, do any dinner prep that is needed.
6:20 am — Gather my things (which are already in one place, remember!), put on my shoes (I put my shoes for the next day under my desk each evening for quick access), put my lunch bag with my work bag.
6:20 am — I’m out the door on my way to work.
I have my morning routine simplified so that I have a whole hour to sit with my breakfast and coffee while working on my blog before going to my full time job if I decide to get up early enough to do so. I’ve also moved the meditation time that was once listed above to the evenings before bed because I find that it helps me get a better night’s sleep.
The things I did with that hour before implementing a stress free morning routine included washing and drying my hair, deciding on an outfit, making my lunch, wondering what to make for breakfast, looking for my shoes and a hefty dose of muttering under my breath.
I wrangled my routine into submission and you can too!
This post was originally featured on Allison Goines’ blog, Our Small Hours. Featured image via.