I know that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, but sometimes I feel like other people must be snagging some extra hours from somewhere because they just seem to get so much done in a day! I want to be those people! How do they do it? Well, I don’t know where you would go to score some extra hours for your day, and I don’t know all of their secrets, but I have found that there are several ways that I can use my 24 hours more wisely.
For awhile now I have been doing the following 7 things and they are doing wonders on how smoothly my mornings have been going; which sets my day up much better than a crazy, chaotic morning would do (I am speaking from lots of experience here!). Not only do my mornings run better, but I am getting WAY more done, bonus! One of my goals this year is to be more productive and more efficient with my time, and by doing these easy steps, I can do just that.
Maybe you are already doing some of these things, and that’s great! I used to do several of them every morning, but it still wasn’t helping me to get the most out of my time, bummer! So here are the 7 things I now do to make my mornings, and really the whole day, more productive. As a mom to two young children I need all the help I can get to make the most out of my time!
1.Wake up early
I struggled with implementing this one for awhile because I am NOT a morning person and I cherish my sleep! Growing up my younger sister (who has always been the morning person in the family) had a sign outside her bedroom door that said, “Sometimes I wake up grumpy, other times I let her sleep!”. Yup, that sign said it all! And while I no longer wake up grumpy (most days!) I do struggle with getting up while it’s still dark out.
However, since I was desperate for a way to make my day more productive, I decided to try and see if this crazy idea of waking up before the sun actually worked and my gosh, it really does! I started by waking up 20 minutes or so before my husband and kids usually wake up, but that was not early enough. By the time I sat down to do something they would all wake up… fail! So I bit the bullet and took the plunge and now wake up almost an hour and a half before anyone else is up. And I feel strange saying this, me the anti-morning person, but I actually like getting up that much earlier than everyone else!
I guess there is something behind the whole getting up early thing! Now it is what I do every morning and I am finding it not only to be a game changer in how productive my day is, but how much more relaxed I am. No more waking up grumpy here!
2.Having your to-do list done the night before
I have found that when I fill out my daily to-do list the night before, I am more productive the next morning because a portion of my work is already done and waiting there for me. I do add to it throughout the day if I forgot anything, or if something comes up, but for the most part it is finished before I go to bed. This way I can wake up and see what needs to get done, without having to think about it.
3.Have a plan for the week in place
Along with having my daily to-do list done the night before, I have found that when I plan out the upcoming week ahead of time (for me it’s Sunday night), I have a better grasp of what the week will look like and can plan our days around that. I usually do this using the time chunk schedule that I made where I schedule our week and days in chunks of time (morning, afternoon, evening, and nap time…the important one!).
This is what I refer to when I make my daily to-do list as well. It’s where I write down any appointments we may have, meetings, or activities like dance and karate. Then I can plan accordingly. It is also where I think about the week ahead and what we have going on so I can plan our meals for that week. I only plan out dinner each night, not breakfast or lunch because I am home all day with my kids and those are fairly easy meals to make on the fly…most days!
4.Go to bed with a clean kitchen
I will be the first to admit that after a long day, the last thing I want to do is stay even longer in the kitchen doing dishes and cleaning everything up. I just want to relax and go to sleep! And there have been days that I do just that! However, I always wake up and regret that decision when I come down the stairs and am greeted with a mess from the previous nights dinner; not a good way to start the day.
When I take the extra time at night to load the dishwasher, wipe the counter down and pick up random items left on the table, I can wake up to one less task and one less mess. There will be plenty more tasks and messes to deal with as the day goes on, so having this one done helps free up more time for other things.
5.Get the small stuff done at night
I stay home with my children and since we homeschool, our mornings thankfully are not as busy and hectic as others who have to get to daycare, school or work at a specific time. However, I still try to get some of the small stuff done the night before, like having my clothes ready. This way I can get dressed first thing. Because even though I could stay in my jammies all day, I don’t! When I wear my Pj’s for too long I start to feel lazy; a real productivity zapper for me!
6.Do something important first thing
The main reason I get up early is to have quality quiet time to myself since it is the only time of the day this usually happens. When I take care of myself, I can better take care of my family. So the first thing I do when I get up is the thing I value most; doing my devotions. I do this first thing in the morning because it’s important to me and I don’t want it getting pushed onto the back burner or worse, forgetting about it altogether. Lysa TerKeurst, one of the authors of First5 (the devotion I do each morning) says it perfectly,
” We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.”
For me, this is powerful. I want to give God the first part of my day before giving my time to everyone else. For some, the important thing you do each morning may be going for a walk or exercising. Whatever your “thing” is, getting it done first thing in the morning starts your day off on the right foot; or at least it does for me!
7.Straighten your couch pillows
Okay, for some this one may seem silly, but I love when I wake up in the morning and see our couch and chair looking all pretty. The pillows are straightened and the blankets are neatly folded …the only time of the day it will look like this as my children love using the pillows and blankets for whatever game they decide to play. It doesn’t matter what the game is, it almost always involves the pillows and/or blankets…kids!
I hope you have found some (or all!) of these simple tips helpful as you think about your own morning routine and how you can make it as productive and awesome as possible! Is there something else that you do to help make your mornings run more smoothly? I would love to hear about them!