I always use summer and Christmas break to “recalibrate” my morning routine. You see, things change from time to time, and habits fall behind. A period of sickness will make me give up everything but the necessities during the mornings before school, and we all know that the habits we are talking about here can be broke in a few short days.
They say it takes 30 days to create a habit, but let’s face it, I can lose the habit of exercise in just a couple of days. Then I have to put in the 30 days all over again! So summer and Christmas break is when I do this.
Another important aspect of recalibrating my morning is figuring out when I need to start. For instance, if I want to start school at 9:00, and my morning routine takes 3 hours, then I must get up by 6:00. Periods of time with no 9:00 finishing line help me figure out how long my morning routine takes without additional stress.
First, I consider my wish list – what I want to get done in the morning. For me this list includes:
- Quiet time (Bible and tea)
- Meals (breakfast, some dinner prep)
- Pick up (my room and bathroom)
- Laundry (a load or two)
- Possibly a project (changing the kombucha, writing a blog, etc.)
Then I work out the best order to do all of this. I know exercise has to come early in my list, because if I work on a project, time will likely get away from me, and I won’t get time to exercise. On that same note, most projects have to be done last in my routine. It’s also much easier to exercise before the kids wake up and start vying for my attention. After I exercise my feet move faster, so I find that’s a good time to do moving items on my list. For that same reason, sitting down to read my Bible or drink hot tea doesn’t work after exercise, so I plan to do it before. Also, my house is two-story, and I don’t want to go up and down stairs a lot, so I plan around that. In the end I find a pattern that works for me, and then I do it in that order every day.
“If you don’t plan out your behaviors, then you rely on your willpower and motivation to inspire you to act. But if you do plan out when and where you are going to perform a new behavior, your goal has a time and a space to live in the real world. This shift in perspective allows your environment to act as a cue for your new behavior.” -James Clear, jamesclear.com, author of the free guide Transform Your Habits
So, my routine becomes:
- Make my bed, put on shoes (I exercise in my pjs), and grab the dirty clothes pile
- Sort the clothes, start a load of laundry and fold what is in the dryer
- Clean litter box (which is in the laundry room)
- Make tea and read my Bible while enjoying a cup
- Do 30 minutes of exercise (treadmill is in the laundry room)
- Move now completed laundry to dryer, and fold what I removed (because I’m still in the laundry room)
- Check calendar (so I can consider the best dinner plan and how I will dress)
- Possibly start dinner or do some prep (at the least have a plan)
- Make breakfast (wake up the kids)
Back upstairs – (take folded laundry with me)
- Put laundry away
- Shower and dress for the day
- Wipe down my bathroom and head back downstairs
Back downstairs –
- Work on a project if there is time
If I do this routine day after day and note how long it takes, then I know how early I need to get up in the morning to be done by a certain time. For a while, my morning routine wishlist meant that I would have to get up by 5:00! That was just too early for me, so I had to cut some things down. For instance, instead of exercising for an hour, I had to figure out how to exercise smarter for 30 minutes. Instead of participating in a Bible study that required 30-45 minutes to complete each morning, I just needed to read a chapter on my own. Instead of completing two loads of laundry, I needed to just get one done.
My list above works for me. I can complete it in two hours if I stay focused. By doing it in order, I don’t have to think about it. Which means it requires less will power.
Here’s the best part – as I begin my day, the part that begins after my morning routine, I have a bunch of accomplishments under my belt. I am already having a successful day! I have exercised! I have completed two loads laundry and they are put away! I have started my day with quiet time before the Lord! I’ve had a little “me” time before the kids have awakened. I am dressed and ready to go wherever I need to. I have a plan for dinner, if not an actual dinner started. I feel successfully and it’s only 9:00 am!
Think about using these last couple of weeks of summer to recalibrate your morning. (And think about me as I prepare to move to a house with no laundry room! My whole routine will have to change.)