Growing up, I used to think my mom was crazy for rising well before the sun to drink her coffee and read the newspaper. Today, I’m officially old and her strategy makes perfect sense to me. As hard as it is to leave my warm and snuggly bed while the house is still dark, when I do, I feel so much more productive. I actually have time to myself to get a head start on my to-do list.
Granted, I can’t make any noise, lest I wake the sleeping beast, A.K.A. my 1-year-old. (And to be clear, to anyone with a baby who doesn’t actually sleep, screw productivity: sleep when the baby sleeps!) I have, fortunately, gotten to the point that my son actually sleeps through the night, so when I’m bitching about waking up early, I remind myself of the days when I was lucky to get two full hours of sleep.
This got me wondering: how does everyone else manage their time in the mornings? A quick Facebook poll among my friends ran the gamut, but the most productive people seemed to keep a strict schedule involving waking up early. And you may have read any one of several articles published recently saying the most successful people also wake up before the birds.
Two concepts that have come up over and over in my research have been morning exercise and a no-social media/phones/computers policy. These may be pretty do-able concepts in theory, but here’s my situation, which may be a lot like yours, if you’re a stay-at-home or work-at-home mom: Once my son is up, I am not allowed to sit at the computer. I. Am. Not. Allowed. I am permitted to work only when he naps. Usually, he starts acting a lot like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, so I have to take him outside for fresh air. This means taking him for a ride in the wagon, rolling a ball around the backyard, going to the park or pool…generally chasing after him, which sounds a lot like exercise to me! I know, it’s not the same as alone time to sculpt and tone my body for the sake of my health/back muscles I need in which to lift this massive child on the daily, nor is it the zen yoga I crave. The truth is that I might get two hours to myself before he wakes up after me, so I usually choose to do something that requires my undivided attention.
My super productive morning routine generally goes like this:
- 6:00 a.m.- Wake up, take the dog out, whisper profanities at the cat because of her incessant meowing that a human is up, wipe the dog’s paws so he doesn’t get mud everywhere…
- 6:15 a.m.- Boot up the computer, pull the metal computer chair out in slow motion to prevent squeaking on the tile floor, make coffee (if it was set up the night before), whisper-shout at the cat and dog who have now decided to loudly chase each other around the living room…
- 6:30 a.m.- Check email, take a look at what’s ahead in Asana.com, get to work
- 7:30 a.m.- If my son is still sleeping, I am still working. Otherwise, I clock in for baby duty: diaper, breakfast, the whole nine yards…
The following moms seem to have worked out much more glamorous morning schedules, so you might want to check out what they have to say.
- The Utah Mom Connection recommends setting up a nightly routine in order to have a smooth morning.
- Our Small Hours makes suggestions for how to create stress-free morning routines for moms.
- I like this article from Singing Through the Rain, which seems to offer the most forgiving approach on how to create an effective routine.
- If you’re a visual person, check out this printable from Growing Slower. There’s even a class you can take to make over your mornings!
- I saved the best for last. My Domaine gives us a look at the morning routines of 10 successful women.
What does your current morning routine look like? What do you want it to look like?