By Erin Long, contributing writer
When I was ten years old my mom bought me a nightgown with Grumpy the Dwarf and in big letters it said, “Grumpy in the Morning” (yes, I grew up in the 90s). She thought it was hilarious because it was, and is, so true.
I am not a morning person.
I always thought that once I was an adult I’d somehow magically wake up ready to go each morning, rather than dragging myself through the first few waking hours of each day. While it has gotten easier as I’ve gotten older, getting myself out of bed in the morning is still a challenge. And now I have to help get kids out the door, too. Lord help us all!
So over the years I’ve developed hacks and gained some wisdom that makes my mornings go smoother. I remain in no way a morning person but I can get myself, my kids, and our home set in motion every day. And we *generally* are out the door on time!
I’ve found that doing some prep the night before, putting routines on autopilot, and staying focused helps me to set our day in motion while I wait for my brain and body to catch up with my busy family.
Here are the things that have helped the most:
1. Go to Bed Early
When Beth introduced her Go To Bed Early Challenge and confessed her struggle with BCI (Butt-on-Couch Inertia) I immediately knew I suffered from it, too.
When the house is finally quiet after a long day of constant demands, carpools, interrupted trains of thought, there’s little better than a few hours of peace and quiet or productivity before heading off to bed.
It’s great to enjoy that serenity or get something done, but not for hours and hours. Because when I stay up too late I sabotage my mornings. Going to bed at a decent time sets up my morning for success because I’m actually rested and my mind and body are ready for whatever that day brings.
2. Prep the Night Before
When I taught high school before my oldest was born I would set out everything I needed to get myself ready the next morning before I went to bed. And I mean everything. Clothes, makeup, toothbrush, as much of my breakfast as possible, whatever I needed to bring with me.
Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom I don’t have to do as much prep work because I don’t head straight out the door every morning but I do prepare for busy mornings in similar ways.
My purse is packed, kids clothes are out, water bottles are filled in the fridge. Because I’m not a morning person I want to do as little thinking as possible first thing in the morning.
But I don’t do everything. I like to soak up that peace and quiet and doing all the things to get ready for tomorrow drains my today and that’s not the point. So I choose what to do ahead of time and what can wait. It’s all about finding a workable balance.
3. Start Getting Myself Ready Right Away
I’ve always done my hair and makeup almost everyday but I often didn’t get around to doing it until much later than I care to admit.
I’ve discovered that doing a few simple things to get myself ready as soon as I’m up makes a huge difference. I put in my contact lenses, moisturize my face, and brush my hair right after I’m up. Doing these three simple things takes two minutes but it sets me up for personal care success. And if I do get behind on my morning, at least those three things are already done!
Same goes for getting dressed. While it’s easy to stay in my pjs all morning, I feel so much better about myself and what I can accomplish that day when I’m dressed. Shortly after I eat breakfast I get mostly dressed – I stay in yoga pants until right before I leave the house. There’s no way I’m wearing jeans in my own home.
4. Wake Up the House
A dark, cozy house sabotages my best efforts to get my day going. It’s easy to go from my bed to the couch and curl up in a warm blanket and stay there way too long.
If I’m awake, my house has to be awake, too.
I make my bed as soon as I get up, open the curtains once the sun is shining, play music, and get myself moving in one way or another. In doing these things I welcome the day and say that I am ready for whatever it brings.
I do still sit on the couch and enjoy a cup of tea but I don’t get lulled back into rest and lose momentum.
5. Stay Off Social Media/Email
Social media and email, and smartphones in general, are often time suckers. And when I need the most time is in the morning. So unless there’s something specific I’m expecting or need to check, I stay off my phone.
This also roots me in my surroundings and encourages me focus on my family rather than the digital world. It helps set the tone for my day.
6. Get Something Done
It’s the best feeling when I get something accomplished right away, even if it’s something small like starting a load of laundry. Because some days the only other thing I’m able to get around to is moving that load of laundry into the dryer. At least something gets done and it’s usually easiest to get it done right away before the day has the chance to get away from me.
Tsh Oxenreider has a great post Start Your Day By Eating That Frog and she goes into detail about picking the best task to tackle first.
7. Give Myself Grace (And Sleep in on the Weekends)
While I have learned to function well in the morning, I’ve given up trying to be a morning person. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with a husband who considers getting up at 7am ‘sleeping in’ and my three young kiddos can sleep until 8am. So on most Saturdays, I do sleep in. And I feel a lot better throughout the week when I do.
So while I wish I was one of those people who naturally wakes up before dawn and can get her to-do list done before her kids wake up, that’s just not me and I’m okay with that.
Are you a morning person? If not, have you incorporated any of these things into your own life?