For as long as I can remember, I’ve utilized an early morning routine to my advantage — even back in high school and college when it most definitely was not cool to wake up even one second earlier than absolutely necessary.
I suppose I’m an “old soul” (this sounds nicer than “boring” or “old fashioned”… right?)
But truthfully, as a very involved high school and college athlete and musician, the morning hours were prime homework hours for me — freeing up afternoons and evenings for piano lessons, volleyball games, choir concerts, and other social events.
Fast-forward a couple of decades… and early morning hours are still “prime time” for me.
While I can’t say I love waking up early every day, I do love the benefits of starting my day before the rest of the world (or at least before my children!)
Having a few hours of (mostly) uninterrupted peace and quiet each morning is good for my soul, my physical health, my mental wellbeing, my marriage, my children, my home, and even my career (there were years when my only focused writing happened between 4 and 6 am).
In short, early mornings = better days for myself and my family.
There have certainly been seasons of my life when babies kept me up all night and early mornings were not doable. During those years I didn’t force it or put my health in jeopardy.
But now that we are past those sleepless nights with small babies, (can I get a hallelujah!) the “sacrifice” of an early alarm clock is more than worth the benefits.
But How Early is “Early”?
For the last few years, Dave and I have set our alarms between 4 and 5 am — depending on what our schedule looks like for the next day, how we feel, and when we get to bed (read more about our early mornings).
After we’re out of bed, my mornings go as follows…
Get dressed and ready:
- Brush my teeth (I’ve done this since college — it instantly makes me feel more awake).
- Drink a bunch of water (read more here).
- Go to the bathroom.
- Wet my hair with a spray bottle, towel dry it, and comb it.
- Make my bed and get dressed while my hair dries.
- Back to the bathroom for some mascara and to style my hair (watch how I style my hair).
Estimated Time: 15 minutes
Even if I don’t get to anything else on my list below, my goal is ALWAYS to be dressed and ready for the day before the kids get up — so I need a 15-minute head start!
Cross Off A Few To-Dos:
After I’m physically dressed and ready, I head to my computer to cross off a few of my to-dos.
- Weed through all my emails — delete, file, and respond to everything I can.
- Send out any necessary emails or messages.
- Respond to any blog comments and social media posts from the previous day.
- Re-read my blog post for that morning.
- Look over my to-do list and get started on a shorter project if time allows.
Around 5:15, I take a break from my to-do list and head to the kitchen to make breakfast for Dave and me.
Sometimes I eat breakfast with the kids, but most of the time I eat with Dave around 5:30 am. Yes, this means I often make 2 breakfasts on weekday mornings. I suppose it’s not very efficient of me, but my family appreciates hot breakfasts each morning so it’s something I choose to do for now.
I also use this time to prep for dinner.
Back to work:
After a little time in the kitchen, I get back to work on my to-do list.
- Start laundry
- Clean bathrooms
- Write a blog post
- Sweep floors
- Work on my digital photo albums
- Wrap gifts or write cards
I don’t have a specific list of things I do at this point — just whatever I feel fits for this time of day and something I can do quietly since the kids are sleeping.
I keep working on my list until I wake the kids up.
Get the Kids up and Fed:
On school morning, I wake the kids up at 6:30 and they make their beds and get ready while I finish their breakfast.
On Saturdays, they stay in bed until 7:00 and then get to watch a bit of TV while I make breakfast for the whole family.
Prepare for the day:
While the kids eat breakfast, I finish “preparing for the day”.
- Open all the curtains and blinds
- Switch the laundry (if I’m doing laundry)
- Check backpacks, lunches, homework, library books, etc.
- More dinner prep if necessary
- Pack the car, library bag, diaper bag, or anything else we need to take with us
- Clean up the kitchen, help the kids do their hair, and get them on the bus
I know many of you can relate to busy mornings with many children at home — and honestly, there are some days when I feel like I’ve run a marathon by the time the older kids get on the bus!
I’m honestly not sure how I’d do it all if I didn’t follow my early mornings routine each day.
Even though I am definitely a “natural morning person”, there are many times when sleeping in sounds glorious. However, I know from personal experience that whenever I sleep longer than I should, the rest of the day is off-kilter.
The mornings are rushed, the kids are late for the bus, I end up in my pajamas until lunch, I’m crankier, which makes the kids crankier, which makes being together that much more hectic and unpleasant.
When I don’t get much done in the morning, I usually stay up way too late, which makes it harder to get up on time the following morning, and it’s just a huge domino effect that continues to spiral out of control.
This can all be prevented if I stick to my early morning routine!
Of course, every day doesn’t always go as planned — and even on the days when I get up on time, there are hundreds of other variables that could cause a not-so-pleasant day, but those variables are usually out of my control.
The time I wake up IS in my control!
And, as I mentioned above, waking up on time and starting my day off on the right foot makes a drastic difference in how the rest of our day flows and the mood for my entire family.
I know our morning routine will continue to morph and change as the needs of our children change, but for now, I’m thrilled to have a very consistent and early morning routine!
Have you ever tried to implement an early morning routine?
Do you wake up before your kids?
Do you find that the day runs smoother when you wake up earlier?