How I Use My Early Morning Quiet Hours

posted by Andrea | 07/6/2018

I’ve always been a morning person — even back in high school and college when NO ONE ELSE was a morning person!

I love waking up early, I love having the house to myself, I love crossing things off my to-do list before anyone wakes up, and I love feeling completely “ready to go” by the time my kids wake up at 7:00am.

It might sound like an over-exaggeration, but every single aspect of my day runs smoother when I wake up early.

That said, there were many years of my life when I did NOT wake up early — basically the 6 years from when Nora was born until just this past winter when Clara magically started sleeping through the night!

During those LONG years, I was beyond exhausted, and the thought of waking up even 10 minutes earlier than I absolutely had to was more than I could handle.

Instead of waking up early, I forced myself to learn how to be productive in the evenings so that I could sleep in as long as possible in the mornings.

However, since our kids are now in bed around 7:00pm every night, and since they all (usually) sleep through the night, I’m getting really good sleep, which means I have a ridiculous amount of energy in the morning.

FINALLY!

Earlier this spring, I started waking up at 6:00am so I could get dressed and ready before waking Nora up at 6:30 for school. I wasn’t exactly accomplishing much from my to-do list, but I was fully dress and ready for the day, with the bed made, emails checked, kitchen cleaned up, and breakfast for Nora around 6:45 after she got dressed and ready.

I sat with her while she ate (I often read her a book), and was ready with a second round of breakfast for the boys at 7:00 when they woke up.

I felt SO much more “with it” and put together, and our mornings flowed even more smoothly than they had before.

When summer break began for Dave, I decided I would wake up at 5:15 in an effort to cross several items off my to-do list before any of the kids came downstairs (they are supposed to stay in bed until 7:00 in the summer).

This means I have almost 2 full hours to get ready, start my day, cross a few things off my to-do list, get breakfast going, run errands (thanks to so many places that are open 24-hours a day!) or just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet!

Dave has been getting up early with me too. He goes for a run every other day, and reads or tackles a few smaller projects the other days. Oh, the life of a teacher on summer break! 🙂

I’ve mentioned my earlier mornings a few times already this summer, and several of you have asked what I do during these early morning quiet hours.

That’s what I’m sharing today!

How I Use My Early Morning Quiet Hours

1. I make the bed and do a quick house pickup.

Assuming Dave is also awake, I quickly make the bed, open our curtains, change out kitchen and bathroom hand towels, put any dishes away that were drying over night, and pick up anything that didn’t get put away the night before.

2. I stretch and “get moving”. 

If Dave is still sleeping, I head out to the living room and do a bunch of stretching (and a few jumping jacks) to get my blood flowing! I find that even just 5-10 minutes of movement in the morning helps make wake up and clears my brain.

I also use this time to do a few of my exercises for my Diastasis recti. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure they are helping at all, but I’m told it takes time to heal, so I keep doing them for now!

3. I get dressed and completely ready for the day. 

Although it only takes me 15 minutes to get dressed, do my hair, and do my makeup, I still like being completely ready to go before anyone else wakes up.

I also make sure my to-do list is ready to go, my bags are packed for anything we are doing that day, and my van is ready for anywhere we might be going that day (stroller, park bag, pool toys, items to return, library books, etc.)

4. I do a couple small to-dos. 

There is nothing more motivating for me than quickly crossing a few short, small to-dos off my list FIRST THING in the morning.

I might need to send a couple emails or respond to a few comments. Sometimes I make my grocery list, renew library books, or make an appointment online. Often I’ll even clean a bathroom, dust, start the laundry, or sweep the floors — anything I can do relatively quickly with very little noise.

5. I make food. 

We almost always (95% of the time) have a hot breakfast. During the school year, we eat in shifts — first Dave, then Nora, then the boys and myself — but during the summer, we all eat together shortly after 7:00am.

In order to accomplish this with relatively little stress or mess, I have most of the meal made the night before. I almost always have a food storage container with already cooked bacon and sausage in the fridge ready to go. I also mix up pancake, waffle, or muffin batter the night before. And I always have lots of pre-washed, pre-sliced fruits and veggies ready to go.

All I need to do in the morning is cook the pancake, waffle, or muffin batter accordingly, fry up a bunch of eggs, re-heat the meat, and dish everything onto plates. It honestly takes minutes to do this all (mini muffins take the longest at roughly 15 minutes), so I have until roughly 6:45 to continue plugging away at my to-do list before I start breakfast.

If need be, I also use this time to pack lunches, do a little baking, and/or get started on dinner prep — depending on what we’re eating that day and what our schedule looks like.

When my kids come downstairs, I’m alert, I’m focused, I’m ready to give them my attention, and I’m SO much happier than I would have been if I had slept until they woke me up.

True Story: The kids wanted to make me “breakfast in bed” for Mother’s Day this year… but I wanted to get up early. So I got up early, got all dressed and ready, crossed off a bunch of my to-dos, then put my robe over my clothes and crawled back into bed 5 minutes before they came down to make breakfast with Dave! They never suspected a thing!

Like I mentioned above, I KNOW THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE!

If you are in a sleepless period of life, for whatever reason, just get as much sleep as you can. Seriously, it’s most likely better for your health and well being to sleep right now.

However, if you are simply staying up late so it feels too difficult to wake up any earlier, I would highly encourage you to try waking up early for a full week (maybe 2 weeks!) Commit to getting out of bed at least 30 minutes before anyone else in your home, have your clothes set out ahead of time so you can get dressed and ready without disturbing others, and have your to-do list ready to go the night before so you can immediately get to work.

You might hate it and decide to go back to sleeping in — but you might find that you absolutely LOVE this little window of time in the mornings!

I know I sure do! 

What about you?

  • Are you a wake-up-before-everyone-else type of person?
  • Or are you a sleep-in-until-the-very-last-second type of person?
  • Either way, what are the best and worst parts of your current morning routine?

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23 comments

  1. Michelle

    07/13/2018

    I am going to start doing this. I need to. My kids finally all sleep through the night but I don’t wake up earlier and constantly feel behind in the morning. It’s so hard to get even the few minutes I need to get ready when they are all awake. Thanks for the motivation and I hope to start doing this especially before school starts

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    It really does make such a huge difference — even just being dressed and ready before they wake up helps the mornings run so much smoother!

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  2. Karlyn Nance

    07/07/2018

    Like you, I am definitely a morning person, and even though now retired, I get out of bed every morning at 5:30. After making coffee, the first item on my “to do” list is to devote about 45 minutes to Scripture meditation, memorization, and praying the Scriptures back to God. Giving God the “first fruits” of my day helps me encounter Him in powerful and amazing ways, and helps me focus on the right priorities throughout the day. I recently encountered a video (referenced below) by Rabbi Kirt Schneider, a Jewish believer in Jesus, who explains this practice more completely. It has been so very helpful in my life that I just had to share it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVzCv1Gq5RI&feature=em-uploademail

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  3. Joy

    07/07/2018

    Thank you Andrea for sharing! I’ve always been a morning person but lately I feel the need to go back to sleep after my husband leaves for work. Since he started with his new job, we both would wake up at 5am. My question is, what time to you go to bed so you could wake up early, say, 6am? Do you think it’s necessary to have at least 8 hours of sleep as an adult? Thank you so much for your insights! 🙂

    Blessings and joy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    this totally depends on your personality and how much sleep you NEED. We never get 8 hours of sleep anymore — in fact, we’re lucky if we get 6 hours, but that is sufficient for us. If your body needs 8 hours, it will let you know!!

    We usually go to bed around 11:00 (often later in the summer) and we usually wake up between 5:00 and 5:30. There are times when I feel tired right after dinner, so sometimes I’ll rest my eyes for 15 minutes… but that’s about it.

    I’m certainly not a sleep expert — but I feel confident that if you listen to your own body, you’ll know how much sleep is right for you!

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    Thanks, Andrea!

    Appreciate your response! 🙂

    [Reply]

  4. Jennifer

    07/07/2018

    I enjoyed the mornings I did get up and had my day started before my kids got up. However, with seven kids under the age of 10 I have always needed to sleep. Being pregnant is worse. Between morning sickness and fatigue I need sleep. Now pregnant with number eight I am back to the same circle. I get a short time of more energy between my babies but it seems to be short lived. When pregnant some days I literally get up late(thank goodness my kids sleep in), but two to three hours I need to sleep again. Every person is different but thanks for reminding how nice it is to be up first.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — I think you get a free pass to sleep as much as you want with 7 (almost 8 kiddos) under 10. Once you are officially finished having babies, I think you’ll be AMAZED how much more energy you have and how much easier it is to wake up a little earlier than everyone else.
    In the mean time, just do what you need to do to keep your sanity!

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  5. Kristina

    07/07/2018

    I’m so glad you posted this. I know I NEED to start waking up before everyone else, but I don’t WANT to. On the days I absolutely have to, my days do go so much more smoothly & I actually have more energy than when I sleep until the kids wake me up. I have always been a night owl who abhorres waking up to an alarm, but alas, I know what needs to be done. I’ll start on Tuesday (our weekends are Sun/Mon) & let you know how it goes. Thank you for being a constant source of knowledge & encouragement. Your blog has brought me much comfort.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, it’s definitely one of those self-control things that we need to battle with our minds! It’s such a simple concept, but not necessarily EASY to do!

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  6. Mara

    07/06/2018

    Your posts ALWAYS refresh my inspiration, thank you!

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  7. Pascale

    07/06/2018

    Hi Andrea,

    Thank you for being so thoughtful and considerate about people who cannot get up early for health reasons. In 2005, I was so exhausted, I could barely get out of bed. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Long story short, I had several issues: low blood iron, adrenal fatigue and Hashimoto’s. Now, 13 years later and after having been with a functional medicine doctor for several years, I’m doing much better, bit I’m sill not functioning at optimal levels. For years, I felt guilty for not being able to function like other people. Whenever I tried to get up early, I would crash in the afternoon. THe reason being is that when you can’t sleep before 3 AM because of cortisol issues, it’s very hard to get up early. Now, I sleep in when I need to and I feel much better. After being ill for 13 years, I can say without a doubt, that the most important thing for me is sleep. I can eat a ketogenic diet, but if I don’t get enough sleep, it will affect me more than anything else.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, considering I’m a HUGE morning person and I know how horrible I felt after Nora was born, I know it’s not always a matter of wanting to wake up early. My body literally couldn’t handle getting up any earlier than I absolutely had to, and I know there are others out there in similar situations!

    [Reply]

    Pascale Reply:

    I totally agree with you. Thanks for understanding.

    [Reply]

  8. Avia

    07/06/2018

    I have to be out the door at 7 each morning with my 5 and 3 yr old. My day goes so much better if I get up at 5 – get myself, breakfast, bags etc ready and maybe even have a quiet cup of coffee before the girls get up. My 5 yr old would also get up at 5 if I’d let her but the rule is she stays in bed until 6. When I slip and start getting up later I end up getting to work feeling frazzled and out of sorts. So when the alarm goes off and I really want to hit snooze I try remind myself that being up for an hour is going to do me a lot more good than and extra hour of sleep!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — good for you!

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  9. Ann

    07/06/2018

    Yes! I like those early morning hours while the house is quiet! In the winter time, it is dark & quiet, a cozy time to light a candle!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you know, I actually have a harder time getting up early in the winter. The brighter summer mornings make it SO easy for me to hop out of bed. In the winter, I just want to stay curled up under the blankets!

    [Reply]

  10. Julie E

    07/06/2018

    I, too, am a morning person and always have been! It wasn’t until my oldest two children were probably 1 & 3 that I finally mastered waking up before my kids (I now have 4 kids ranging from 2-9 years old) but it makes a world of difference in my day (and really, our whole family’s day!). I have been so curious if you were noticing progress with your diastasis recti exercises. I have this condition also and have done the exercises off and on for a couple years now. I wish I could say I’ve seen changes but even when I do them very regularly and follow up with my PT, I have not been able to tell even the slightest difference!

    [Reply]

    Tina Reply:

    I have been interested in knowing what the excercises are and how the help too. My diastasis is huge( look very pregnant even though back a prepregnany weight) and I cannot afford therapy. Any little bit of info would help.

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    Patty Reply:

    Check youtube!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Tina, there really isn’t “one right way” to exercise these muscles — it all depends on your muscle structure, your body type, how far your muscles are split, etc. etc. so I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable giving you advice as to what you should and shouldn’t do (especially since many exercises could actually make it worse for you). You can find lots of information on YouTube or Pinterest though!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes to waking up early!! No, to much progress with the Diastasis recti 🙁
    I know it can be a long process, and I’ve lost some weight which I feel actually makes my stomach look MORE “out” but I’ll keep plugging away for now. I might take the rest of the summer “off” from my exercises and then start back up again in the fall. We’ll see.
    I definitely don’t have amazing ‘before and after’ pictures to share — but I suppose my muscles are stronger now than they were before!

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