This week we have a guest post by Emily Swanda. She is a success and productivity coach for high achieving women.
For those of us with kids, our mornings can be the most stressful and difficult part of our day. I am a firm believer that our mornings dictate how the rest of our day will go. If you start out on a rocky road it probably means the rest of the day is a downhill slide to rock bottom.
Having young people to take care of makes it crucial to have a system in place so we don’t lose our minds before 8 a.m. A few years ago I would go through my whole morning routine, get the kids ready for daycare and by the time I arrived at work at 7:45 a.m. I needed a break!
It was only a few weeks of experiencing this stress and overwhelm did I create my ideal morning routine so I could truly enjoy the first few hours of my day and those precious moments with my kids before being at work all day.
I have 2 sons, ages 10 and 8, and after lots of trial and error we have our morning routine down pat. Keep in mind that I got serious about my morning routine when my oldest was 3 and my youngest was 6 months old. The routine looks different now but the same key components are the same.
Here are the 5 tips I recommend you use to create your own morning routine.
1. Start your morning early: Earlier than everyone else in your house. You will be truly amazed at how much you can accomplish when the rest of the house is snoozing. The things I like to accomplish during this time is self-care. It’s so much easier to take care of other people if you’ve already met a lot of your own personal needs. The focus can really be put on your kids and getting their day off to a great start if you’ve already had a great start to your day. Everyone’s idea of self-care will look different but here is a glimpse at how I start off my day.
I get up by 5 a.m. and go for a run or do an exercise DVD in my basement. I love the Insanity workouts and P90X. When I’m done working out and am cooling down, I pull out my journal and spend about 5 minutes writing about what I’m grateful for, what my goals are and anything else that’s on my mind. At this point I am ready to shower and get myself presentable for the day. I love to listen to podcasts as I do this so I can double up my productivity.
After I’m ready, I can focus on preparing breakfast and then waking up the kids and getting them ready.
2. Drink a liter of water: Our bodies are mostly made of water and we feel so much better when we are hydrated. It’s easy to forget or just not notice how thirsty we are when we have so much going on in our day. If you start your day out with lots of water at least you begin the day doing something healthy for yourself.
3. Do one quick household chore: This trick has really helped me feel like I’ve got my act together even if I’m slacking on the overall household cleaning. If I can quickly empty all the trashcans in the morning or wipe down the bathroom mirrors I feel like I’ve earned a gold star. That little confidence boost follows me around the rest of the day. It’s fun to see how many small wins you can achieve before even going to work.
4. Have the kids’ clothing, bags, lunch boxes, etc. ready the night before: Eliminating as many small tasks in the morning as you can should be a priority because your mornings will begin to flow smoothly instead of being a bumpy, stressful event. You know that phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? It’s so true!
5. Ten minutes before you need to leave the house, do your whirlwind clean: This is a list of tasks that need to be done before we can leave the house. I have my set of tasks and my kids have their set of tasks. They know that we will not leave until their whirlwind clean is done.
The tasks the kids have to do are: 1. Make bed 2. Put PJs away 3. Brush teeth and hair 4. Breakfast dishes in dishwasher 5. Put away any toys/belongings in the living spaces back in their rooms.
My set of tasks are: 1. Wipe down kitchen counters 2. Dishwasher emptied and ready to load 3. Make sure all lights are turned off.
I love the fact that I no longer have to list off each task I want the boys to do and I don’t have to nag. I simply say, “Time for whirlwind clean” and they know all 5 tasks to do and then they head to the car. They know their expectations and I know mine. Just this simple trick has helped eliminate so many morning battles which helps keep our mornings positive and happy.
So there you have it! Having an organized, happy morning doesn’t have to be rocket science but it does have to be intentional. It will take some practice to figure out exactly how you want to design your own morning but once you get it right, you will know!
And if you'd like to work on creating a night time routine so that your mornings go off without a hitch, click here.
About Emily Swanda
Emily is a Productvity and Success Coach for high achieving women.