5 Tips to Maximize Your Mornings

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I am sure you have all heard or read about maximizing your mornings. Sometimes these articles put me on a guilt trip, other times they inspire me. My purpose here is to simply tell you what has worked for me in terms of making early mornings a reality. It is not to give you unrealistic goals that will only discourage you when you can’t meet them.

I don’t always get up early. I try to always get up before my children, but I don’t always do the 5 am thing. Just so you know. And there are definitely seasons when I don’t do it at all. When I’m pregnant or nursing I need more sleep. When I have a baby waking up through the night, I need to sleep when I can.

But when we are on a normal life pattern, mornings are an excellent time to get a few things done. And my days are much smoother when my children wake up to mom already well into her day, than mom still trying to pry her eyes open.

Tips for Making Mornings {a little} Easier

1. Plan the night before.

Have you ever gotten up early in the morning only to find yourself wandering around the house not really getting anything accomplished? I have! Why did I get up early anyway?

Spending a couple of minutes the night before outlining specifically what I want to do when I wake helps motivate me to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. It also gives me direction when my mind is still in that early morning fog.

I have found the more specific I am, the more success I have. If I am going to write a blog post, I outline it the night before. If I have done the thinking already, I can write early in the morning. If I have no plan, I’ll just stare at the computer screen. If I am going to run first thing, I put my stuff right by the door so I don’t have to find my stuff in my foggy state.

2. Know Yourself.

I don’t usually read my Bible first thing. I hope that doesn’t bring your estimation of me down. But I know myself. If I get up and walk to the couch to read, I will be asleep in no less than 2 minutes. If I manage to stay awake, I don’t get much out of my reading because my brain is still foggy. If I do at least one thing before reading that usually gets my mind going enough to be truly awake.

3. Set realistic goals.

This is not about putting yourself on a guilt trip about getting up at 5 am. Really, it is not. Sleep is important. Getting good sleep and knowing how much your body needs are essential. Most adults need between 71/2 and 9 hours. Know what your body needs and set realistic goals accordingly.

4. Start slowly.

Don’t go from getting up at 8am to getting up at 5am. You will set yourself up for defeat. Some people like to set their alarm clock back 5 minutes each morning until they get to the target time. I like to do it based on goals. My main goal is to get showered and ready for the day before my kids get up. Then I slowly add goals from there.

5. Know why you are getting up.

Is it because someone else has made you feel guilty? That is not a good reason that will help you stick to it. For me, I know my day goes better when I am up and ready before my kids. Knowing that really gives me motivation. If I am adding more to my morning than just the getting up, it is because I have a specific reason. Either it is because I have a goal I am trying to reach, or I know that the morning is the only time of the day I will be able to do it. If I don’t have a good why, I will never stick to it.

Mornings have the potential of giving you a great start to your day or making you feel defeated before you even get there. Knowing the difference between realistic expectations and laziness is crucial. It is not lazy to get the sleep you need. And for you that might mean you need to sleep later in the morning. Laziness is sleeping when you should be doing something else. Know the difference and set realistic goals accordingly. It doesn’t matter if that is 5am or 7am.

October ‘Before Breakfast’ Challenge!

During the month of October I will be posting on Facebook what I get done before breakfast. My goal is to be more consistent with my mornings.

I would love if you would join me! I will be posting at least one thing I got done before breakfast. You can add a comment with what you accomplished with your mornings. However little or much, it won’t matter!

It doesn’t matter what it is. Maybe it is simply drinking a cup of coffee in the the quiet before breakfast. Maybe it is getting your shower. Or maybe it is accomplishing some other goal before breakfast.

It doesn’t matter what time it is. Your breakfast may be at 6 or 9. It won’t matter to us. Just let us know something you got done before breakfast.

Will you join me? Like my Facebook page and join us in this very low pressure challenge.

What tips do you have to maximize your mornings? Are you up for the October ‘Before Breakfast’ Challenge?

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  1. Working With Our Body to Maximize Self-Control
  2. 5 Tips for Living Without a Dishwasher

Comments

  1. Who’s breakfast?=) I don’t always eat at the same time as my kids.=)
    I think you have so very good points. I get up early-generally at 4:30 2-3 mornings a week, and by 6:00 most every other day but Sunday. I get up early because I love the early quiet. I too do not read my BIble right away. Exercise is generally first. It wakes me up. Coffee before running, but after swimming.

  2. Naomi says:

    I try to get up around 5:45 (to be up before Caleb). I do try to do my reading semi-first thing in the morning, but I find it helpful to make a cup of hot tea, empty the dishwasher or start a load of laundry to get me moving a bit. If I can accomplish one small thing while the tea is brewing it helps. Even if I only get my tea made & Bible/commentaries, etc. spread over the table before he wakes up I still feel “ahead” of him. Then when he goes back down I can take time to read. I shower a bit later b/c I do a morning walk (Scripture memory) either just before or after Caleb’s first feeding. Shower never happens until he’s down for his first nap, unless I’m going out early that day. I’m sure this routine won’t always work, but for now I’m loving it!

  3. Love your tips! And I don’t read my Bible immediately either, for the same reasons – I’ll either fall asleep or get nothing out of it. I do try to get to it immediately after I eat breakfast, because my brain is usually awake enough by then to function. ;)

    • Johanna says:

      That’s actually a really good idea–doing it right after you eat. I have been reading about how eating early in the morning is important to get the metabolism going. I bet if I ate even something small it would help me be more alert!

  4. Elizabeth Kane says:

    This is a tough venture for me since I’m a night owl – but I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the last few months. My biggest struggle is having a consistent time I wake up in the morning. Trying that small scaling back in wake up time you mentioned, on top of knowing how much sleep I need will help. And I definitely have to have a plan when I wake up that I made the night before! If I don’t have a set “this is exactly what I will do in the first 5-10 minutes of waking” the waking up process goes very badly. I will find tons of reasons to press that snooze button if I don’t have that one thing planned the moment my alarm goes off.

    • Johanna says:

      “this is exactly what I will do in the first 5-10 minutes of waking” — Exactly! If I don’t do that, I’m the same way, I “plan” in bed and you know what that ends up meaning. ;)

  5. Erika says:

    I am very excited about your emphasis. I had already decided to refocus my mornings this fall (the last 2-3 months have required a laxer view of “routine” than typical around here!), so some external motivation will be great!

    And the morning before breakfast is truly a valuable time for anyone, especially this homeschooling mama!

    I can attest to the value of planning ahead–having a purpose for getting up helps me tremendously. I have also at times included praying specifically for God’s grace to help me wake up and hear the alarm clock and get right up! I really needed this help when I lived on my own as a teacher. I’m someone who can still sleep through alarms, thunderstorms, and even crying children sometimes. (And I am greatly blessed with a kind and understanding husband who is a wonderful father!!)

    I love this line from Katherine Mansfield’s “Feuille D’Album” describing the painter Ian’s room: “On the wall beside the bed on a level with your eyes when you were lying down there was a small neatly printed notice: GET UP AT ONCE. “

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  1. [...] in the Before Breakfast Challenge. It’s been so motivating to see know you all are trying to maximize your mornings along with me. I’d love to have you join [...]

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