My dream morning routine includes getting up early. Not crazy early like 4:30, but maybe closer to 6:00. Getting up early just does something to help the day feel more productive.
But even though an early morning routine is always a goal of mine (and I have gotten up early in the past and absolutely loved it), I’ve gotta be real. In the season of life I’m in right now, getting up at dawn is not what works for me.
I can’t help wondering sometimes if part of the reason God is allowing this pandemic is to get us to slow down. We are a busy people, always rushing here and there, always pressing towards the next goal, always working to grow our businesses, always doing.
I know that I spent the first month in quarantine cramming my head with as many online courses as I could fit in and finding productive projects to fill my time. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I think I burned myself out, and I knew I had to slow down.
So I changed my focus. One of the main things I changed was the time I set my alarm for. I used to think I had to get up early in order to have a good morning routine. But morning routines change with different seasons of life.
For me, the Coronavirus means more time with my family. I’m a total introvert and savor my alone time. But I can get selfish with my time. So, the season I’m in right now is one where I need to spend quality time with my family, especially my younger sisters… which means less of a planned-out schedule, later nights (and thus later mornings), and being available for long conversations and spur-of-the-moment walks.
Okay, enough about me. You probably clicked on this post to find out how you can have a successful morning routine without getting up early, and that’s the whole reason I wrote this post! On to the tips.
#1 – Get Enough Sleep
This is super important and often overlooked! I still remember the night that Mom told me, “If you need to sleep later, do it. You’re going to make yourself sick staying up late and getting up early trying to get all this work done.” That took a ton of stress off my mind that I didn’t even realize was there.
After all, if you don’t get enough sleep, it will slow down your mind and body, even without you realizing it. And though getting up really early can be important, if the season of life you’re in right now means that you’re getting to bed late at night because it’s just not possible to go to bed as early other people… sleep later.
I have to get a minimum of 7 ½ hours of sleep every night. But I really need to get 9 hours of sleep every night in order to function at my best. We’re night owls over here, so it’s hard to go to bed at 9:00 when the rest of the family is just starting to do something fun. I can choose to go to bed early and miss out on some great family time, or I can stay up and have a later morning (nowadays, usually anytime between 7:30-9:00).
I know that you morning birds probably view those as late times to get up, and I know that earlier morning hours make for a more productive day, but for me right now, it works.
So whatever works best for you, do it. Just make sure you get enough sleep, because that’s important. 😉
#2 – Have Quiet Time First Thing
And don’t check messages or social media on your phone. Those can wait.
I used to exercise immediately after getting out of bed, which woke me up, but then I was ready to get started on my day and was tempted to forgo my quiet time with God entirely.
Recently, I’ll open my Bible app on my phone and read five Psalms as soon as I turn my alarm off, because looking at a screen does wake me up to a point where I won’t fall back asleep. (And that should be another tip: don’t hit snooze. Just set your alarm and get up the first time it rings. Or set multiple alarms, but don’t hit snooze. Don’t ask me why, but it helps.)
Fun fact: If you read five Psalms a day, you’ll get through the entire book of Psalms in 30 days. If you read a Proverb a day, you’ll get through the book in 31 days. Just swap them out each month and you’ll have read each book six times by the end of the year!
After those five Psalms, I’ll grab my Bible and do a little more in-depth reading, and then usually finish up with a Christian inspirational book or devotional.
Whatever your quiet time looks like, whether it’s early morning prayer, as I know a friend of mine does (and I admire her greatly for it; I would fall asleep if I did that first thing!), or a quick verse or two or a devotional before fixing breakfast for the family and then a more focused quiet time later on, or something similar to what I do… I encourage you to at least spend a little bit of quiet time first thing, before you do anything else (okay, maybe after putting some coffee on…). There’s just something special about giving God the very first part of our day.
#3 – Make a Plan for the Day
This does not have to be detailed or scheduled out. I’m a checklist girl. Following a strict time frame stresses me out, and I work a lot better with a list. If you’ve made a plan the night before, just review it and update it with anything that may have come up or changed overnight.
Whether you just have a general list, a segmented list, a time-blocked schedule, or whatever, something that really helps me (and is highly recommended everywhere else you find time management and scheduling tips) is to determine the three most important things to accomplish. Whether you get anything else done or not, if you get those three things done, you’ve met your goal for the day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be three things exactly—it could be just one or two, or maybe five—but having the mindset that “if these things get done, it’s been a successful and productive day” really helps.
If you want an idea of what that looks like, this daily planner page has a space for a time schedule, as well as a place for your top three things. You can find it on the free downloads page. If you don’t have the password, you can get it by filling in the little box below!
Now follow the plan—but be flexible!
You’ve enjoyed a good night’s sleep, you’ve gotten your focus on track by spending time with God, and you’ve made a plan for your day. Now enjoy a good breakfast, maybe linger over a second cup of coffee while chatting with a family member, and then face the day with a smile!
… Or maybe you haven’t gotten quite enough sleep, your quiet time was interrupted by a family member’s need, you weren’t able to write down a list, and you’re mopping up spilled breakfast while your coffee’s getting cold.
But you know what? It’s okay if it doesn’t work out. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:21-23), it’s true, but they’re also new every moment. Give yourself grace, pray for patience and a positive outlook, and press on. Sometimes the most precious memories are made at the least expected times, so look for something good in your messed-up routine. And try again tomorrow. 🙂
Whether your morning ends up great or not so great, it is beneficial to stick to a morning routine. Yours may look completely different from mine, and that’s okay! We’re all unique and all have things that work best for us.
Finding practical tips always makes me happy, so drop a comment below with your current morning routine or other tips that you find helpful and make me happier. 😉
Until next time,
P.S. Want to save these tips for quick reference later on? Pin this list to your Pinterest board!