Before I got pregnant with Maya, I was the queen of the morning routine, and I loved my hyper-organized life. I felt so energetic and accomplished. Fast forward to six months after Maya’s arrival, and my life is totally in shambles! No, seriously. I’m not exaggerating.
Things are waaaay more hectic now, and my mornings are extremely haphazard. I feel like I’m running around like a crazy person from the time I wake up until I get to the office, which is usually way after I’m supposed to be there, and even then it takes me at least an hour to focus enough to actually start working. My mornings are getting the best of me, and I’m wasting a lot of time.
This week I decided to make some changes. On Sunday I sat down with my notebook and started jotting down what it is I currently do every morning. I soon realized that the reason why I never seem to have a handle on my mornings is simply because I’m doing too much…
- I get Maya ready for her day with my grandma: I change her diaper and put her into some play clothes; then I wash and fill her bottles, I put out a few changes of clothes and extra bibs, and I stock up her changing station with diapers and wipes. Oh, I also put out some of her toys so she and my grandma can have some fun.
- I schedule a car to pick up my grandma and bring her to our apartment.
- I pump and then wash and sterilize the parts to my breast pump so that I can pump at work.
- I wash dishes from the night before and then pack my lunch (if I have time).
- I check email and my calendar and try to put a few things on my to-do list for once I get to the office. I’m usually doing this while I pump, which is also when I eat breakfast (sometimes breakfast is an Ensure).
- I check the weather and figure out what I’m wearing (usually after discovering that what I really want to wear needs to be washed). Some mornings I shower, and then there are other mornings…
- I end up throwing my hair into a ponytail because my curls are dry (my edges are literally in the worst shape they’ve ever been).
- I fill in my brows and throw on some mascara. On a good day, I can actually get some foundation on my face, but those days are few and far between (maybe twice a month I can actually do a light beat before work…)
- I switch purses and make sure I have all my stuff for that day: phone, wallet, keys Metrocard, cash and Kindle. I grab my pump and I’m out the door, although usually 45 min – 1 hour after the time I was supposed to leave.
I’d love to have the time to eat a real breakfast, put on makeup, and wake up knowing what’s on my agenda for the today (as opposed to figuring it all out right before I leave for the office). Oh, and I’d love to be ready to leave for work on time; so I’m working at getting my mornings under control.
If You Want a Productive Morning Routine, Start the Night Before
If you want to start your morning on the right foot, you’ve got to go to bed at a decent time
The first problem with my mornings is that I wake up way too late. Some days I’m not crawling out of bed until 8:30 AM, and then I’m scrambling to get out of the house by 9:00 AM. I think the best mornings start nice and early. Not too early to where I wake up tired, but early enough that I have the time to walk through my morning at a leisurely pace. For most of us, an early morning means a relatively early bedtime.
Related post: How to Wake Up Early Every Morning
I don’t really have a set bedtime anymore. Maya’s bedtime routine starts between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM (depending on how our day is going), and she’s asleep about an hour later. I’m up for a few hours once Maya has gone to bed so that I can have some time to myself before she’s up again (usually, about midnight), but I don’t do anything productive. So rather than stay up until midnight doing nothing, I should try getting to bed earlier and so I can wake up with enough time to get ready for work without feeling like I’m rushing.
Use your hours in the evening to prep for the next day
My mornings are jam-packed, and they really don’t have to be. Instead of running around like a crazy person all morning doing chores, there’s a ton of stuff I can do before I go to bed at night:
- Wash dishes and tidy up
- Setup Maya’s clothes and toys and prep her bottles
- Pick out my outfit for the next day (I can even do this once on the weekend and plan my outfits for the entire week)
- Prepare lunch for me and Q
- Plug in my travel charger
- Pack my purse
Doing some prep the night before could end up saving me an entire hour in the morning–an hour I could use to have a decent breakfast, do my makeup (finally), play with Maya, or pray with Q.
Plan ahead – write your to-do list the night before
Because I never have the time to write my to-do list or review my calendar before I leave the house, most mornings I’m heading in to work with absolutely no idea what I need to get accomplished that day or what my calendar looks like. It’s quite possibly the worst way to start the workday, especially now that I run an entire department!
I’m very good about making sure that I save my downtime at home for myself and my family (and not for work), but it’s important to be prepared. So I’m going to try saving my last hour at work for planning and prepping for the next day. That includes writing my to-do list (in Evernote, so I can view it later and not have to carry a million notebooks) and arranging my schedule for the next day (I block out time on my calendar for specific tasks, which really helps me stay on track). If I can do this every evening, then the only thing I’ll need to do in the morning is quickly review Evernote and my calendar (and I can do that on my phone while I wait for the train).
I read a life-changing tweet by Mattie James the other day: Manage your attention, not your time. It’s so true: we only get 24 hours, and the key to living life feeling balanced and fulfilled is paying attention to what’s important. The key to a morning that doesn’t feel rushed and hurried is giving your attention in the evening to the things that can make your morning that much easier.
What do your mornings look like?
How do you use your evenings to create a productive routine for the next morning?
Share in the comments!
(Especially you working moms out there…I’d love to hear more about your morning routines!)