How to Find More Time in Your Day

If you’re a mom (especially a young mom) who is feeling like you don’t have enough time in your day, head over to my post on MomLife today for a simple tip that has helped me have more peace and sanity — plus made me feel like I have more time in my day.

You’re free to disagree with me (hey, what works for me might not work for you!), but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. :)

Looking for more time management tips? Be sure to check out my Time Management 101 series.

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Comments

  1. Shelly says

    I tried committing myself to this this past week. I failed, partially do to the fact I haven’t been sleeping very well and partially because out of the blue my son has rearranged he sleep schedule to waking up an hour before he usually does…. Sigh :0( maybe next week!

  2. Diane says

    I wouldn’t be able to run if I didn’t get up by 4:15 or 4:45 every morning. It means I nap with my daughter to keep functioning but I think it all works out.

  3. Katy says

    The up side is when they become teenagers you don’t have to wake up so early to be awake before them. the down side is if I don’t do it at 5:30am it probably won’t get done that day. Whatever “it” is for the day.

  4. Emily says

    I’ve always gotten up 30 minutes before my children from the time they slept through the night. I mainly started doing it so that I could get my shower and get myself ready for the day in peace. I can’t imagine doing it any other way now.

  5. Candi May says

    I’ve always gotten up first. On the rare occasions that I didn’t, for whatever reason, I felt TERRIBLE and seemed behind all day long! But I hadn’t been getting up early enough (just 15 min. or so before I had to get going). Well, a few weeks ago, I began setting my alarm clock 10 min. earlier each week. By going in small increments and giving my body a week to adjust, it hasn’t bothered me in the least! Try it! :)

  6. Dina says

    I’m not able to do this now because I have a 5 month old. However I also have a 4 year old amd from about 11 months until recently I was able to get up before him. I think once the baby is alittle older and on a more consistent sleep schedule I can do this again :) It was a great time to do some items on my daily chore listn

  7. Sarah M. says

    ‘Tis true! If I can get dressed and drink my tea before my kids are up, I feel so much better. If I also get my morning devotions in, my day is fabulous. I just tried running in the morning for the first time yesterday, and I will try again tomorrow. It’s tough to get up at 6am or earlier for me, but I’m trying really really hard lately. I know I’ll never get on the treadmill if I don’t do it in the morning while my husband is around to handle the kids!

  8. Carrie says

    I wish I was a morning person, but I’m a night owl. I found that I do better doing things at night. I take my shower at night. I try to get all the bags ready for school/work at night. And when (not nearly enough) I exercise, I use my eliptical at night.

    Years ago, when I was selling Avon, working full-time, and had only three kids, I would pick one night a week to stay up until midnight and get caught up on things.

    This may not work for everybody, but it sure kept me organized.

    • Amy says

      same here! I CAN do things in the morning, but I’m much more productive in the evening (i.e. late night). ;) It works for us and I have no plans of changing it! However, I do agree that getting up even 15 minutes before the kids helps me to be more prepared for the day, even if all I get done is coffee and breakfast. :) Chores in the morning before they get up are a RARE occasion around here though. ;) BUT they are done before I go to bed that night!!

  9. says

    This is a great idea! I’m always tired so going to bed earlier might be the way to go. Getting up earlier than my daughter will help my day as well. Thanks for the idea :)

  10. Laura Oller says

    I use to routinely get up 30 or 45 minutes AFTER my kids (there were lots of reasons why). I was recently inspired by your 20 days to a more organized home to start getting up 15-30 minutes before them. It’s been really hard but the days I do, I really do feel like I get more done. And the days I don’t the morning slips away before I really seem to get much of anything done.

  11. J says

    Getting up earlier or staying up later to get caught up and ahead on projects worked very well for me when my children were “littles”.

  12. blaire says

    I tried this too for a few days last week and the week before. It was great! I still didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did feel like I got a lot more accomplished those days. For the past few days my munchkin has been getting her molars in so she hasn’t been sleeping very well and getting up earlier than she used to which makes for a very tired mama, but when her sleep schedule gets consistent I plan to try this again!

  13. says

    I don’t hear anyone talking about their husband’s opinion on this. Maybe other people’s husbands don’t care when their wife gets up, but I’ve been told by mine that he wants me to stay in bed with him on weekdays until HE is ready to get up (usually about 6:45am). He likes the time we have together to just cuddle and sleep while we’re hitting the snooze button a few times. :) He’s the night person, so this is important to him. I get up earlier than him on Sundays so I can have a shower before the kids get up (and on Saturdays when he likes to sleep in much later than the kids need to be up and eating breakfast), but otherwise, I’m submitting to his request of sleeping in. Hey, I’ll take it!

    • Charity says

      I could have written this comment! My husband is the exact same way about the snooze button and snuggling, especially since I am up at least once a night to feed the baby. I wouldn’t trade my snuggle time with my husband for a few more things to be checked off my to-do list. :D

      • says

        If your husband is wanting you to sleep in, then definitely do — I probably should have put some disclaimer on the post about that. :) As always, what works for me necessarily work for you so guiltlessly do what works for you! :)

        • Charity says

          You are so sweet Crystal! I guess this is one of those areas that mommies can compare themselves to others and then we began to feel guilty if we feel like we aren’t doing the “right” thing. But really it’s not a “right” or “wrong” thing, just a “what works for me, maybe you might wanna try this” thing. :)

  14. Stephanie says

    I totally agree. I love getting up early. I almost always get up before the kids. It is a challenge some days to do it and to make sure I use that time productively. I allow time in my afternoon for a short nap if needed and although, I rarely use it for a nap, knowing it is there helps alot.

  15. Dana says

    I think this is great advice, it may not work for all with very young babies but in general it’s great. I wake up before my girls (get up for work and start my day) and they my MIL comes over to stay with the girls and helps getting them to preschool at times. I also do some work in the evenings after bedtime catching up on laundry, reading, etc. My evenings are much more productive than my mornings. It’s been a hard lesson but trying to get things you want to do with kids takes a lot of creativity to get it done by keeping them involved in the activity so they don’t get bored. Good sage advice! Thank you

  16. says

    I agree it sounds like a great idea. Currently though I have a 18 month old that is a terrible sleeper and is up often by 5:30am. I can’t even imagine dragging myself out of bed before her, when I’ve been up with her 5+ times during the night. Some day I hope to get more sleep in my life and have the day feel like it is going a lot more smoothly.

    • Danielle B says

      Just a bit of encouragement for you:
      My first child was like that. No one else around me really understood, because their children were on pretty regular sleep routines. No matter what we tried, no matter how consistent we were, he just could not sleep through the night.
      He would wake up anywhere from 3-7 times a night to be tucked back in, have water, or just have me sit beside his bed. It was a long, tiring, painful time and I was alone since no one else understood what I was going through. When he was 20 months his little sister was born, and honestly, there were days I thought I would die from sleep exhaustion.
      Then at about 3 years old, my son just figured sleep out. He started sleeping for four or five hours at a time, plus his little sister was a great sleeper by that point. Slowly he went up in time, and now he sleeps ten straight hours every night.
      This time will pass, and you will start sleeping again. Your child will eventually figure sleep out and start sleeping in larger and larger chunks of time. Until then, nap during the day if at all possible. Beg your husband or family or friend to step in on the weekend and get a two or three hour nap. I know you probably know all these things, but just wanted to say “I understand, I’ve been there, and it really does get better.” :-)

    • Melissa says

      Hang in there, it will get better, though I’m sure it doesn’t seem like it. We adopted a 17 month old from a tough situation, and she had been a preemie as well. I don’t know how I survived the whole sleep issue with multiple night wakings, and not going back to sleep and demanding to be carried etc through out the night, and then not napping in the day to top it off!

      By the grace of God, a book was recommended to me – Healthy Sleep Happy Baby by Dr. Weissbluff. Although we weren’t comfortable following the cry it out principle given the background of our child, his idea of putting them to bed early was miraculous! After slowly backing her bedtime up to 6:30 pm she began sleeping through the night and waking later in the morning (5:30 a.m., but later than before!), and eventually sleeping for naps! I write this in case this book might be of help to you! I know just how hard it is not to sleep, on your day to days and your health!

      Blessings!

      • Melissa says

        And, no I didn’t get up before her! I tried once she started sleeping in later, but she would wake up with the sound of the shower etc, and that was a blessing, as I needed to catch up sleep more desperately than I needed to be ahead on my day. It’s a season, some day you may be able to get up first, but take care of yourself!

  17. Courtney says

    Getting up early was a sanity-saver for me when my kids were little. Now that they’re a little bit older and are involved in sports and other activities, I’ve found that it’s much harder to get to bed at a decent hour. Our evenings are just so much busier now, and of course, the kids are awake later, too. Sometimes I miss those days of early bedtimes! :)

  18. Melissa says

    An awesome idea! I loved doing this when my niece was living with us. I would actually get up about an hour before she would, which meant that when nap time rolled around, I got to nap with her because I wasn’t behind on my chores. Anyone who’s lived with a snuggly kid knows how awesome it is to nap with them! ^_^

  19. B says

    This would be great if I didn’t pass out after the baby finally went to sleep and wasn’t awaken by my older child in the morning. Both of my children also think that I need to be with at least one of them at all times, and it’s very tiring.

  20. Eryn says

    I have been doing this since January. I wake up about4:15, wake up our 3 month old, drink my coffee, check my favorite websites and nurse. It is a nice way to start the day. My husband is home 2 days a week and I love staying in bed with him, but if I do the whole morning is chaos. This morning I didn’t get up until 5:30 and 3 hours later I still feel like I haven’t caught up. Everyone should try this for at least a week. You will feel so accomplished.

  21. Kay says

    Crystal, I prefer posts where the content is on your page and I don’t need to open another page to read. I think this approach can work well, however, if there is additional information the author wishes to convey. Please consider avoiding “teaser” posts like this in the future in favor of posts with immediate content!

    • says

      Thanks so much for sharing your opinion. I always appreciate others’ input!

      Just to clarify, though: I’m a regular contributor to MomLifeToday.com so when I guest post for them (or elsewhere) I like to send you over to the blog I’m guest posting at to read the full post. I can’t post the full post here as the content is theirs’, not mine.

      Since so many people appreciate knowing when I’ve posted elsewhere, I plan to continue posting teasers to these types of posts (don’t worry! I usually only guest post on other blogs a few times per month so it’s a very small percentage of the posts I run) for those who would like to go read them.

      However, as always, you’re more than free to skip clicking over to other posts. Read what you’re interested in here and skip the rest! :)

      • Kay says

        Thanks for always reading and responding to comments I make directly to you. You often bring up something new I hadn’t considered.

  22. stephanie says

    Maybe one day this will work for me but right now my one year old shares our bed and he wakes up when I’m not there! Every now and again I’m able to sneak out of bed and he will sleep another 30min. It is really nice when it happens, but it is rare.

  23. pamela says

    I am not a YOUNG mom by any stretch of the imagination…but I am the mom of a young child. :) I find I need to get up earlier than she does, but it’s okay if my tween and teen are already up.

  24. says

    I used to try to do this. My children love being with me, which is wonderful, but it also means that as soon as I move to get up, they all get up. Getting up earlier does not give me any time alone. But I did find putting them down for quiet time earlier in the evening, gives me a few more hours!!

  25. says

    I get up 2 hours before the kids to work out, shower, and have my quiet time with the Lord. It’s “my” time to declutter my thoughts, do something positive for myself, and be prepared for the day. I love having the house quiet and a little dark- all by myself! :)

  26. Lisa says

    I can see this being handy for moms who work outside the home too! At least, I think it could really help me.

    • says

      Absolutely! I know many of the moms of young children who read here are also work-outside-the-home moms so I was thinking of them as well as stay-at-home moms when writing this.

      • Meredith says

        I work full-time and this definitely helps me. I shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast before I have to wake my kids. It helps the morning go so much more smoothly. I highly recommend it. I usually like to do it on the weekends, as well, but sometimes the warm, comfy bed is too hard to resist!:)

  27. Jenn says

    So true that getting up before the kiddos is so helpful to the start of your day! However, I take exception to the “especially if you’re a new mom” part :-) I’m 40 and find myself busier now than I ever was when I only had small children. I’ve often heard how young moms with young children need a “break”, have it so tough and that’s not been my experience-all phases of life and motherhood have their challenges. I miss the days when I only had littles and when they napped, my time was my own-to nap along with them or scrapbook or whatever. So enjoy those days and don’t expect things to get easier, they just change :-)

    • says

      From what I’ve seen, I always say that I think it’s a lot harder to be a mom of older children — because you’re dealing with much bigger issues than just who gets to play with the green legos.

      That said, I’ve also heard that older children tend to want to stay up late at night and talk, so getting up earlier might not be as feasible as it was when they are younger and going to bed earlier. That’s what I had in mind when I said that, but thanks for your comment so I could clear up that possible misunderstanding!

  28. Terri says

    I am so thankful to read this post today. I have been praying about how to manage my home when I have to go back to work full time after my maternity leave with my second child. This is just the encouragement I needed!

  29. says

    I think this is a great tip for any mom whose children currently sleep through the night. It really does work. I can get so much more done if I get up before the kids, then if I try to stay up after they go to bed to do it, especially now that mine are older and stay up later. However, if you have little infants that don’t sleep through the night, then I would skip it and get your sleep, and try to make the most of nap time instead.

  30. Natasha says

    I wish I could go to bed earlier and get up earlier! As a FT student and a almost FT 2nd shifter, along with being a mommy and a wife, its nearly impossible! I don’t get home until 1130 5-6 nights a week and stay up until midnight to check my email and get things ready for the next morning. Ahh…only 5 days left for the semester and like 3 weeks until I can sleep in every day(my daughter gets out of school the week of Memorial Day) :)

  31. says

    LOVE this article and totally agree. I don’t want to be selfish, but if I don’t get up early and have a little “me” time before my 2.5 year old and 9 month old wake up, I feel like I’m behind all day and I’m just a regular crab! I’ve never thought of myself as a morning person, but I’ve come to love 5 am!

  32. Marcin says

    Actually this is so true. I’ve been waking up earlier than my family on occasions and i got more things done in an hour before everyone is awake then when i wake up. It’s like magical. Even if it’s just one or two things i get done, i feel like I’ve done more thing than that. Plus i get to enjoy a cup of coffee in quiet, which is amazing! Let’s me think and brain storm. :)

  33. jerilyn says

    Except for during pregnancy I’ve been getting up at 5 am for a few years. My baby is now 9 weeks old and I’ve just resumed by early morning wake up time. I’ve missed it so!!! I get up and read my bible in the quiet. Drink my coffee while it’s quiet. And quietly exercise on the elliptical. Then I take a shower and it’s still quiet. Notice a theme? :) I also get to check my email, unload the dishwasher, get breakfast ready, etc.

  34. says

    I love having quiet in the morning. It definitely sets the pace for the day, and gives me a calm start. I seem to have a child with mom-dar, though, because I can’t get up to use the bathroom without her hearing and waking up. Sometimes I will just lay in bed and read my Bible (being extra quiet), and that gives me the peace I need to start the day. Everyone has to do what works best for them!

    • says

      It’s funny the things moms do to have that time! I know all the creaky places in the floor and avoid them like crazy when I don’t want to wake anyone! :)

  35. Joanna says

    I have a husband who wants me to stay in bed and snuggle as well, but we’ve worked out a compromise. M-F we get up together at 5:30, work out together, then get the kids up and ready for school. Saturday and Sunday we sleep in a little and have our snuggle time. Works for us! :)

  36. Allison Voges says

    Crystal, this is completely true. I have wanted to tell you how your 4 weeks to organization inspired me to do this. Since I work and have no other adult in the home, I barely have time for the basics around the house, so I didn’t even try to do your assignments. BUT, God seems to work on me in themes, and between your posts suggesting getting up and taking the day head-on, and a few other choice posts on enjoying the “mess” of my children (Ann Voskamp, namely), I decided to start getting up earlier.

    I have NEVER been a morning person. I have ALWAYS given myself the barest minimum amount of time in the mornings. With three small kids, getting out of the house and off to work on time has been a challenge. So like a lightbulb – duh! – I decided instead of getting up at 6:30 and scrambling, I’d get up at 6:00 when my alarm first went off. I asked a friend to do it with me, but she poo-pooed the idea, so I went it alone. And it has worked! For three weeks now I’ve been getting up earlier, and it has been wonderful. I even had a schedule change at work and don’t have to be there until 9:00 now, but I’m sticking with my 6:00 wakeup time. My mornings are when I’m most productive, and now my house is cleaner, my laundry is folded and put away, I’ve even had time to grocery shop! I do my hair. I have cuddled with my kids and read books to them. Someday I may even find time to get back into couponing! It took me 30 years to figure it out, but it has been wonderful. I’ve gone from a ridiculously chaotic single-working-parent life to finding some calm in the storm, just from getting up 30 minutes earlier.

    Thanks for helping me along the journey towards some peace. I’m taking baby steps and this was the first one.

  37. Julie H says

    I would do this if I could, but past experience has taught me that if I get up earlier, my 4 yr old hears me and gets up earlier too. Any ideas for that?

    • says

      As I mentioned above, my 3 year old does the same thing. (And since she doesn’t nap, I try to maximize her AM sleep as much as possible!) I stay in my room, sometimes still in bed, and mentally and spiritually prepare for the day. I’ll do a devotional or read my Bible, or start my to-do list, or even just do a few stretches next to my bed. No, I don’t get laundry done, or breakfast made, or even a shower in for that matter, but I do get a little quiet time to start my day calmly. It’s a season of life…once they’re teenagers I’m sure we’ll be begging them to wake up before noon :)