I am a part-time (2 nights/week) RN, and a full time wife & mommy! On my days off, I attempt to live a “normal day shift” life. Any tips to get the most out of my mornings? -Andrea
This is such a great question, Andrea! And I think that my answer will be one that can apply to anyone who is wanting to make the most of their mornings.
As you consider and work on being intentional with your mornings, I encourage you to ask yourself two questions:
1. What do I need to do?
Think about what you must do in the morning. Or what you really should do.
Things like cleaning up, pulling something out of the freezer for dinner, organizing, laundry, bill-paying, phone calls, and errands.
Also, consider what you need to do to stay refreshed and energized. You might feel like this is not truly a need. But I believe it is.
Why? Because if you just keeping going, going, going and never stop to refuel your personal “tank”, you’ll soon be running on empty. And you can continue to try to press forward and live on fumes, but you’ll soon find that you are completely drained and lifeless.
So yes, it is a need to make time to refresh yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s something that needs to be high on the priority list.
Making time to recharge your batteries will make you more productive, more efficient, and more energetic. This, in turn, will cause you to be a better wife, mom, and employee. Plus, you’ll just enjoy life more.
Take some time to think through what energizes you. Maybe that’s taking a nap, reading, savoring quiet and a cup of coffee, decorating, crafting, cooking, spending time with friends, exercising, gardening… find at least a few things to include on your days off that will refuel your tank.
Once you’ve determined what you need to do every morning, create a morning routine based upon these things. For more help in creating a morning routine, check out this post on How to Develop a Morning Routine. I’d include 5-7 items on your morning routine list and make them a mix of things you must do and things that will refuel your tank.
Commit to following through with this morning routine every single “off-day” morning for the next three weeks. Ask a friend or two to help you stay accountable so that you stick with this commitment.
2. What do I want to do?
Once you’ve determined what you need to do and create your morning routine based upon this, then comes the much more fun part. Ask yourself: what do I want to do?
Take a pen and paper and start writing down anything that comes to your mind in answer to this question: re-decorating your living room, learning how to blog, investing in your elderly neighbor, taking a wood-working class, learning a foreign language, teaching a skill to your child, trying out a new grocery store. Whatever comes to your mind, write it down.
Then, take this long list and pick your top five priorities off the list. The top five most pressing things you want to tackle first or those that will make the greatest impact on your life. If five sounds overwhelming or like too much, start with 2-3.
Look at your list of these few priorities and think how can I make a little slow and steady progress each week to help me get where I want to be next year?
Start mapping out what this looks like for the next few weeks. For instance, if you want to learn a foreign language, find a 30-minute block on your off mornings that you can focus on taking an online foreign language course. Or if you want to teach your toddler a new skill, set aside 15 minutes early in the morning once your morning routine is done and they are up and dressed to work on this skill.
It’s amazing how 15 or 30 minutes of focused effort a few times per week can really start to add up to progress on our goals!
I encourage to work on your list of priorities right after you finish your morning routine. If you don’t do it first thing, there’s a good chance it won’t get done. In addition, it will make you feel fulfilled and more productive the rest of the day. So just do it!
You might find it helpful to assign themes to the days you’re off work. Maybe one day is your errands day, one day is your baking/cooking day, and one day is your extra projects day.
I also encourage you to try to have at least one day where you stay at home all day. For me, at least, there’s something very refreshing about a quiet day at home. And not only that, but I find that it helps me to be more productive if I have at least one day where I’m not running around doing different things but instead can focus on projects at home.