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Why My Morning Routine Didn’t Work Well This Week (+ Day 7)

My Morning Routine

I spent the last 24 hours mostly offline because I was just soaking up some quiet, refreshing time with my family and dear friends here. After my bone tired week last week, a little time offline with life-giving family and friends was exactly what I needed.

But I still somewhat followed my new morning routine. Here’s how Day 7 went for me:

6:43 a.m. — I wake up and head downstairs to clean up the kitchen. I unload and reload the dishwasher.

My Morning Routine

7:06 a.m. — I make some coffee, do a quick clean up of our bedroom, and gather the laundry from the bedroom hampers and start a load in the washer. I also empty the trashes and take out the kitchen trash to the dumpster in the garage.

My Morning Routine

7:22 a.m. — I sit down and read my Bible, write in my Blessings journal, and read a chapter from Pursue the Intentional Life.

7:41 a.m. — I take one of the items out of washer that I need to wear today and stick it in the dryer (shh! don’t tell anyone it wasn’t all the way finished going through the wash cycle!). I head upstairs, put on my running shoes, take a few minutes to chat with Jesse, and quickly post two posts on my blog and schedule a few posts on Facebook. Then I head down to the garage for a really quick run.

8:18 a.m. — I hop in the shower, get dressed, and leave to meet a friend for coffee in town.

Why My Morning Routine Didn’t Work Well

So I’ve been analyzing why I’ve struggled with my morning routine this week. It’s not like the days were awful. By being intentional about my mornings, I got a lot more done in the mornings than I would probably have otherwise. I also did a much better job of not getting on the computer until after the essentials were done in the morning.

However, my morning routines this week have been a far cry from what I want them to be. I’ve gotten up quite a bit later than I wanted to every morning and that stems from the fact that I’m not going to bed early.

I know, so very earth shattering. Ahem.

But truly, if I could just go to bed earlier, I’m pretty sure that would have a big impact on my mornings. I wouldn’t struggle to get up when my alarm clock goes off. I wouldn’t hit snooze. And I’d probably actually get up on time.

Yup, I gotta just stop knowing this in my head. And actually, you know, DO IT. {Truth be told, this would fix most of our issues and problems, wouldn’t it — if we just stopped thinking about it, knowing it, and talking about it, and actually DID IT!}

So anyway, I’m making a public commitment to you all that this coming week I’ll be in bed, lights out by 11 p.m. every single night. I’d really like to move that back to 10 p.m. eventually. But you have to start small and set realistic goals. So we’re going with 11 p.m. for this coming week.

And to help me follow through with this commitment, I’m going to keep a log of what time I go to bed each night start Sunday evening and I’ll post this on my blog next Saturday.

How did you do on your morning routines this week? What are you going to change next week? What have you learned? Let us know in the comments!

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59 Comments

  • Tracy S. says:

    I’ve been up later than I wanted to this week, too. But I’ve been going to bed at around 10 every night. I had a couple of days where I didn’t even feel my alarm go off! I have been more productive, though so I’ll be happy with that and try and figure out why I’m so tired. Again, thanks for being so real! 🙂

  • I am finding my nights have a big impact on my morning too. I am waking up before work to exercise. I have to be at work at 5:30 am. Every minute in the morning is precious. I find that if I don’t take 15 minutes the night before to prep my food for the next day and pack my bag, then I struggle and feel stressed in the morning. Also if I stay up too late, that throws everything off because all I want to do is sleep in. I love this series!!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Oh my goodness, I don’t want to think about how late you’ve been staying up if 11 p.m. is going to be an improvement!
    I’ve been off my schedule the past week too, staying up way past my 9 p.m. bedtime. Part of my issue has been the days staying light longer. The light really energizes me. I’m wondering if I need to have a summer bedtime and a fall/winter bedtime?

    • Um, yeah. It’s BAD. I got into some bad ruts with our move and traveling… and I need to break those habits.

    • Tammy L says:

      My thoughts exactly! 🙂

      Thankfully I am rarely up very late… we stick to a 9pm bedtime but I still have trouble getting up at 5:15am (not by choice; this is the time I have to get up to make my husband’s breakfast/lunch for work). At least it’s light out this time of year, and not so cold… that does make it easier. 🙂

    • Genyne says:

      Jennifer, OMG! That’s exactly my problem….this summer daylight! It even effects my kids’ bedtimes. Our family tends to do everything later during the summer (dinner, bedtime…..) and I really need to do better. A light bulb went off when you said to have a summer schedule. I suppose we kind of do, but it’s sporadic, so I guess if I have an “official” summer schedule it will help (at least in my brain, anyway).

  • Karen says:

    getting up at 7ish is plenty early. I think going to bed before midnight is something I’d never want to do, esp if I was married. When do you ladies have adult conversation and time with your husbands if you turn in shortly after the kids!!!

    • Amber says:

      You put the kids to bed at 7pm… Older kids don’t have to sleep, but they have to be “restful” in their rooms. They can read, play quietly, write, draw, ect. It works for a lot of families I know.

      • brooke says:

        Mmmmmmmmm … older kids like to have time with their parents. It’s really a toss up … but my older kids want to watch something with us, hang out, talk. If we don’t give them to them, we are often failing them. I feel so selfish at night, but I’d already been warned that with a spread of little to big (ages 4-15) I will be burning the candle at both ends. Littles tend to get up early, bigs tend to stay up later. We have our littlest ones go to bed at 7:30 (lights out at 8:00). Then the two middle kids have “in bed reading at 8:30”. The oldest kind of slides into a lot later, but he’s 15. I’ve been around a lot of families who are more fluid with their time together, allowing fun to happen and conversations and such. I have seen the benefit in their relationships and have tried to be less rigid. My husband has trouble sleeping, but we still make an effort to get a chance to see our kids. During the day … just doesn’t always work really. And it’s not always when the teens want to talk. Late nights … those are when the teens want to talk.

        It’s a challenge. It really is. I don’t have a perfect answer. But putting my 15 year old in his room at 7 certainly doesn’t feel like that’s the one.

        • Amber says:

          15 is definitely a lot different than up to 4or5, that’s for sure! Should have been more specific… I’ve found this helps smooth the transition for new parents between having all “couple time” to having “couple time” and “family time”.

    • Some couples also have their time together in the morning before the children get up! Or you have the children in one room doing something they enjoy while you have a quiet dinner in another – that only works if the children are a hair older though (our 9-year-olds have handled pizza and a movie or board game just fine for a couple of years now).

      Lea

    • Rachael says:

      We go out for lunch when the kids are at school. It is a fabulous break from the regular workday.

  • Ginger says:

    I love that you’ve gone back through your week to identify what is/isn’t working, and have an idea of how to fix it! I’m the kind of person that needs lots of sleep, but being a mom meant that I was too busy to get that sleep. When I realized that our lives didn’t crumble completely around us when I started to go to bed earlier – I was kind of surprised! 🙂 I hope that you feel more rested, more energetic, and ready to tackle the day as you ease into going to bed earlier! Can’t wait to hear how it goes! 🙂

  • Anna Hettick says:

    I love these posts! They are so encouraging for me. I too am much more productive and happier with my to-do list at the end of the day if I get up early. But with our families schedules sometimes late at night is when I get my me time to write and so that can makes staying up late in the quiet house tempting. On the other hand I could also do my me time writing in the mornings as well as the usual chores if I went to bed earlier and got up earlier. So I feel ya! 🙂

  • Den says:

    I wonder if you should just give yourself the grace to sleep an extra 30 minutes each day……instead do your kitchen clean up after dinner so that’s not staring you in the face every morning? Maybe your body is telling you something?

    • Sally says:

      Good thought, Den.

    • I talked to my husband and we feel that going to bed earlier is probably the next step to try. If I still feel tired, we’ll try adding more sleep in the mornings. We want to try going to bed earlier and see what kind of difference that makes.

      {And just to clarify: we usually we do most of the kitchen clean up after dinner — especially if there are a lot of pots and pans, etc…. but there always seems to be stray dishes here there from bedtime snacks/drinks, etc. or the dishwasher that needs to be unloaded with clean dishes, etc. If I woke up to a completely full sink of dishes with dried on food on them, I’d probably want to just go back to bed! :)}

      • brooke says:

        Oh I know! After dinner I do all the cleanup / run the dishwasher / sweep the floor and then wake up to seeing that we all had popcorn last night, 10 people got a drink of water (there are “only” 7 of us, but they forget about their prior cup), one person had a late night bowl of cereal, another made tea, and in a roam of the house and patio I often find some stray items that got missed from this or that.

  • Sally says:

    My morning routine is very di ferent, but still productive. I get up later, yet still manage my to do list. My kids don’t get up until 8:30am and I don’t see the need to get up before them. I exercise around 7pm because it works better for me. And yes, I still get all the laundry, chores, cooking and homeschooling done. I also shower, exercise, read and read my Bible. My kids go to bed by 8 and 8:30 and my husband and I usually call lights out around 11:30 or midnight.
    I tried getting up at 6 for awhile, but no matter what time I went to bed the night before, I always tired by 2 or 3.
    I guess I feel that if it works for us and my goals are being met and I’m happy (which I wasn’t when I was getting up early), then that’s early enough for me. 🙂

  • Amy says:

    You asked how our morning routines have been…mine has been great the last two weeks. This month I am cooking breakfast M-F for a camp that I volunteer for. Camp David of the Ozarks provides a Christian camp for children of prisoners. It is such a great ministry providing hope where there usually isn’t any.

    I need to leave around 6:15 in the morning. Two weeks ago was the first week of camp and the first week of training for a half marathon. For my Tuesday and Thursday runs I was able to get up and get those in with a shower and make it to camp ALMOST on time. (Breakfast was on time, that’s what matters.)

    I don’t get much else done in the morning except get me and the kids out the door on run days, but I worked hard at getting up at 5 each day and using that time productively – though I can work on being more intentional about MWF.

    Thanks for the inspiration of working on morning routines.

  • I can’t agree more with the early to bed predicament! I have to be up by 6 and if I truly wanted to make an effort to exercise in the morning (like I know I should) I would need to be up shortly after 5! That means bed no later than ten BUT with a teacher for a husband (who also happens to be a night owl) accomplishing that is next to impossible in the summer months. Staying up and visiting with him is so much more fun! Like you said though, I just have to DO IT. Thanks for the motivation!!

  • Heather says:

    Waking up early has been tough this week for me too, but somehow today I rolled over and saw the clock at 4:11!! Needless to say, I went back to bed and woke up later. I need to get to bed earlier as midnight-1am isn’t cutting it!

  • Jamie Klotz says:

    For the person that doesn’t want to sleep before midnight, that’s not the best idea for your health. For yrs my husband would say sleep is overrated or we could sleep when we’re dead. Since then we’ve learned the value of sleep. Our bodies are naturally made to rise and sleep with light and dark. The hrs of sleep before midnight are significantly more important than sleep after midnight. Yes, as parents we sometimes sacrifice sleep to get alone time but as a whole that’s okay if you’re paying attention to it the rest of the time. 🙂

  • Sonja says:

    Crystal,
    Thanks for this post! This was exactly what I was thinking about myself this week! I need to get to bed earlier!!! It will help me a lot, I think! 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you!

  • I think that setting your goal for a morning routine is awesome! I have found that when I get a good night sleep and get up early I am FAR more productive. I also am just more productive in the morning in general. However, I have the same problem of staying up too late (usually to get things done I couldn’t because I got up late) and then sleeping too late. It is a very hard cycle to break. After reading your post though I am going to set the same goal (in bed by 11) for the week. I think reading about your progress will keep me motivated.

    So… I will be right there with you!

  • Melissa says:

    I too struggled with getting to bed on time. I was aiming for 10pm but was lucky if it was 11pm most nights. My biggest issues is getting sucked into social media on my iPad so new rule no more social media after 9:30pm. Despite not getting to bed as early as I wanted; my success this week has been to have the sink emptied, lunches ready, and clothes for the next day all set before I head upstairs to bed. My children are older 14 and 13. I have made it their responsibility to ensure we have a weekly dinner menu, of course I add the veggies because they do not) but that has helped a great deal. Now that summer vacation has arrived for them they have daily responsibilities they are to complete before I get home from work. My morning routine did not go as planned but I will celebrate the small successes and build on those.

  • Julie Emerson says:

    Well, after reading your post I am really jeolous that you can function after going to bed beyond 11 PM and get up at 6 something. I am a believer that each person has a certain # of hours of sleep they must have to function each day. I unfortunately must have 7-8+ . I fought it for years staying up late, getting up early, feeling exhausted the next day. I am a nurse working first shift( why medicine starts their day so early is beyond me!!). Well after 20 years, my suggestion is you have to find a routine that works for YOU. Not a routine that works for anyone else( church, work , family, hobbies, friends) . You are not your best to give others your best if you are not rested.

    So good luck and I look forward to your post next week to see how things went!

  • Kelly Love says:

    Are your kids heavy sleepers? I’m surprised at all you are able to get done in the morning without waking your kids. Mine sleep with a white noise machine in each of their rooms, but if I do anything other than tiptoe around in the morning, it wakes them up (they are 7 and 9). The laundry room is upstairs, so that makes sense that it would wake them, but even if I’m downstairs trying to unload the dishwasher quietly, within a minute I hear little footsteps.

    This morning my husband was making a lunch before leaving, and it woke them, so they were awake at 7 even though they REALLY needed to sleep late to recover from our week of day camp.

    Oh well, at least I can read and pray in the mornings, even if I can’t get caught up on chores. : )

    Kelly

  • Shelly says:

    I have been doing much better at getting to bed on time this week. Last week I was staying up too late but I still needed to get up on time to get my husband off to work and breakfast for the kids. So I was so very tired all week. That motivated me to get to bed on time. I hope this week you can meet your bedtime goal.

    I hear you on having time away from being online. I usually take two days a week that I don’t do much online, I try to get everything scheduled and then let it go to do things with the family. It really re- energizes me.

  • I have been getting up at 6:30, but not really getting to what I was hoping because I have company. Realistically I can’t get up earlier to beat the rush either. So all I end up doing in the morning is load up the washing machine and the dishwasher. No Bible reading or walking. “sigh”.

    But I want to go to bed earlier. I am only getting 6 hours of sleep and that isn’t enough.

  • Liz says:

    Perhaps it would help you to make sure the dishwasher is emptied and throw a load of wash in the washer on a timer before bed so that when you wake up in the morning, the only thing left to do will be to turn over the laundry to the dryer. That’s a good 10 plus minutes you are saving in the morning. I find it sooooo much easier to take 10 minutes before I go to bed to make sure the kitchen is cleaned up than to take the 10 minutes in the morning to do it. You would be surprised at how much time it will save!

  • Kimberly Crenshaw says:

    My goodness, you put myself and everyone I know to shame. I am lucky if I accomplish in a whole day what you manage in the morning. You may not be where you want to be, but you are doing amazing well. My goal is to get up at 5:30. However, we haven’t been able to get up before 9:00 since our vacation. It creates so much stress when you over sleep. But even when we are getting up early, I can never fall asleep before 2:00 am.

  • lori says:

    Your family has experienced big changes with the move and with your husband not going into the office every day. My husband works crazy hours, and the days he is home our schedule pretty much goes out the window. That might have something to do with your struggle as well.

  • Iva says:

    Summer has wrecked havoc on my schedule, as well. I’m staying up entirely too late. About the only day I’ve been “on schedule” is Saturday night because of church in the morning.

  • Kim says:

    Crystal–first, let me say you are a lovely inspiration and motivator for us women.

    After reading about your morning routine challenge, I accepted it this past week and was surprised at how well I did. Although, I have noticed that getting to bed earlier will definitely help. I get up at 5am to walk our dog and head off to the gym. 6:30, I come home to shower and get dressed. Around 7:10 is when I make a cup of coffee and sit down with my Bible to read, write in my Psalms journal and pray. I make my husband’s lunch. At 8am my kiddo gets up and we have breakfast on the patio together and get on with our day. I feel confident that this coming week will be even better now that I know what to expect and I have goals.

  • Charity says:

    I can so totally relate to this post on so many levels and the many comments here, too. Here I sit at 11:30 composing a post and checking my email, etc. last thing of the day instead of going on to bed, as I should. I teach school and so does my husband, so summers are really easy for our family to get off schedule quickly. It doesn’t help that I have recently finished a degree program (in May) that had me doing course work/degree work during the hours of 9:00 to 12:00 many evenings of the week during the school year. I am still trying to reset myself/my routine from that. It is very encouraging to hear how many are not only struggling with this but also reminding all of us to take it in small steps/bites so that we can actually be successful. Thanks to all of you for sharing, and Crystal, thank you for sharing through your writing. I have found much encouragement through being a subscriber to your blog. 🙂

  • Ann says:

    Off topic, but since you put up pictures… How are you liking your new washer and dryer? I’d love to hear – looking for a new set soon…

  • Joye says:

    I want to get the dishes put away and dishwasher reloaded every morning as well as get in a 15 minute yoga workout each day. I have kept up with the dishes, but admit I slacked a bit on the workout at the beginning of the week. I have been successful the last few days, however, so I am going to set the same goals for this week to hopefully make it feel a little more natural to be doing these things every day.

  • Our family often finds it “easier” to get into the habit of staying up late/sleeping in, but both my husband and I find ourselves far more productive when we get up at an earlier time in the morning and tackle tasks then. So, those late hours never lead to productivity. I read this post last night and was too sleepy (at 7:30 ha!) to respond. I fell asleep on the couch before my husband even had our kids in bed by 8. I think I’ve been up too late too often. I slept until after 6 this morning, and while still a little groggy, my brain feels much sharper. Sleep is so important to getting things done!

  • Great idea about the log. I find that I go to bed too late as well. It’s the one time I know the house will be quiet and I can do things uninterrupted, so I tend to stay up way too late. Thanks for motivating me to turn in a little earlier!

  • WilliamB says:

    I’m looking forward to learning how you conquer this problem. I have it also and any tips & ideas are welcome.

  • That was my problem as well! I do so much better waking up when my alarm goes off when I’ve gotten 7-8 hours of sleep! But like you, I still did better than I would have otherwise!

  • Andy Traub says:

    What, no selfies?

    😉

  • Pamela Marks says:

    I have been in and out of worrying and thinking about something that I can’t fix and it has really taken a lot of my time, and also has taken away from my blog. I need to let it go and move on.

  • Tiffany says:

    I can understand this. I want to get up early in order to workout. It doesn’t happen. Snuggling with my husband just feels too good. I am going to work with you and try to get out of bed earlier. Thank you!

  • Laura says:

    What wisdom to see late nights as your problem! I have to admit to not thinking much of getting up early, but my 14 month old has decided that 7 am is wake-up time, whether the rest of the house likes it or not, and honestly, it is probably good for us. However, my husband is self-employed and much more productive in the evenings, so he is often on the computer doing paperwork and research until after 10 pm. After that we have some time together, and then read a bit in bed to unwind, meaning it is very rare that the lights are off by 11. Any suggestions for how to reconcile my need for 8-9 hours of sleep, my daughter the early bird, and my husband the night owl? I am feeling a little pinched – and a lot tired.

  • Joyce says:

    The hardest part for me is also the getting to bed earlier part as well. There’s still time to get in a HelloMornings group. 😉

  • I was trying to be a 5am person for a while but it wasn’t very successful. I found that 6am works much better for me. I also found that 30 minutes of quiet time before my morning walk helps to wake me up and get me energized for the day ahead. By 7:30, I’m showered and dressed. From 7:30 to 8:30, I eat breakfast, check email and read my favorite blogs. By 8:30, I’m ready to start my day but I’ve already gotten a lot accomplished.

  • Susan says:

    You need to check this out:

    http://sleepyti.me/

    It’s helpful to know your circadian rhythm before you can arbitrarily pick a bedtime/wake-up time…but this calculator will help you figure out when you need to be ASLEEP in order to get up at a certain time.

    Sleep cycles go in 90 minute increments, BTW.

  • JeNae says:

    My kiddies are early risers and while my daughter is content to read in her room for awhile when she wakes up, my boys are go go go as soon as their eyes open! So to be able to have my morning prayer time, map out my day and get dressed I have to get up fairly early. I had been frustrated this past week because it seemed I couldn’t wake up before they did! It wasn’t until I read your post that I realized that I had let my bedtime slip while my husband was out of town. Unintentionally I had been staying up later to catch up on stuff, or had gotten sucked in on checking social media and lost track of the time. So this week I am turning the iPad OFF by 8:30 and am going to try and be in bed with lights out no later than 9:45.

  • Sara says:

    I am going to spend more time away from my phone and laptop each day. Starting with when my husband gets home from work until the next day. I find that owning an internet business is a 24/7 job and I am so exhausted by working almost 24/7. I will have a 12 hour break on checking email each day, and on checking Facebook and focus more on family and my own well being. I hope this creates more inner peace for myself and less exhaustion.

  • Amie says:

    I am off for the summer with the kids and we get up by 6:30ish, kids are in bed by 8:15ish, and then I nurse the baby. He will want to nurse again at 11 so I have been watching Netflix in bed. It is my guilty pleasure. I know I should be either sleeping or doing something productive during those 2 hours. My husband often dozes off so adult conversation isn’t an option. I am a teacher of mixed grades so I wanted to build on my content knowledge. Sadly, I keep telling myself, “Next week.” The summer will be over before I know it so my goal for this week is just 30 minutes each night looking over new content. I think it is definitely one of those things I just need to do instead of just thinking about it.

  • As my wellness coach says, “We have to change our “I should”s into “I must”s!” Going to bed earlier is always a challenge for me too! It’s hard to stop when there are so many things I want to do, but I have to remember that I’ll be a lot more productive when I’ve had adequate rest.

  • Some people just aren’t morning people (ahem… raises hand….). If getting up early is an issue why not just go to bed when you feel comfortable and get up a little later in the morning and adjust the schedule accordingly? That is one of the joys from working for yourself at home!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I won’t lie this last weekend my mornings had nothing to do with the house since my husband and I were at a convention all week. This morning should have been spent on the house but I heard a dirty rumor rain might come today and my yard was a jungle so I spent all morning mowing and doing some work in the garden. Heck I haven’t even done my blog yet today it’ll have to wait about to run out the door for lunch with hubby & groceries.
    Gotta love it when life throws curve balls but if every day was the same it’d get pretty dull.
    Have a great day and yeah I need to work on that to bed thing too. I seem to keep finding my bed a quarter after midnight 😛 Which means I’m a grouch in the morning and by 2 o’clock at work I’m finding myself taking ‘extended blinks’.

  • Pam says:

    I hear you! I don’t know why it’s so hard to go to bed on time – and I know that I’m just “stealing” from the next day, but that is my biggest struggle too!

  • Adriana says:

    I hope you consider extending your weekly check-in for another week sometime in the near future – you really inspired me. I was up at 5:30, ran/walked my 1.5 mile, and kids on time to camp. 🙂 Good morning!

  • Nikki says:

    This has nothing to do with your post, but is that an LG washing machine? We had one, and it exploded about a month ago. (Here is a picture: http://nikkis-notes.blogspot.com/2014/04/last-weeks-adventures.html) I don’t mean to scare you, just to encourage you not to let your children watch your clothes wash through the glass lid. Yours may never do what mine did, and I hope it doesn’t. But I sure am glad that none of us were in the laundry room when my washer literally exploded.

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