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Early to Rise Challenge: Don’t Live Today on Accident

Welcome to the Early to Rise Challenge! Throughout the month of March, I’m challenging myself and my readers to make the most of their mornings. So every week day morning at 9 a.m. EST, I’m posting a short Early to Rise post. I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the day’s passage from Early to Rise, tell you what time I got up that morning, and encourage you to leave a comment to tell us what time you got up and how you’re doing on the challenge.

Don’t Live Today on Accident

You have a choice today: you can stumble through life just trying to make it through and survive the day. Or, you can live today on purpose.

Which option do you think will give you more fulfillment and productivity? Living each day with intention will give you much more energy and passion for life, not to mention that you’ll probably end up doing a lot more things that matter!

Andy mentions in today’s Early to Rise passage making out a framework for your day. I love this and it’s something that I do every single day. It’s likely the Type A in me, but I just can’t stand to live my days without some sort of plan in place. 🙂

So, either before I go to bed at night or first thing in the morning, I write out the to-do’s for the day and create a simple order for the day. I write a targeted time beside each item on the list and this helps to keep me on track. However, I don’t feel constrained to stick exactly with this time; it’s more of a ballpark figure.

The structure for most of each day is somewhat similar around here, but because my husband and I are both self-employed, there are variables and no day is exactly alike. So, instead of trying to stick with a scheduled formula of sorts for each and every day, making a fresh plan each morning has been really helpful for this season of our lives.

Do you have a plan for today? If not, take 5 minutes right now to make out a simple game plan. The little bit of time you invest in this will likely pay off in big dividends throughout the day!

Related post: My Top 3 Tips for Getting Stuff Done

What Time Did You Get Up This Morning?

I got another great night’s sleep last night! Went to bed at 9:30 p.m. and got up — without an alarm! — a little after 5:40 a.m. My phone was dead, so I had to charge it up before I could get a picture of the clock. 🙂

What time did you get up? Leave a comment and let us know!

Join in the Chatter!

Want to blog about this challenge? If you’re blogging through this challenge with me, be sure to leave your link to your direct post for today below. Plus, if you’d like to post your daily posts to the Early to Rise Group Board on my Pinterest page, just shoot me an email (moneysavingmom @ gmail dot com) and I’ll invite you.

Want to follow along on Twitter or Instagram? Each week day morning on my Facebook Page, my Twitter account, and my Instagram account, I’ll be posting a picture of my alarm clock as public accountability. I’d love to have you do the same or join in the discussion on Twitter and Instagram. Just follow hashtag #EarlytoRise to see what others are tweeting and Instagramming about this challenge!

Other posts in the Early to Rise Challenge series

  1. The 30-Day Early to Rise Challenge Begins on Friday (grab your ebook for just $4.99!)
  2. Early to Rise Challenge: Day 1 (Your Mindset Matters)
  3. Early to Rise Challenge: Wake Up With a Plan for Your Day
  4. Early to Rise Challenge: It's Not Always Easy (and am I the only one who thinks drinking coffee black is crazy??)
  5. 15 Things You Can Do Each Morning to Make Your Day More Successful
  6. Early to Rise Challenge: Adjust Your Attitude
  7. 11 Things to Do Tonight to Set You Up for Success Tomorrow
  8. Early to Rise Challenge: Change Your Life By Taking One Small Step at a Time
  9. Early to Rise Challenge: Find the Artist in You
  10. Early to Rise Challenge: "It's Your World, So Change It"
  11. Early to Rise Challenge: Swim Upstream
  12. Early to Rise Challenge: Focus on Other People
  13. 5 Steps to Start Your Day With a Better Attitude
  14. Early to Rise Challenge: Find What Motivates You
  15. Early to Rise Challenge: The Halfway Mark!
  16. Early to Rise Challenge: Choose Who You Will Be Today
  17. Free printable: 17 Ways to Set Your Morning Up for Success
  18. Early to Rise Challenge: Don't Live Today on Accident
  19. Early to Rise Challenge: Be Quiet
  20. Early to Rise Challenge: Face Your Day With a Smile
  21. Early to Rise Challenge: Find an Accountability Partner
  22. Early to Rise: Share Your Success (and why I have a new crazy-early wake-up time!)
  23. 11 Things You Can Do Tonight to Set You Up for Success Tomorrow (free printable)
  24. Early to Rise Challenge: You're Not Alone
  25. 5 Ways to Keep Your Sanity with a Newborn
  26. Early to Rise Challenge: Begin Your Day With Prayer
  27. Early to Rise Challenge: Don't Settle for Average!

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  • This section hit close to home time management. I sometimes feel I am in a constant rat wheel that never gets anything done. I am taking charge of my day today.
    Loving this challenge. Thanks for taking us through it. Encouraging!!!

  • Amy Lauren says:

    6:15 for me today, which is really good! It’s a bit dreary here so I’m glad I was able to get up on time! Having a structure really helps, especially me since I work from home and am at home most all day. Even the simple act of getting dressed, getting moving first thing in the morning makes a huge difference in my productivity.

    • Crystal says:

      Isn’t it amazing how getting dressed and getting moving makes a difference?!

    • Sarah says:

      Oh, it’s the same for me. The first few months of working at home I though “I never have to take off my pj’s!” But it really does drag you down when you are working from home and are not dressed. So funny how that works.

  • Sarah says:

    Up at 6:50am. Another terrible night of sleep. You know it’s bad when at 4:30am you start thinking “I should get up and clean the bathrooms…that’s quiet and won’t disturb anyone else.” Sad part is that I *should* have gotten up. Instead I laid there until I eventually fell into a deep, deep sleep…20 minutes before my alarm went off.

    While I do have a plan and a to do list today and have intentions of living my life on purpose, I think I may end up on the “stumbling through life and surviving the day” path. We’ll see. Sometimes the key to a day like today is to just stand up and start moving…and make sure you don’t stop.

  • Becky says:

    I woke up at 5:25 today. I am not a type A so any discipline I have in my life has been a conscience decision & required a great dose of discipline for me. My husband who is a type A always tells me to make a list, write it down, have a plan, but even that requires great discipline for my type. And when our type does write it down, we have to discipline ourselves to actually use our list as a guide…lol! We can be a hot mess. But that’s why I LOVE your blog and all your activity on Twitter because it nudges me to a higher level of discipline, goal setting, menu planning, etc.! I have made some progress in these areas! Thanks for all you do!

  • The daily to-do list sounds like a good idea. I make weekly goals but not daily, and I haven’t been doing well lately hitting my weekly goals. 🙁 Maybe the daily to-do list would help keep me on track better. Thanks for the tip…

  • cheri says:

    Sat down first thing after my quiet Bible reading time to make a list….when I completed it and looked it over I realized that over half the items to do involved feeding people….I guess my kids like to eat 🙂

  • Shelly says:

    I was up before my alarm today at 6:07. I have to say having a plan for my day has changed my life. I used to just go from one thing to the next whatever needed to be done at the time and would wear myself out running constantly but not really getting much done.

    I started this year with a goal to have a plan for each day, nothing structured just a basic plan of what needs to be done. The list just helps me to focus on what is important for that day and helps me to stay on track. Which in turn gives me time to do more of the fun stuff I love.

  • Sarah B says:

    6:30! Yay! Usually it’s more like 7. I had time to read my Bible this morning AND do the kids’ memory verses and devotional before we had to leave for school.

  • Susan says:

    Awoke at 5 AM, then got up at 5:15 AM, before my phone alarm went off at 5:30 AM. Leaving house at 7:30 AM to drive to a nearby city for an outing. Looking forward to this!

  • Jillian Kay says:

    I shut off my alarm last night due to sick kids and interrupted sleep (and going to bed too late after blog research/fooling around on Pinterest), but I was happy I still got up at 5:48 am.

    Today is an easy day to be intentional because I am in the office, have a big job to program, and a much awaited seminar at noon. Plus my DH is cooking dinner tonight. It’s the days when the kids & I are home, it’s raining and they’re messing up rooms as soon as I can clean them that it feels like I’m on a hamster wheel never getting anything done!

  • G says:

    I am embarassed to say that I just can’t get up in the morning! Today I pushed myself out of bed at 7:15! I am a working mom and this is not acceptable. I like the idea of this challenge and I am sure that my husband will too so that the morning rush doesn’t fall so much on him. Going to bed at midnight is a habit I really need to break.

  • Anne says:

    Lights out last night at 11pm. Set alarm for 7am. Up at 7:30.

    Being a family with older children at various ages/stages/schools creates a myriad of schedules. Those schedules, believe it or not, make me less productive because being the constant “Time General” is mentally draining for me. I fight being the crabby nag when I am responsible for constantly watching the clock and keeping the people moving within the family. I crave open ended days in the summer when I can start my day at 6am without interruptions and school year pressures. I enjoy my family a lot more and I like me better too.

    • Crystal says:

      That does sound like it would be draining… summer is coming, though! 🙂

      • Anne says:

        sorry if this is a double post.

        I re-read your daily post. Writing a to-do list BEFORE I go to sleep just may be the ticket.

        My day is more productive if I have a general list of tasks I want to accomplish. Even writing that list down in the morning is something I avoid because I let it be too overwhelming.

        Crystal- you just may have solved my problem!!

    • Kelly says:

      Just wanted to share something that has worked for me. As a mom of 5, I know all to well about being the *time general*. Now only my youngest 2 (16 & 15) still live at home. Putting their phones to use has helped me with keeping them moving. I force them–I mean strongly encourage!–them to set various alarms on their phones as reminders of important times they need to take responsibility for. Things such as an alarm that goes off 10 min. before they need to be walking out the door to school, another for when it’s time to put the phones away at night, etc. These can be regularly occuring events or maybe it’s just a one-time deal.

      It has really made a difference in how much I have to watch the clock! I might as well put that technology to use for my benefit! It’s also taught them to take more responsibility. Just the other day, I heard the 15 yr old say, “I need to set an alarm for that.” WITHOUT any encouragement from me! 🙂

      • Angie F. says:

        Great use of technology Kelly! (Jumping in late here, sorry) So often, those phones can be a source of irritation and we are competing with them instead. 😉 Love those “YES!” moments of victorious motherhood, when our kids (especially our teens) surprise and delight us…and we get confirmation that all the tedious (& sometimes so frustrating) hours of training them up pay off. Congrats! 🙂

        • Angie F. says:

          Oh Anne, I do hope your burdens seemed a little lighter, planning for a successful day the night before! My heart just goes out to you. My bed and rise time are similar to yours due to having teens in the house too. Only two left out of 4, and a hubby who is now self employed. Still a VERY busy life, but not as overwhelming as it once was. Take heart, this too shall pass for you.

          Remember to breathe deeply each day, give each day to God to order for you and prayerfully try to put strategies into place that will help you set a calmer tone to your home and each day. Hanging on by your fingernails, mentally exhausted through three seasons of the year is a tough way to live and that level of stress is never good for our health, or the well being of our families! It may be time to call a family meeting, sit down together and evaluate/problem solve how to make things go smoother and keep Mom aka “the Time General” from going grayer! lol

          I used to call my days of crabby nagging “being the Schedule Nazi” and I know I sometimes found myself barking orders like a military sergeant, especially when trying to get everyone out the door! I can remember the days of 3-4 different grades/schools, keeping track of 5 different calendars full of activity, and a CRAZY daily schedule! Made it through, but I have memories of some very rough start (tearful, them AND me) mornings and days that now make me cringe to recall. God is good though and His grace is sufficient. We all survived, and even thrived. All 4 of mine have become pretty self sufficient and overall capable self managers, with only an occasional nudge and assist from me these days. (The goal is after all to work ourselves out of that role!)

          I have taken to using a family manager wall calendar (Sandra Boynton makes a cute one!) in the kitchen that has a column for each member. This way, everyone can see at a glance where everyone has to be when. We often use the end of dinner time to discuss what is on tap for the next day, who’s driving who and what is needed or expected, right down to who gets the first shower and what time everyone is getting up. It helps everything to go smoother the next morning, with minimal surprises or arguments.

          I recall reminding my oblivious crew more than once that there was only one of me and 4 (5) of them, so I could only handle so much at once! It was absolutely necessary to my sanity (and their survival lol) that the older they got, the more I set the expectation that THEY were responsible to get themselves up and out the door, with lunches packed and all (or most of) the items they would need for a successful day set by the front door the night before. Mom’s taxi was scheduled to leave at a certain time, with or without them. (Btw: it is much more preferable for them to suffer the consequences when they are younger, of not planning well, then to enable them to be lazy or rely on me and my hubby too much…and then be young adults who never learned to manage themselves or be responsible. We don’t go to college with them after all!)

          With my teens, I decided that their lack of planning and/or communication did not need to make my life crazy trying to catch the dropped and bouncing balls of their lives. For instance, forgetting to tell me that they needed to take brownies for the youth group party that night, or were supposed to show up a half hour ago for a car wash fundraiser, did not constitute an emergency on my part! My hubby and I also talked over our schedules, and theirs with them. What was truly necessary and of high priority (school, church on Sunday, jobs) and what was not (4 extra curricular activities?). Sometimes we had to set limits, such as one child in one sport each season, or only the oldest that year, with the youngers knowing their times would come too, but for now the whole family was there together, supporting the one.

          Families can get so overcommitted and overscheduled these days! We don’t have to be. We took a step back and chose not to be. (Including deciding to homeschool our teens) It taught our kids not to be selfish and think the whole world revolved around them or that I was there to serve their every need and want. (I enjoy serving my family, but not when my young ones approach it in an entitled manner.) These changes made our home a saner and more peaceful place to be and our days much smoother. Our communication improved and our family is closer, and more respectful of one another, than ever. As parents, rejoice in and enjoy our delightful, and more responsible, young people more than ever, though none of us are perfect and some days go smoother and more peacefully than others! Now, I don’t know your circumstances, I’m just sharing things that helped and worked for us in ours.

          Praying for you today and for the rest of the challenge. Be blessed Anne! 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    So I think I have semi mastered..well minored my morning schedule. Waking up early has seriously changed my life because I am waking eagerly with a purpose. The only thing is that I think I have hit a wall at around this time each morning. I wake up at 5 a.m. and get in my coffee, Bible, conversation with God, excerise, read and walk in as well as getting my husband off to work and my little guy up and going for the day. I am just finding that 5 hours into the morning about this time now I am not as productive. I am basically getting all of my responsibilites done earlier in the day but maybe this is an ok problem to have. I think I never thought I would come this far this fast so I need to now focus more on the second half of my day since I can see I have the potential for being more productive now. I plan to start my research on homeschooling for my 2 year old, add in an afternoon run, and focus more on pouring into others moreso than I am currently doing. A new updated goal list is certainly in order since I have found more hours in my day!

  • It was hard to get up this morning since it was dark and rainy but I managed to drag myself out of bed at 6:30. As for a plan, I couldn’t survive without one! I thrive on checklists and schedules. 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    Up at 5:05am. I have made huge strides in the past 5 years with planning my days out at least a little bit. It has brought a lot more peace to my life than in the old days where I’d hurry from one task to the next to the next to the next without having an over all plan to guide me and it was a terribly inefficient use of my energy. I have learned and proved to myself that a little structure is indeed not a scary or bad thing! 🙂

  • Leslie says:

    I set my alarm every morning except for Sundays at 4:50 am…I often don’t get up actually until 5:05 or 5:10 but I’m on the eliptical most eveyr morning by 5:30 at the lastest. It is also during this time that I put up dishes, sweep the floor and clean up kitty litter (an every day job) and fold/put up clothes.

  • K Quinn says:

    Love today’s post. I’m all about making a schedule. You get so much more done with one. I keep forgetting to update where I’m at. My body is naturally waking up between 6:30 and 7. This is excellent. Now if I could just go to bed earlier I wouldn’t be so exhausted. I’m cramming in a sewing project for my daughter’s birthday so that should end this weekend.

  • Melodie says:

    Up at 6:05 today. Woke up to the alarm at 6, but took a few minutes to relax and prepare myself for the day. I really need to work on my time management more:-/. I have a difficult time balancing work and home and the sad thing is we don’t even have kids yet. So things tend to pile up and when I get the drive to do something and put a list together I go over the top and plan to much….which of course leads to burn out! I love the suggestions and advice on this blog because they have helped me so much!!!

  • Karen says:

    I have always been an early riaser. But lately I have not been getting much done in the mornings like did before. I like the idea of making out a plan. Helped me alot.

  • Kate says:

    I got up at 6:15am (yesterday). 🙂 I did better than Monday! (My goal is 6am). I am finding anything before 6 and I just won’t get up.


  • Kate says:

    Oh and I wanted to add to your comment about being a Type A and having a plan in place, I don’t know if it’s just being a Type B person or what, but even when I write a plan, I have a hard time sticking to it. Following written directions is hard for me. Sometimes I lost my plans too!


  • Brooke says:

    I didn’t post yesterday and I didn’t even check the exact time today because I slept in (woke up around 9:30ish) – it was my birthday! I really enjoyed today’s chapter though. I’m such a list person as well, although I don’t do the times on my list – which I want to try!

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