Guest post from Hannah of Affordably Natural Life
A few years ago, I read Crystal’s book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and was determined to make some changes.
I was coming out of what I call “baby coma”—the period of at least three months following the birth of a baby where you have no sleep, no normalcy and no idea what’s going on.
I started making daily lists, working on goals, and trying to use my time more effectively. Of course, this was interrupted by another baby, and the process started all over again! After my second “baby coma” was mostly over (and this one lasted at least a year!), I tried to get my head above water again.
What I really missed was that feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment when I had finished something or met a goal I had set… and that’s when I decided to take Crystal’s Make Over Your Mornings course.
Now, please understand that I am in NO WAY a morning person — in a perfect world, I would wake up around 10 AM every day!
The other issue for me was that my husband (a firefighter) works shifts that constantly rotate every week, so there is no Monday through Friday week for him. I work for a nonprofit ministry as a counselor, and schedule my work around when my husband is home. It’s fantastic to save on childcare, but makes it really difficult to have a weekly routine.
I started the Make Over Your Mornings course with no great expectations (sorry, Crystal). I knew I hated beginning the day with no time to myself after I was woken by my children, and I also knew I grew frustrated more quickly that way. The point was to have good time with my kids, not be annoyed and not feel behind the whole day!
So, here’s what I did (following Crystal’s direction) to change my mornings and allow me to be productive and do more than I ever imagined!
1. I made a list.
Every evening, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish the following morning and put the list on my vanity where I would see it as I got ready for bed. I had to remember why I wanted to get up early or there was no chance I ever would.
My list started with hot coffee! I wanted to be able to make coffee and drink a whole cup while it was still warm, rather than rewarming it six times in the microwave after I forgot it while chasing the kids around. I also included time with God, time for work (emails, writing, etc.), and time to read a few pages of a book.
2. I started small.
I decided to start small with my goal. I knew if I told myself I had to get up every day of the week, I would quit. Since our work routine changes every week, I didn’t have that to help schedule things. So, I started to base my early morning schedule around my son’s preschool days.
I thought I could do three mornings a week, and that would help me be less harried in getting him to school on time. I slowly moved up from there until I was getting up early five days a week (most of the time).
3. I made good use of my time.
Crystal advocates making your to-do list for the next day the night before. I went through that list and chose the things that needed to be done early.
The priorities were time with God and coffee. Then, I started in on my list for the morning until one of the kids got up, or I reached my time limit for waking my son up for school.
If I’m going to get up early, I want to feel that I’ve accomplished something during that time!
4. I prepped the night before.
I tried to have the kitchen cleaned up, the coffee stuff prepped, and all the things I needed in one place so I wouldn’t have to spend time looking for it. It really didn’t take that long the night before, but it changed my outlook for the early morning instantly.
I always say that Crystal is the woman who has taught me how to be an adult, but what I mean is that she has given me the small steps that add up to being able to do the big things I desired to do but couldn’t figure out how.
In getting up early, I have had more time with my kids during the day because I’m not worried about that email I need to answer or stressed because I haven’t had any time to process before the day begins.
I am also much more productive when I’m not multi-tasking and trying to manage the kids while doing some work.
The results of this early morning routine have been pronounced.
I have been very productive in my regular job, have started a natural living blog on the side, have actually read some books (which otherwise doesn’t happen unless I’m on vacation!) and have been able to be more present with my kids on the days I am with them. So thankful!
Hannah Morrell lives in Colorado with her husband and two kids. She works for a nonprofit Christian ministry, and writes for the natural living blog, Affordably Natural Life. She started this blog because of her passion to help newbies figure out how to live more naturally while saving money. And coffee. She drinks lots of coffee.