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Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge: Day 3 (Create a Morning Routine)


Welcome to the 7-Day Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge. Each day this week, I’ll be blogging through the 7-Day Challenge. If you’ve not signed up yet, enter your name and email in the orange sign-up box at the top of the page here and you’ll get the daily emails and challenge in your inbox.

Create a Morning Routine

Do your days feel chaotic and disorganized? Do you feel like you’re always behind and always running around in circles?

You need a routine. It will calm your chaos and bring rhythm, order, and peace to your days.

A routine is a plan for the flow of your day. It can be very basic and bare bones or it can be more specific. However, it is not a regimented schedule with detailed time blocks for how you’re supposed to spend every minute of every day.

While a rigid schedule works well for some, we’ve found that a routine is much more doable for our family–especially since our children are younger and my husband and I both have our own businesses. No day is exactly the same, so the flexibility a routine provides is perfectly suited to allow for the interruptions that inevitably arise.

5 Steps to a Successful Morning Routine

The best way to start yourself out on the path to success with a routine is to create a morning routine. Here are 5 steps to creating a great morning routine:

1) Make a List

If you’re anything like me, you’ll come up with a bunch of ideas of things you’d love to do each morning. You’re just brainstorming right now, so your list can be as long as you’d like. In fact, I’d recommend that you take a half a day to mull over what you want to put on your list and to keep adding things as they come to mind.

2) Pare It Down

Once you have a nice long list made, sit down and really evaluate the items on there in light of what is going to make the biggest difference in your day and what are the most important things you need or want to accomplish each morning. You can organize the list in order of priority if that helps you to categorize things more clearly.

How to Create a Morning Routine

3) Pick the Top 3-5 Things

After you’ve cut your list down to the top 8-10 things you really hope to do each morning, cull it down even farther to the 3-5 most important things. {If you couldn’t come up with a long list, well, you’re going to make it a lot easier on yourself! And I wish I could be more like you and not have such high hopes and unrealistic ambitions! :)}

4) Put Your List in a Conspicuous Location

Write your list of 3-5 Morning Must-Do’s down (or make a fancy document on the computer if you’re all tech-y like that!) and then put this list in a very conspicuous location. You could even put it multiple locations — on your refrigerator, in your laundry room, on your bathroom mirror.

Do whatever it takes to be constantly reminded each morning to stay on task. It takes awhile for something to become a habit, so the more reminders, the better!

5) Stick With It For 3 Weeks

Commit to following through with your Morning Must-Do’s every single morning for the next three weeks. You might not always hit them all each morning and, unless you live in a cave and don’t have any electronics nor interact with other human beings, I’m positive you’re going to have some interruptions.

Don’t let these things throw you off track. Do the best you can do, stick with it, and keep plodding along.

At the end of three weeks, stop and re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Tweak your list or your morning plan, if need be (maybe wait to have your coffee until your morning list is done?!), and then keep the Morning Must-Do’s practice up.

For more ideas and suggestions, read my series on How to Develop a Routine That Works and my post on 3 Things to Do To Have a Better Morning.

How to Create a Realistic Routine

Today’s Challenge

Create your ideal morning routine. If you don’t have any structure in your life right now, this one action will make a big difference in how you approach each day.

Take some time right now to write down the five things you need and want to do each morning. Things like exercise, read and pray, clean up the kitchen, wake and feed the kids breakfast, and prepare lunches or even dinner.

Think about how much time you will realistically need. Whatever those five things are, commit to getting up and doing them first thing tomorrow and then consistently for three weeks.

Today’s Project

1. Read Day 2 of the 7-Day Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge (type in your name and email address in the orange box at the top of the page here if you haven’t signed up yet).

2. Share your morning routine in the comments. Ideally, this will be a list of 5 things (or less). Commit to sticking with this morning routine as best as is possible every morning for the next three weeks.

My Morning Routine

  • Get up, read Bible/devotional, journal, pray
  • Exercise, shower/dress (depending upon what time I get up/my schedule for the day, this sometimes gets bumped to after blogging work)
  • Check e-mail, clean out e-mail inbox
  • Writing/blogging work
  • Breakfast

Your turn: What’s your morning routine? Share it in the comments!

photo credit; photo credit

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  • Jessica says:

    LOL, mine varies by the school year and day of the week, as well as how many times I was up with the baby. Last night I was up with her at 3:04am until 3:40, and again 4:38 until 4:55. I got up for the day at 6:25am.

    We just had two “snow days” added on to the winter break due to dangerous wind chills here in Ohio, so that was 19 days of basically no routine!

    Now that school is back in session, it’s time to get back to ‘normal’ (whatever that means) around here.

    On a school day, I get up no later than 6:30. I take my thyroid medication (must be taken on an empty stomach and cannot eat for 30 minutes afterward). Then I exercise for 30 minutes. Then I wake up my first grader. Then I get dressed and make coffee and pour milk for the kids. Then I get my 3 1/2 year old up and dressed, then the baby up and dressed, then load everyone into the minivan to take the first grader to the bus stop. The bus comes at 7:40am. The younger two kids have their breakfast when we get home from taking the first grader to the bus. If I am lucky, my husband has a few minutes to help with coats and shoes and kid loading before he heads to work.

  • I blogged my routines here:

    I realized that while I have a great 4-part routine going for morning and evening, I needed to add one more component to each for success. I need to make my next-day’s To Do List the evening before, and in the morning I need to add straightening the homeschool table and laying out books and lessons before the kids wake up.

  • Jenny says:

    For the next 3 weeks my basic morning routine will be:
    1) wake up on the first alarm (we’ve gotten into the habit of hitting snooze around here!)
    2) walk at least 1 mile (that way I hit my five mile goal every week for the rest of this month!)
    3) drink 16 oz of water
    4) make a daily to-do list while I enjoy my coffee

    Hopefully these goals help me support an important monthly goal of establishing a regular workout routine for myself in my quest to be healthier!

  • Meredith says:

    Mine varies too with the school year. However, generally I wake up. Do my swagbucks. Get my daughter ready for school. Fix lunches. Take her to school. Last, I exercise. The only time that changes is if I am volunteering. I think I can stick to it for three weeks!

  • Sasha says:

    My routine has been evolving over the last few months as I am adjusting to not have to be at work at 7 am anymore. (Yay!) I am settling in and figuring out a schedule that works for our family. At first I thought I would like to work out in the mornings, but lately I have found I have more motivation in the evenings, so I have been saving my workout for then.

    1. Get up, brush teeth and head to kitchen for can of Coke and take meds/vitamins. That one can of Coke I allow myself every day is basically my coffee. I’ve tried to cut it out before or switch to a diet or lower calorie drink, but the results are always disastrious and just not work it. A full-sugar Coke it is!

    2. Get the kids up and get them started on brushing teeth and getting dressed.

    3. Head back to the kitchen to fix breakfast and check backpacks and lunch menu to see if I need to fix any lunches. I also clean their glasses and lay them on the table with their breakfast and vitamins.

    4. Get the kids to school.

    5. After I get back home, I get showered and ready for the day. After makeup and before I do my hair, I spend a bit of time at the computer, checking email and wishing some happy birthdays on facebook.

  • Lana says:

    I am so blessed that my husband and I have worked together on the morning routine for more than 25 years. He unloads the dishwasher and makes the bed everyday while I shower. Then he does breakfast while I pack his lunch. When he goes out the door I have everything under control and can go on with the days’ chores. We set up this routine to survive getting the day going with 5 children but we continue the same schedule even though we are empty nesters. If we get off the routine then the whole day is wrong.

  • Catherine says:

    I’ve really been struggling since the first of the year (only 1 week ago!) because I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to “get it all right.” Sigh. I already have the Flylady morning and evening routines fully in place. These are the things I’d like to add and commit to:
    1. 15″ reading bible/devotional/prayer
    2. List 3-5 items that I’d like to accomplish before the kids get home from school
    3. Go for a walk around 11:00 am every day.
    My greatest struggle right now is the internet. I’m spending WAY too much time on it and I’m not sure how to “make” myself limit it. Any suggestions would be much apppreciated!

    • Candy Hamilton says:

      Catherine, your post could have been written by me! The internet is what I am spending waaay too much time on. I do read a LOT of helpful information, though, but I need to pare down somehow. Hopefully others will have some suggestions. Good luck!

    • Mandi says:

      I often struggle with this. A couple of things that have helped is declaring certain hours computer free altogether (right now it is 8:30 to 12:30 for me and 5:00 to 8:00- homeschooling hours and family evening time) and then literally keeping my computer off. Sometimes I will set myself a time limit and then set the timer on my microwave. Or I will limit the amount of times can check my email (I have kept tally marks on a post it by the computer). I am also currently limiting facebook to Friday afternoons and Saturdays. I also try to limit the number of blogs I really follow- right now there is really only 3 I check on a regular bases. If I have extra time, I will sometimes follow links or do searches that bring up blogs. But I have picked my favorite 3 to really check regularly. Good luck!

  • Melissa says:

    My morning routine for Mon-Fri is:

    1. Wake up and have coffee and breakfast with my husband
    2. Pack our lunches and feed the dog/give him his medicine and get the morning dishes done
    3. Shower and dress and make our bed
    4. Take a walk with the dog
    5. Carpool into work with my husband

  • Olivia says:

    Up by 5:00 a.m (maybe earlier, but never later)
    Workout (wash up…I leave my high intensity workouts till after I get home in the evenings)
    Dress/makeup (I shower the night before)
    Make breakfast/while packing my lunch
    Eat/while reading my Bible/Devotional
    Out of the house by 6:30 for work (7-4)

  • Trinette says:

    1) 5:45 Get up and brush teeth
    2) Drink 2 full glasses of water – gets your digestion moving (believe me :))
    3) Exercise
    4) Get breakfast made for family
    5) Shower
    6) Bible/prayer/quiet time
    7) 8:30 Start homeschool

  • Carrie says:

    Lately, my routine has changed because the baby will NOT let me have morning writing time anymore. Wah! But that’s ok. She’ll only be little for a few more months. 🙂

    Now it’s:

    1) Hubby hands me a mug of coffee
    2) Nurse the baby, read my Bible
    3) Quickly scan email, delete spam on my blogs
    4) Get dressed, teeth, face
    5) Make breakfast, feed self and family

  • I love a routine. It keeps me on track and focused on what needs to be done.

    Day starts at 5:00 am

    Pray and read Bible/Bible study
    Blog work
    Eat breakfast/feed children breakfast
    Take older two to school
    Home school kindergarten to 5 year old

    That is 6 things but I really like this set routine. If those things get accomplished, everything else seems to fall into place. 🙂

  • Erin says:

    My morning routine:
    1. Quiet Time: Read my Bible & devotion and prayer time.
    2. Exercise
    3. Start a load of laundry.
    4. Get ready-shower, breakfast, and my snack & water for work.
    5. Get my kids ready-breakfast, pack lunches, and fix hair.
    All this needs to happen by 7:45. Ready for a normal routine to start again. The kids have been off for Christmas and then due to bad weather they haven’t started back to school yet. The goal for me is to stick to this schedule and not try to add any thing extra!

  • Tammy says:

    Monday through Friday I get up and either go straight to the gym after brushing my teeth and getting dressed or work for about one hour before I wake the kids for the day. I make coffee either after getting back from the gym or just prior to starting work if I am not headed to the gym. After waking the kiddos, I make breakfast for them and we chat while I make their lunches. Following their departure for school, I either go to the gym or get ready for work and the head to the office.

  • Wow, Crystal! I was thinking about my need for a routine just last night! Today’s project is perfect 🙂 I was planning on coming up with a routine for the entire day. Starting with just the morning sounds much more doable. 🙂

    My Routine:
    1. Pray/Read Passages
    2. Eat breakfast
    3. Check email
    4. Shower
    5. Work on Blog

    Thanks for helping make me feel more in control of my day 🙂

  • Dana says:

    7:00 wake up, dress in work out clothes , take meds and vitamins, wake children
    7:15 make breakfast and lunches for kids
    7:45 collect and wash a load of laundry , take supper idea out of freezer and pantry
    8:00 get kids out the door to school, make coffee and breakfast for d.h. And myself
    8:30 load dishwasher and set timer to start in two hours
    8:45 go to gym for workout, shower, hair and makeup
    12:00 home for lunch
    I love my routine! I’m blessed to be able to live the life I do.

  • Jennifer says:

    So true about a morning routine. I try to:
    1. Wake up, get dressed
    2. Make breakfast/coffee, put away dishes and clean up
    3. Exercise
    4. Get the kids dressed, Pack lunches
    5. Take kids to school

  • Kerri says:

    Here’s my morning routine:

    1. Read Bible, journal and pray
    2. Review the upcoming day
    3. Eat breakfast
    4. Get dressed
    5. Prep dinner & make lunches

  • Julie says:

    My morning routine will be:

    1. Up at 6:00 a.m., even if baby is not up yet.
    2. Read Bible/Journal/Pray (with coffee, of course!)
    3. Feed baby
    4. Start laundry
    5. Make breakfast

    Pretty simple, but that’s where I am in life right now. The area I struggle with is getting up at 6 a.m. even if baby is still sleeping. When I don’t do this, then I don’t always get my Bible read before the other kids wake up. The 2 year old wakes up at about 6:45 a.m. so that doesn’t give me much time. I can do it! I just need to go to bed after the baby eats his last feeding at night! 🙂

  • I reevaluated my morning routine and here is what I came up with:

    1) (whenever baby wakes up for the day): nurse baby, then go to the kitchen for quiet time/breakfast.
    2) Clean up kitchen/prep for dinner
    3) Wash or put away cloth diapers
    4) Check emails/blog
    5) Put baby down for his first nap (leave him in Daddy’s capable hands) and go exercising!

  • Dawn says:

    1. Take Dog out, Make hubby coffee, Take a shower/get ready
    2. Drink Coffee, Surf Internet
    3. Wake Kid Up, Get him ready
    4. Breakfast, Make Lunches
    5. Take Dog out, Drive Kid to School, Go to Work

    I would love to add a 10-15 minute devotion in place of the surf internet.
    Any suggestions?

  • Stephani says:

    Signed up the 7 day challenge. I didn’t receive the day 2.

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