I’m not a morning person. At all. There isn’t a meme-y enough meme to display how much I am not a morning person. Some people have the gift of the ability to hop out of bed and hit the ground running. I am not one of them. For me, it takes intentional effort to make mornings productive. Otherwise, it’s 7:45am, I’ve used up all my snooze buttons on my alarm and not only have I wasted an hour of my day, but I’m starting with the guilt of knowing it.
I’m defeated before I even get out of bed.
I hop up, make the bed, head down to potty the pup, grab my Thor mug of coffee and head up to the office to start the work day without even clearing my head of the last dream I was having when the alarm rudely ruined it all.
All those good things I was going to do? Yoga, calendar planning, an early blog post…poof, gone into thin air. Now I’m cramming the blog post into my already busy work day, the yoga won’t get done and I throw things on the calendar randomly instead of taking the time to really plan them out.
It just doesn’t work.
I need to lose 20 pounds. That means I have to fit in gym time, yoga time, zumba time and more running. If I lost a pound every time I said “I’m going to do better tomorrow,” I’d be see-through. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
I am running two businesses, working a day job part-time and doing all the mom things, while running a household like everyone else. I can’t get it all done if I don’t start early.
Rather than fuss over what I didn’t do, I need to work harder on intentional mornings so I can start scratching stuff off my To Do list. But how do I make that happen?
“Eating right and taking the time to slow down and plan in the morning is crucial to a productive day.” — David Moore
Set the alarm an hour earlier. Don’t keep hitting the snooze button three times…like me. Hit it once, max. On a good day, when I hit it that first time, I mentally remind myself that today’s going to be a good day. Don’t instantly start thinking about all you have to do, or it can be overwhelming. Use those five minutes of blissful snooze peace to get yourself revved up. Yes, that pillow’s soft and your bed is warm but good things lie ahead. It’s inevitable, so extra snooze sessions don’t change that.
Once you’re up, make your bed right away. You can’t get back in it and that’s one chore done. Baby steps!
Put on your gym clothes or whatever you need to do to get in that activity before you head to work. You’ll have less of an excuse to put it off, and you can work on your desk chores knowing that you’ve gotten up and been active. If taking a run or lifting weights is not something you look forward to, you’ll rest easier knowing it’s done.
Mute the TV, or don’t turn it on at all. I put on early morning news shows because I want to know what went on in the world overnight, but it can suck you in. If you linger over your coffee rather than drink it while it’s hot, you’re losing extra minutes. Take enough time with your coffee to enjoy it, but don’t let it become a 20-minute time suck.
Have your materials handy for whatever you’ve got planned. For me, this means having my notepad, calendar (I still do an actual paper planner in addition to my Google calendar) and pen in a little stack, easily accessible. Use them. Once you have a handle on what’s happening that day, you can feel already more in control as you visualize your schedule.
Today, for example, I need to fit in a trip to the thrift store for a couple of pieces of attire for a Halloween party costume. I also need to stop by Sprout’s for some produce. Envisioning when I’m going to do that — even the route I’ll take — removes some of the OMG HOW AM I GOING TO GET IT ALL DONE feelings that a busy week like this one can generate.
Feed the dog. Mine will sit at my feet yipping and whining if I don’t do it on her schedule; this can be really distracting.
If you’ve got an email to write that’s stressing you out or something you’re worried about, do it. Get it over with as soon as you’re mentally capable of writing coherently – after your coffee, and maybe even before your yoga or running session. No more dwelling on it, and getting one menial task done can give you a good “I’m doing things!” boost.
“The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney
Enjoy your coffee in a positive setting. For me, I love to sit on my office balcony. That’s not happening today, as the Santa Ana winds are again here and I don’t want to blow away. Alternatively, I can sit on my covered patio out back. (It’s currently in the midst of being remodeled, with artificial grass being installed on Thursday and a new huge permanent patio cover following two weeks later. What a perfect morning spot it will be!) Try not to gulp down the coffee sitting staring at your email list. It takes away from those minutes of enjoyment. Don’t rush through it.
Put “update calendar” and “yoga” (or whatever your morning activity is) on your list. Check them off. Seeing items checked off gives you the feeling of productivity, so don’t skip that. It’s the little things.
Clean up as you go. When you’re done with your coffee, put the mug away. Nothing stinks more when you come home from a long day than having to clean your morning’s mess. Pick up throughout the day, keeping your desk organized or wherever you work clean, even if it’s your car. I can’t stand a messy vehicle, so I empty it each time I exit. Trash in the trash can, charging cords not all tangled. It’s so much easier to hop in and drive next time without wasted time.
Eat breakfast. This is a tough one for me, but that mid-morning slump is less likely to sideline your day if you try to prevent it entirely by getting the healthy start your body needs. Protein gives you energy longer and also keeps your metabolism revving at a faster pace, which is also better for weight loss. Heavy carb-laden or sugar-covered foods will be more likely to cause a crash. Don’t do it.
Stay off of social media other than when you’re drinking your coffee. It’s a huge time suck. There are days I don’t look at Facebook at all. Not only is it good for me mentally, to not see the mean and petty in the world, but I spend that time on something more beneficial to me. Knowing what so-and-so had for breakfast or what your family member feels about the president today isn’t helping you in any way, shape or form. Getting over the fear of missing out on ridiculous rants or self-affirmations can honestly truly lift your mood. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, especially in the morning!
It’s not hard to make mornings productive, but you do need to make an intentional effort for this to become a habit. Just like anything, if you make excuses or give up, you’ll be back where you started, losing hours of your day and feeling out of control.
Now go make your bed, put on that gym attire and feel good about starting your day already ahead!