Mornings can be either calm or completely insane. Sometimes I feel like a drill sergeant barking orders at my kids to “move, move, move”. Other mornings I eat a bowl of cereal with them and read from a devotional book.
We often don’t take time to evaluate how successful these routines are but maybe we should. How the morning begins directly affects how the rest of the day goes. Think about it…. If we start our day rushed and anxious wouldn’t we expect that to carry through to the next following tasks? If our kids are getting kicked out the car door just as the school bell rings doesn’t that naturally leaving them feeling less than super about starting class?
While getting out the door is never an easy task, it can be made simpler if we chose to be disciplined and employ some common sense tactics.
As you dive into the New Year, take time to consider some of these smart ways to get out the door faster:
1. Get Up on Time
You know what time you need to get up in order to not be rushed. For me, it is 6:25 am at the latest. And my oldest son needs to be woken up by 6:30 or he doesn’t have enough time to get all his own stuff done. For some reason, I like to test fate and push these time limits but it never ends up well. It’s important to know your “do or die” time. Likewise, it is also critical to know how much time it takes for everyone to get buckled and settled in the car. My brain tells me 30 seconds but reality proves it’s more like 3-4 minutes.
2. Drink Your Water
Did you know that one of the most important things you can do in the morning is to get your water in? Water fires up your metabolism, gets you hydrated, helps flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and can even help you eat less. I personally try to drink half my body weight in ounces every day. This means I start each morning drinking 20 ounces of water. Before coffee, before breakfast, before leaving the house… get your water in!
3. Finish Each “Zone”
Nothing takes more time than jumping from room to room and task to task. It may seem like you are constantly putting out fires in the morning but try to focus on one room or “zone” at a time. For example, get dressed, makeup on, bed made and teeth brushed before you leave the bedroom. Have the kids dressed, beds made, teeth brushed, hair combed and potty visited before they come downstairs. Make lunches and eat breakfast before you go to coats, backpacks, etc. Basically, do everything that needs to get done in one room before moving to the next.
4. Put the Phone Down
This is my biggest personal downfall. For some reason, I think it is super critical for me to check up on the Duggar news right when I wake up. Suddenly 15 minutes have gone by and I am now behind schedule. It is so tempting to check your phone or laptop right when you get up but rarely does that prove fruitful. There are often emails to respond to, posts to comment on, and other things that you may want to tend to…. But do you really have time at this moment to do it? Save that stuff for later.
5. Lower Your Expectations
I am the epitome of your typical “morning person.” There is something about coffee brewing and the sun rising that makes me believe the day is full of possibilities. I feel like I can conquer anything. But time is a constant. It doesn’t change. You only have so many minutes to work with. There is always a part of me that wants to dry and put away those dishes in the sink. Sweep up the crumbs after breakfast. Maybe even do more than just put my hair in a topknot. When time allows, I get to do those things. But when it doesn’t, I have to discipline myself and say “no.” Accomplishing those little tasks isn’t worth the stress they add to my day.
There is no time better than now instill helpful and stress-reducing morning habits. Not only will they set you up for success, they can also help your children enjoy a less-anxious day. And who wouldn’t want that? What you do within the first hours of waking up matters so make them count!