routines

How To Create A Life-Changing Morning Routine

For years, my morning routine consisted of being jolted awake by a set of tiny toddler eyeballs inches from my face.  I got up when the kids got up because I was not a morning person and resigned myself to the fact that I never would be.  However, I coveted a few quiet moments alone guilt-free.  I knew the answer was to get up before my family and create a morning routine but could I do it?

The answer is yes and you can too!  I have realized what people have been saying for years, the early bird indeed gets the worm.  Creating an early morning routine has set the tone of my day and changed my life.

So, what does my morning routine look like?

Get Up an Hour Before My Family

I get up at least an hour before my family.  When I started this routine, I decided what I wanted the time to be used and planned accordingly.

Brew Some Coffee

The first thing I do after rolling out of bed and slipping on my favorite slippers is to brew myself some french press coffee.  There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of the first cup of coffee in the morning in a still and quiet home.

cozy chair with fur blanket

Enjoy Some Quiet Time

After my coffee is brewed, I head to the family room.  I grab my favorite fuzzy blanket and curl up in my chair for some quiet time.  I keep all of my materials right next to it so I can plop down and get started with my quiet time routine.  (You can read more about that here)

Mentally Prepare for the Day

Before I leave my chair, I mentally run down our day.  Sometimes, while I am in my quiet time, something comes to mind so I will write it on my hand (bad habits die hard).  It’s nice to think through everything while my mind is still fresh.

Create a To-Do List

Many times I have already written a few to do list items the day.  However, while I am mentally processing my day, I think of a few things to add to the list.  I write everything down, even the seemingly simple things so I don’t forget (mom brain ;).

Mark off a Few Low-Hanging Fruit Items

If there is time left, I will take care of a few quick to do list items that don’t take much time.  It’s such a nice feeling to cross a few things off the list before my kids even get up.

Wake Up My Kids & Get Them Started on Their Morning Routine

It’s time to wake up my kids and get them started on their morning routine.  While they are getting dressed, I go and make my bed (since everyone has vacated it at this point) and get started making their breakfast, helping make lunch, brushing teeth, and ushering them out the door for the day.

Some Helpful Tips…

Give Yourself Grace & Don’t Give Up

I am pretty sure I share this in every post but it’s key to give yourself grace.  We so often chuck something before we even have a chance to see the benefits.

 Know Your Why & What You Want to Accomplish

Why do you want to create a morning routine?  What do you hope to accomplish?  For me, I wanted a few moments guilt-free to start my day off right.  Every other hour of the day someone was around.  Knowing your why will help you stay the course when it gets hard.

Set an Alarm and Don’t Press Snooze

Studies show that your body will get used to waking up at a set time if you consistently do it for a period of time.  So, set an alarm and get up when it goes off.  I use the bedtime function in the apple clock app.  It reminds me to go to bed at a decent time so I am ready to get up in the morning.  My biggest demise as a recovering night owl is staying up too late.

Leave Your Phone Behind

I have a no phone rule meaning I do not look at my phone until my morning routine is done.  It’s a distraction for me and those moments are really precious, I want to use them wisely.

Just remember…

So, maybe you are like me and you think I could never be a morning person.  I just want to encourage you that anything is possible if you set your mind to make a change and you dig in and do the hard work to establish a routine.  Don’t forget why you want to do it, that will help you keep on going even if you miss a day.

Do you have a morning routine?  What does your morning routine look like?  Why do you do it?

You Might Also Like –

How To Develop a Quiet Time Routine

Create An After-School Routine

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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How to Develop a Purposeful Quiet Time Routine

Most mornings my alarm goes off at 5:45 am, I can’t believe I just typed that.  I am not a natural born morning person and for years I had no desire to get up long before my kids.

These days, I know I will regret pushing snooze so I flip off the covers, slip on my slippers and head downstairs to the quiet and still peaceful kitchen.  I warm some hot water in my tea kettle and prepare myself some french press coffee before settling into my chair and beginning quiet time with God.

Before I created a quiet time routine, my bible reading and prayer were haphazardly placed in my day.  I didn’t have a plan and quite honestly more days than not that meant it just didn’t happen.  Like any relationship, our relationship with God is at its best when we spend time with him, praying and reading His word.  So, how do you cultivate a simple and purposeful quiet time?

How to develop a quiet time with God

Know Why You Want to Cultivate this Habit

Before you set-up your spot or set the alarm, you first need to make sure you know your why.  This step is often skipped but asking why when establishing any routine is essential.

When you know your why, you will keep on keeping on even on the hard days, the days you don’t want to get out of bed.

So, why do you want to create a quiet time routine?  My why was simple.  It wasn’t because I was supposed to, although I had heard for years it was an essential part of a Christian’s walk.  That “why” was not going to sustain me for long.  Instead, I wanted to make God a priority in my life and grow a deeper relationship with Him.  Spending time with Him made life better.

Find a Time

Once you know why you want to do it and make establishing this routine a priority, you need to find a time.  Most people like early mornings because there are fewer distractions and it’s a great way to start the day.  I would agree but when I had little kids underfoot, just the thought of getting up early made me tired.  So, choose a time that works best for you.

Gather Your Materials

In order to make the best use of your time, gather all of your materials into a basket and choose a spot to do your quiet time.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be functional.  Gather a pen, highlighter, devotional, journal and study bible near where you will have your quiet time.

Set an Alarm & Practice

Even if you don’t get up early, set an alarm or make it an appointment in your planner.  Cultivating a new routine feels clunky at first.  Remember, when you first learned to ride a bike.  It felt wobbly and you didn’t exactly know what to do but with practice and time, you figured it out.  Give yourself grace as you practice this new habit.  Experts say it takes at least 21 days to make a new routine, a habit.

Find Your Simple Purposeful Living Journal Here

How to Structure Your Quiet Time

So, now that you are cultivating this new routine, how do you make it purposeful?  I structure my quiet time into 4 main categories.

Gratitude

I think of quiet time as a conversation with God.  I start out giving him thanks for all he has given me.  I use my journal and think of all the small ways I have to be grateful to start.

praying hands and bible

Prayer

Then, I transition to prayer by giving him thanks for all the things I am grateful for and the things that are weighing on my heart, prayers for others and myself.  I love writing down my prayers because my heart just flows right on to the paper.

Scripture

I finish my quiet time reading God’s word.  You could read a devotional or the Bible.  I love to read a book of the Bible in its entirety so I can understand the full story and context.  If you are new to reading the bible, you could start with Philippians or John.  You can read at your own pace.  God can use even one scripture to teach you something.

A study bible (like this one) is also really helpful in helping you understand what the author was trying to express.  There are also cross-references to other Bible passages with the same theme located usually in the margins of a bible.

As I am reading a passage, I ask myself two questions –

  1. What does this say about God
  2. What lesson or promise can I apply to my life

Just Remember to Give Yourself Grace

It might surprise you to know, I don’t have a quiet time every day.  I aim for 5 days a week.  We often beat ourselves up for the days we didn’t do instead of celebrating the habit we are creating.

I often fall into the trap of wanting it to be all or nothing but life doesn’t work like that, you will give up if you think you have to do it perfectly.  Keep going, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because you missed a day!

Quiet times also don’t have to be the same length every day.  God is always there ready to hang out with you.  No quiet time routine looks the same but that’s the beauty, you and God can make it be exactly what you need.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple, purposeful life!
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Tips to Create A Schedule Based on Your Priorities

“Life is chaotic.  I can’t do it all. How do I make time for the things that matter most?”  Life is too short not to do what matters most with those that matter most so today I am sharing tips to help you create a  schedule based on your priorities!

We always used to go to Bishop’s Buffet with my Grandpa Jack.  The goal every time was to have enough room on your tray at the end of the long line of food so that you could get a piece of their famous french silk pie. Once, we sat down we would find out if our eyes were too big for our stomach.  Would we actually be hungry enough after eating all of our food to actually eat the pie? It was the question that drove my decision-making.

Sometimes, life feels like an all you can eat buffet.  Your tray is so full with all of your commitments that you feel like your eyes are bigger than your stomach, but life is too short to miss out on Bishop’s french silk pie and it’s too short to miss out on what matters most.  

So, how do create a schedule that matches your priorities?

The good news, unlike a buffet, you can always take things off.  There’s always an opportunity to make more breathing room and put on the things you really want and take off the things you don’t.  You are in control. The tray doesn’t control you, your commitments don’t drive you, you get a choice!  

1. Count the Cost

When we decide what goes on our tray, we have to count the cost.  If I put this plate full of mashed potatoes on my tray, what does that mean for the french silk pie?  If I say yes to this commitment, what does that mean for what matters most to me?

2. Know Your Priorities

What are the things and activities that matter most to you?  It’s important we know very specifically what those things are if we want our priorities to drive our decision making.  What are your specific priorities?  

 

Are your priorities currently represented in your schedule? 

Ask yourself these questions to make sure your schedule reflects your priorities

1. What needs to go?

Many people say yes to commitments out of guilt.  That’s not a good reason to say yes.  Unfortunately, because we don’t want to disappoint anyone, so we end up saying yes to the detriment of our family and our priorities.  Be ruthless, write down all your commitments and evaluate what can go.

2. What do you need to add to your plate?

Remember, you do not want to miss out on the pie!  You need to plan accordingly. Don’t leave it to chance.  Good intentions don’t make things happen!

If you are lonely or need to connect with your husband, make a plan for time away. We all have the same amount of time. Our time is finite.  If it is important to you, then plan for it. Make it happen. When you are out with your girlfriends, set the next date.  Have a standing date night each month with your husband.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun! 

Before you say yes or no, pause and think about it.  

For many years, I said yes without asking my husband.  Thankfully, he was gracious but I have learned telling someone I need to talk to my husband and look at my calendar is a good practice for two reasons.  I really do want to consult my husband and get his opinion.  He knows me better than anyone and can help me sift through why I want to do it.  It also gives me time to think and respond purposefully so I don’t have to back out or say no later.

Give yourself grace.  Accept Help.  

Nothing in life is absolute, there are times where you have to make the tough decision.  You may agree to something and change your mind. You will need to ask for help or delegate.  That doesn’t make you a failure, that makes you human.  There are also certain seasons in your life where your tray is full simply because you are a new mom, have lots of little kids under toe, starting a new business or launching a product.  

Whatever the case, carefully examining what’s on your tray and making sure what you want is included will ensure no matter how crazy life is you are doing what matters most with those that matter most!

 

Take a look at your tray of commitments today.  Does it represent your priorities?  What’s missing from your tray and what can you take off your tray?

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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