Morning Day Two – Getting up early starts with going to bed early

getting up early starts with going to bed early

Getting up early starts with going to bed early. Obvious? Yes. Easy to forget in the evening? Also, yes!

I have always been a night owl and didn’t see any reason to fight that…until I had children. I have to be intentional in my evening, if I want to get to bed early. I have found the following to be KEY:

Get off the computer and phone at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light emitted from your smartphone disrupts the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. I can attest to this. When I am up late on my computer or phone, I have so much trouble falling asleep. This is the case even when tired. It’s a combination of the blue light and the level of mental engagement. Confession: if I am just on for 10-15 minutes during the last hour before bed, I’m satisfied. I figure, it’s LESS disruptive than a full hour.

Prepare for tomorrow. Spend a few minutes going over tomorrow’s schedule. If you are not one to schedule out your entire day, that is fine. Focus on the first hour or two at a minimum. Spending a few minutes NOW to ensure a productive first hour tomorrow, will help you in the morning. Here is the one simple task that will help plan for tomorrow.

Prepare for your morning dash out of the house. Are you leaving the house tomorrow? Why is that ALWAYS so hectic? Doing a few minutes of prep at night helps keep morning stress down. Set out your clothes. Make your lunch. Make sure your children are also prepared. (Dependent on age, of course. If they are older take the time NOW to teach them to prepare themselves! You will be thankful later.) Your mind will be more at ease when going to bed, knowing that you just took care of a bit of your morning stress.

Create a calming ritual. Spend a portion of the last 30-60 minutes doing something relaxing. This is a wonderful time to sit down with a book or magazine. Read your evening devotion. A warm bath or yoga are also good options.

Sleep in a cool, dark room. Set yourself up for a great night’s sleep.

Create a sleeping haven in your room. If you want to dabble in minimalism…start in your bedroom. When surrounded by complete chaos, it’s harder to relax at night. Don’t make yourself stare at a desk piled with all your work when trying to attempt falling asleep.

Record bedtimes. This may seem like an odd one, but this has been key. Midnight used to be my bedtime deadline. As long as I was in bed by midnight, I was satisfied. I would even feel a smidgen of pride when seeing 11:4-something. (Wow! I’m going to bed early!) If you set a bedtime goal, recording your actual bedtime will help to hold you accountable. When having a bedtime goal of 11, I would cringe to have to write down anything after midnight. It’s motivating…trust me. It’s amazing how helpful the simple step of writing it down is.

This post is from day 2 of my journey to make the most of my mornings by creating an early morning wake-up habit. Read all about it here: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.

Morning Day One – Starting With A Plan

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Day One: Getting up was easy as I had a Morning Plan. I had three items on my to-do list that I wanted to complete before the girls woke up. Because I woke up with those three tasks in mind, I was motivated to get out of bed and get started. In the past I have always had a vague to-do list, but waking up with only three specific items in mind helped me to focus on getting up and completing the tasks before I moved onto anything else.

I even started in on the tasks before coffee was started. What?!?

I believe that this helped me immensely. Other mornings when I get up at 6:00, I may throw in a load of laundry and then spend the first 30 minutes with coffee and my phone. While it’s a relaxing way to start the morning (e-mail, facebook, twitter, and news) it kills my productivity from the start.

I have no intention of giving up on ALL peaceful, relaxed mornings like that. I think that it has a part in some mornings, just not all.

Here is my tip for an early morning wake up:

Create a short to-do list or schedule of your first hour of the day. Be specific. Be realistic.

Starting your morning with a plan. Create a short to-do list or schedule of your first hour of the day. Be specific. Be realistic.

Make the list the evening before. You can wake up, make your coffee, and start in on your tasks for the morning.

Read more about how to use your evening when making a plan for tomorrow.

I cannot take full credit on my productive morning. My girls slept in until 8:00, so I had two Bonus Hours this morning. I can get used to this.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

What a beautiful way to start my morning.

This post is from day 1 of my journey to make the most of my mornings by creating an early morning wake-up habit. Read all about it here: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.

Productivity – Looking for a Balance

Productivity. Is this key? Or should this be banished from my goals during this phase of life with two little ones?

I read all the headlines: How to Get More Done in a Day. Maximize Your Mornings. How to Get Up Early. Organize Your Home. Declutter in a month. Write a Book in 30 days. (Seriously?) I see them and consider scheduling my next day accordingly. I considered scheduling each and every day out to the hour. Or more frequently…

Looking for a Balance in Daily Schedule
Schedule My Day To Every Half Hour??

Sign up for every 30-day challenge you can find! E-mail me (daily, please) listing my task for the day and I will do it all! Sure! E-mail me every hour!

Then I look at my two daughters and reconsider. Does it matter that I have crossed 7 things off my to-do list by 8 AM? If they are my main focus, does it matter if I get anything else done?

Balance. It’s a balancing act that I’m trying to figure out. While focusing on being mom, I don’t spend as much time doing the activities I used to enjoy. I have mothering and household duties at the top of my list. This is just fine by me; it’s the most wonderful blessing I could ask for. My girls and husband are way more precious than getting on a 6 mile run. But…that doesn’t mean that I need to never workout or enjoy any other ME time. I just need to find those minutes that I’m not desperately needed by my sweet girls.

I want to get more done in a day, but not at the detriment of less quality time with my girls. How do I plan on doing this?

– Get Up Early

– Add snippets of scheduled time to my day

– Waste Less Time…this just may include time online.

– Add efficiencies and organization to my day, so I can truly ENJOY the unscheduled time with my girls. Too much of the time, I’m staring at what I need to clean, cook, and organize and it’s hard for me to sit down and give 100% of my time. A piece of this is continuing my goal to declutter and simplify the home.

What is my starting point??

Get Up Early – I’m setting a goal to get up at 6:00 AM every morning for 2 weeks. I am a night owl TO THE CORE, so this is not easy for me. Why? Getting up early starts with going to bed early. And the girls going to bed early. It’s just a continuous cycle…

I have had months of inconsistency in getting up early.

Productivity Looking for a Balance

When I am up and I have that Bonus Hour before the girls wake up, I enjoy every second and wonder why I don’t do it every morning. So here it goes! Day 1: Success!

What one change made a drastic difference on the course of my days? I decided to make the most of my mornings by creating an early morning wake-up habit. I think you should give it a shot! Read all about it here: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.

My Mom Knows Best – Exercise, fresh air, and 30 minutes of space

How is it that moms just seem to know what is best? My mom has about a 98% accuracy rate when it comes to this. She was in town to make Christmas cookies, among other holiday festivities. It has been a trying week with my three-old. She is showing a strong-willed, defiant side.

Given her history, I believe this is just a phase. She is just testing her limits and checking out who is the boss of this house. Impatience and frustration are not daily parenting struggles for me. (Worry? That is another story.) This week, impatience and frustration are the name of the game. I am spending much of the day reminding myself that she is watching my every reaction. She is taking notes and I will see it all again. If I flip out and yell…she will add that to her set of tools when deciding how to react to life. I want her to handle her life with grace and patience, so I must do the same. I must model how I want her to act during frustrating situations.

So hard right now. Grace and patience is NOT coming easy.

My mom gave me exactly what I needed today.

Encouragement and…

Mom Knows Best

she watched the girls so I could go on a run. Exercise, fresh air, and 30 minutes of space.

I feel so refreshed right now.

Procrastination Baking – Meringue Cookies

Meringue Cookies

Procrastination Baking: Baking to avoid other more necessary household duties or responsibilities, typically occurs during children’s naptime. After a rough morning.

Any free time I have during the afternoon has drastically been cut short due to lack of napping for my three-year old. Any time I get during the afternoon must start with a quick decision of what I am going to try and get done. I have no time to waste; I must decide. Cleaning, laundry, quick workout, or other household duties. Or…sit down with a book, magazine, or computer. Be productive? Or relax and recharge for the late afternoon and evening? Or bake.

It can be my way to avoid any responsible household duties I may have. And honestly? I want to eat a little cookie dough or brownie batter. It’s the perfect medicine after a rough morning. I have no shame in that.

Meringue Cookies

At times I wish that my procrastination baking was procrastination cooking. Making dinner instead of dessert, would make dinnertime so much easier. But I just don’t find it as fun to cut up raw chicken and disinfect the kitchen many times over, when I could be licking the cookie dough from the bowl instead.

After an unusually unpleasant morning, I have decided that some Procrastination Baking is needed this afternoon. I make a tasty meringue, but typically not a pretty one. So I’m shooting for a little eye-candy in my meringue today. I’m also hoping to finish before I’m greeted by: “I’m all done sleeping, mom”.

So…get out the egg whites and sugar. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. My mixer was working on this for about 10 minutes.

Meringue Cookie Baking

Gradually beat in sugar. Add vanilla.

Baking Meringue Cookies

Fold in chocolate chips. I like to use mini-chocolate chips, as they go further. Less can be added in and there will still be chocolate with every bite. It’s MUCH healthier as you can add less! At Christmastime, I use Andes peppermint baking chips.

Dollop on cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper.

Meringue Cookies

Bake for 30 minutes. They should be just lightly browned.

Baked Meringues. Holiday Baking.

 
Next step: Consume. It’s a lot of sugar, but so tasty. :)

Procrastination Baking - Meringue Cookies.

 

Meringue Cookies
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1 ¼ cup sugar
  6. ¾ – 1 cup mini chocolate chips.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Gradually beat in sugar.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Dollop on cookie sheet, covered in parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. They should be just lightly browned.
Notes
  1. Other variations I have tried: butterscotch chips, Andes peppermint chips.
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