Are you feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of trying to juggle homeschooling multiple grades, keep up your home, invest in your marriage, and have a little time to breathe? Do you feel like your schedule is too packed and your to-do list is too long?
If so, you might be in need of a makeover to your routine that leads to a calmer homeschool morning.
You see, the morning sets the tone for your whole day. When the morning goes well, the rest of the day usually goes well. And conversely, when you wake up rushed and harried, those feelings often filter down into your entire day.
I’ve spent the last few years working on changing my approach to morning, and while I’m far from perfect (you should have seen me running around like a crazy woman to get out the door for an appointment the other morning!), here are three keys I’ve found that are imperative to having a better morning.
1. Begin the Night Before
You're tired at night. I totally get that. I am, too. In fact, most nights, I can't wait to get some comfy pants on, put my feet up, and enjoy a good book or movie.
But I've found that if I take 15 minutes to prep for the next day, I do myself a huge favor. I use these 15 minutes to do three main things:
- Quickly clean up the main living areas of our home.
- Look over our plans for the next day and make a short to-do list or loose schedule for the next day.
- If I have anywhere I need to go (appointments, field trip, errands, lessons, etc.), I get together everything I need to get out the door the next day (diaper bag, library books to return, etc.).
When I do these three tasks, I enjoy crawling into bed and curling up with a book much more because I know I have things in great order for the next morning. Plus, those 15 minutes of effort often completely change my morning.
Not only do I wake up to a cleaner house, but I wake up feeling in control of my day because I already have a plan of action in place. Now all I have to do is just follow the plan!
Tip: When making your to-do list, challenge yourself to immediately cross three things off, without even doing them. This will force you to carefully evaluate everything on the list and help you weed out what isn't that important.
2. Get Up a Little Earlier
I know, I know. Getting up early is not fun, glamorous, or exciting. And if you're currently in a stage of life where you're getting up multiple times in the night due to illness, pregnancy, or caring for a fussy infant or child, you can skip this point entirely.
But the rest of you, hear me out. Getting up just 15 minutes earlier can make a tremendous impact on the overall success of your day—and quite possibly your entire life! I dare you to try it for just three weeks to see if you prove me wrong.
Instead of pulling yourself out of bed at the last minute and then rushing around like a mad woman so you can get everything done you need to do before your homeschool day starts, try waking up 15 minutes earlier than normal in order to spend quiet time praying, reading the Bible or an encouraging book, or writing in a journal. This will give you a calm start to your day and will allow you time to be still, count your blessings, and begin your day with a great attitude.
Tip: Find a friend to join you in your early rising challenge. It's so much easier, and more fun, when you're not going it alone. You might text each other in the morning when you get up to help you stay accountable.
3. Attack the Hardest Thing First
I can be a master procrastinator. I can come up with all sorts of seemingly good things to do instead of doing what I really should be doing. But when I spend most of the day procrastinating, I feel behind and unfulfilled.
Thanks to Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, I’ve been challenging myself to begin my day tackling those dreaded tasks first. You know what I’ve found? Those tasks I thought I loathed really aren’t usually that hard when I just set my mind to do them and then get them done—as soon as possible. They usually take less time than I think they will, and I always feel so good to check the hard things off my list early in the day.
You know what else I’ve discovered? I have more time than I thought I did! When I stopped burning daylight and stalling in order to avoid the unpleasant tasks, it has freed up a lot of extra time in my day. This, in turn, made me feel much less busy and able to go through my days more calmly and cheerfully because I don’t constantly feel behind.
Tip: Have a dreaded task to tackle? Set a timer and challenge yourself to race against the clock. This will motivate you to work harder and faster, and will make it more like a game than a difficult task! You'll probably find you get the project done in no time at all!