It is one thing to write down priorities and even schedule them into our busy lives. It is another thing entirely to get out of bed and do them.
I struggle with this constantly. In my 20s, I bounded out of bed before dawn each morning, excited to tackle the day’s challenges.
I now wake with a groan, rub my arthritic joints, and wonder if today the roll will be called up yonder (I’ll be there!).
Fed up with my own morning sluggishness, I recently re-evaluated my morning routine. In an experiment, I took the following steps to change my actions and attitude. The results have been astounding: morning cheerfulnes has returned, energy has risen, and productivity has increased.
You can try the morning experiment, too. It just takes a few minutes to brainstorm the following [scrap paper and pencil strongly recommended]:
- Envision what morning shouldbe:
- What would a perfect morning look like?
- Where will your mental focus be?
- How will you feel as you great the day?
- What should be accomplished – and what should not be part of your early morning?
- What steps should be taken?
- Jot how much time each priority/action should take (don’t under-estimate!).
- Arrange in chronological order.
- When should you wake?
- Working backwards from your public morning time (when you must be at work, homeschooling, etc.), calculate your new rising time.
- If this is significantly earlier than usual, gradually move your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every few days to adjust (make necessary omissions from your morning routine in the meantime).
- How can you prepare for success?
- Find ways to prepare each night for the following morning (ex: lay out clothes, program coffee maker).
- Write them down so you don’t forget!
- Post it!
- Write your new routine clearly, in order.
- Place either minutes for each task or time of day for each.
- Allow margin for sleepiness or unexpected interruptions.
- Add evening preparation activities at the bottom.
- Live it!
- Remember, it takes weeks to set new habits.
- Be patient and flexible.