Win the morning, win the day - Tim Ferris.
I was not winning my mornings. I was not winning my afternoons much either. Stuck in the time-suck of social media, I would sit long after my coffee turned cold, scrolling mindlessly, waiting for inspiration to hit me upside the head.
Then, like the rainy slush only NWPA Springs can douse you with, the college boy returned and showered our home with all his stuff. (I don't care what anyone says, that summer between freshman and sophomore year of college is the hardest three months ever) Both boys had multiple jobs, we were sharing cars, and my life was skidding off the rails into a winter-born pothole.
I was in a rut.
So, I googled morning routines, of course.
Recommendations lit my screen as I sat in the pre-dawn light of my family room. The most effective early bird routines began at ungodly hours when the moon was still high. I was not willing to sacrifice beauty-sleep for efficiency. I mean, a girl has her priorities, and under-eye cream can only do so much.
The plans I found offered a similar spin on three essentials.
1) Get up.
2) Get moving.
3) Focus on your biggest goal.
Don't be bogged down with your everyday to-do tasks like – clean house, feed family. You know, the essentials. But, focus on your BIG life vision. I'm 49; my (tunnel) vision has been to get my boys to the point where they can survive without me.
June slipped away in a wash of drizzle, and the haze of summer settled on steamy roads. Everyone was functioning independently. (applause)
Operation reboot was a GO.
I chose to focus (dare I say it) on me. Not entirely, mind you. But enough to shake up the morning routine to fit my needs, write my novel, and kick this midlife in the pants.
Enter You-tuber extraordinaire, Instagrammer, and author, Sarra Cannon. Sarra, @heartbreathingsblog, emphasizes planning, organizing, writing tricks/tips, and has easy to follow you-tube videos for any novice. Although her focus is for writers, anyone could benefit from her organizational prowess.
I was determined to get this morning routine wrapped up in polka-dot washi tape, (I don't really use washi tape, that is a bit too crafty for me.) and enrolled in @heartbreathingsblog HB90bootcamp workshop.
This program kickstarted my late-summer routine, helped me organize my scattered creativity, streamline my vision, and allowed me to pinpoint my focus on my writing goals.
Groundwork laid, I launched into Q3 with my color-coded Kanban board, like a mom on a mission. (and we all know what that looks like)
* Spoiler alert: the Kanban method is all kinds of awesome and a great tool if you like visual cues for motivation. Check out the link for Heart Breathings for an intro to the Kanban board.
I designed my morning routine to revolve around what means the most to ME. Not to my kids, nor my husband, me. Taking information and inspiration from the research, my morning routine for Q3 followed these tips:
1.) Do not look at your phone when you wake up. I know, right, it's so hard.
But trust me – game changer. (Mel Robbins)
2.) Make bed daily. (Tim Ferris)
3.) Coffee (do I need to explain?)
4.) Journal. THIS! Journaling was the kicker, the everything in my pumped up routine. This changed my outlook. Every single article I found urged the reader to journal first thing.
Robbins attributes journaling to giving the brain a chance to think before being bombarded with everyday tasks.I utilize the free-write method as described in Julia Cameron's Artist's Way. The Morning Pages routine made the most significant impact on my practice and my thinking. Morning Pages encourages creativity. No matter what type of creative you are - which I do believe everyone has some level of creativity - this writing exercise allows for the brain to flourish.
5.) Start the day.
I finished Q3 with a full journal/planner, and I am beginning Q4 on track.
My midlife morning routine was officially upgraded.
Do you have a morning routine?
Do your mornings need a midlife upgrade? Let me know what you start and how it's working.
And, of course, good luck with that!
Love and Luck,
Thank you for reading
Post-it notes mark the pages that have blog/writing ideas or quotes that I may want to reference later. I just purchased the snazzy blue one last week since the black journal is almost full. Deacon Blue gets involved as well. You can click on the picture to read how I write in the mornings.
I use the Michael Hyatt Full Focus Planner - but there are a ton of options out there - this works best for me.
Yes, I figured out how to hyperlink. Click on the links noted in the article, and you will be taken directly to the information cited.