(I just have to say, I’m blown away by all of you who took the time to introduce yourselves here. Please know I’ve been praying and will be praying for each of you. I hope you’ll take a minute and pray for each other as well.)
Getting up early doesn’t need to mean that we get less sleep. Really. It doesn’t. In fact, we can quite easily get up early enough to read, exercise and pray without sacrificing any sleep at all.
The Super Magical Top Secret Solution
Isn’t that wonderful news?! Wanna hear the super magical top secret solution?
Go. To. Bed. Earlier.
Shocking, but true.
Now, before you slap me in the face, I know (BELIEVE me I know) that’s easier said than done. I have spent FAR too many nights going to bed the same day I needed to wake up.
And who do you think won the “Mean Mommy” award the next day?
Good Evening = Good Morning
So, the key to having a great MORNING routine is to have a great EVENING routine.
I love what Rachel from Small Notebook says, “I love staying up late â€” the quiet, the lack of interruptions, the feeling that I get a couple of extra hours added to my day. The only problem is that I’m borrowing the quality from the next day. ”
This is why I encourage you to start your morning routine by getting up only 15 minutes earlier. Because you’re actually adjusting your morning AND evening routine. This is imperative. We can only burn the candle at both ends for so long. Eventually we’ll get burned.
Rarely do people stay up late because they’ve been uber-productive all evening. More than likely, it’s because they found their #3 best friend from the 2nd grade on Facebook and they HAVE TO SEE if she’s still rocking the poodle perm. So they check out her pictures. All 327 of them.
Not that I’ve ever done that. Of course.
It’s called the internet time warp, rabbit trail, black hole. And it usually sucks us in after our kids are in bed, our husbands have fallen asleep reading and the dishes are “soaking” in the sink.
Not that you’ve ever done that, either. Of course.
By having a solid evening routine we can get things done, have fun AND go to bed at a reasonable time so that we can get up at a reasonable time.
My Evening Routine
So what does an evening routine look like?
Jimmy and I divide and conquer when it comes to our evening routine. After dinner, he gets the kids ready for bed, while I clean the dishes and tidy the house. That way, once we put the kids to bed, the housework is done and we can both relax with a clear conscience.
Once the kids are in bed, here are the evening tasks I try to complete:
1. Clear out my inbox.
2. Finish any tasks that didn’t get done that day.
4. Catch up with friends on Facebook and Twitter
5. Prepare everything I need for the next morning (iPod, running clothes, Bible, notebook, pen etc.)
6. Get ready for bed.
7. Go. To. Bed.
Isn’t it ironic that the very thing we desperately WANT to do in the morning is the very thing we desperately DON’T want to do in the evening. So when you’re headed to bed, pretend you just woke up and now you realized you have 7 more hours to sleep. Ah!
Tip – Bed Time Cue
Just as it’s important to set an alarm to wake us up, we need an alarm to tell us when to go to bed. It doesn’t need to actually be a regular alarm. For me, I go to bed when Jimmy goes to bed. I know that if I stay up later than him I’m most likely doomed to hours of mindless surfing.
For you, perhaps it’s the end of the news or your favorite show. Maybe it’s when you let the dog out or bring the dog in. Maybe setting an actual alarm would help you.
An Important Note – How To Waste An Evening
Just as we’re trying to be intentional about our mornings, it’s important to be intentional about our evenings. That doesn’t mean we need to work or be “productive” in the evening, but it does mean that we need to do things on purpose. So “flipping channels” or “surfing the web” probably aren’t the best uses of our time.
1. Flipping channels
Now, I confess. I’m not much of a TV watcher. So maybe I’m biased here, but mindlessly watching TV one of the worst ways we, as moms, could spend our precious quiet time. Tune in to a show you love. Watch a movie. Check the TV listings. Have a purpose when you watch tv. Don’t just turn it on and expect to find something that will benefit your life. Odds are, you won’t find it.
(Stepping off soapbox.)
2. Surfing the web
That index finger I was pointing at you a minute ago? It has now turned around and is poking my forehead. My biggest time waster is mindlessly following links on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, rss feeds etc.
As sad as it sounds, I’ve found that I need to set a time limit on my web surfing. I think it all goes back to the night I spent 45 minutes researching the Carrie Underwood/Faith Hill award controversy and watched the YouTube video multiple times “just to see if she was really upset.” Because, clearly, spending my time doing that added so much value to my life.
Sheesh. So timers are now my best friend. When the alarm goes off, I have to step AWAY from the computer to get out of the social media trance and be productive again. Sad, but true.
My evening routine has improved DRAMATICALLY over the last year. I used to see midnight regularly. Now, I’m usually in bed around 10:30pm. I get a lot more sleep and my kids don’t seem so annoying. Or maybe I’m just not so cranky.
Tonight I challenge you to go to bed 15 minutes earlier, so that tomorrow you can wake up 15 minutes earlier and squash the “I’m too tired to get up excuse”. Are you up for the challenge?
Discussion Point: What time are you planning to go to bed tonight? What are your obstacles?
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