Hello Mornings! The Maximize Your Mornings Challenge: Week Four

Note from Kat: Michelle is here again to walk us through the last week of the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge for October. But remember that we’ll be doing this Challenge again in November, so if you struggled or just need a fresh start, you can join us again!

Better Late

Last week was an (unexpected) bye week! I didn’t realize how all-consuming prepping for the conference would be or how little time I’d have for actual blogging! But I think you’re getting the better deal, since I’m including some nuggets from the conference on scheduling and time management.

Week 3 Recap

How did your exercise routine work out? (hehe, get it?)

What were you able to incorporate? What will you add or tweak?

Personally, I failed at the exercise part, unless you count all the running around I did at Relevant. I’m the type of person who only runs when something is chasing me. Or when I’m chasing my boys. Which is all the time. (I’m secretly hoping no one asks me about my exercise plan!)

Step 4: Create a Planning Routine

Read pages 16-17 of the eBook. The 3 planning areas are:

  • Calendar
  • To-Do List
  • Dinner

Create a Time Budget

We had the pleasure of listening to Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom, give the opening keynote at Relevant. I think everyone was scribbling furiously as she shared her time management techniques.

Do you know the illustration of the jar of rocks? Your week is an empty jar of time. Fill it wisely.

Start with the big rocks. These are the absolute most important things in your life. For most, that might be God, husband, children, sleep and/or work. Look at your empty weekly planner and schedule in specific time for those things. Quiet time, one-on-one time, meals and bedtimes are some good starting points.

Next, decide what your medium rocks are. Other relationships, ministry commitments, blogging, housework and appointments might fill those spots. Look at your planner again and schedule your medium rocks around the big ones.

Finally, list everything else as small rocks. These are the things that may seem urgent and could easily fill your entire day if given the chance. Examples include television, social media, returning emails and phone calls, and staring blankly into space. Oh, you never do that? Neither do I. Whatever time is left over is the set amount you have for these things.

You also want to build in a margin of unscheduled time, because what day goes exactly according to plan?

Everyone’s jar will look different when filled. Melissa Michaels, The Inspired Room, added that on different days, different rocks are her big ones.

Action Steps

Found on page 25.

  1. Create a Master Calendar with all your events and responsibilities.
  2. Make a Master To Do List – get your to do list out of your brain and onto paper (or pixel). Separate your tasks into Active and Someday lists.
  3. Select 3-5 recipes to make each week.
  4. Print out the Daily Overview (or make your own) and fill it out each day.

What’s your action plan for the week?

When do you do your weekly planning? What systems do you use for planning? What will you do each morning?

Group Support

Need daily accountability? Kat (@inspired2action) and I (@michellebygrace) are on Twitter each morning, along with a bunch of fantastic gals, quietly tweeting #hellomornings!

If you have any questions or tips about morning routines, jump over to the Inspired to Action blogfrog Community and join the discussion!


Each week you can link a relevant post from your own blog! Simply type your information and link to the specific post in the boxes below.

Tomorrow’s a new day! You’re doing great!!

Michelle shares her story as a wife & mom in Amish country at So, I married a Mennonite…. When she’s not tweeting her inner monologue, you can find her perfecting her cushion-fort building technique and choreographing living room performances.

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  • Avatar Sami says:

    I totally appreciate this challenge!! Last week I got up early and read my Bible and planned my day (next week the exercise comes back!), then got started on dinner and my chores before the day got crazy. One night the baby was teething and I didn’t sleep much, so the next day I took the opportunity to sleep until 7:30. The day was a wreck and I found myself trying to play catch-up from the moment my feet hit the floor. At 6pm I was still trying to get chores done from the morning, totally frustrated with everybody and everything (but mostly myself) and I thought “Well, that’s the last time I sleep in!!” I’d rather be tired, but refreshed and on top of things than slightly more rested and frustrated all day!! Thanks for all your encouragement and the specific steps and tools.

    [My husband has totally noticed a difference too, and he loves it! :)]

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    I am right there with you on the exercise Michelle! Now that the weather is colder we don’t do our walks, so that is tough. I think I am going to start small with that one. Sparkpeople.com has been a good start for me. Planning and scheduling helps me keep sane, but this next part should be easier for me.

  • Avatar m :) says:

    Thanks for the tip, Joyce! I’ll have to check out SparkPeople.
    Small steps are good, too! 🙂