An organized mind, for some, is a gift they’re born with; for others, it’s a skill that requires a lifetime of refinement. For me, it is a combination: scatter brained to a fault, mishaps at every turn; but menus and lists written like a college paper. The untidy side of my brain is all very well when it only affects me- but when recognizing that the stillness of my compass, or lack of, is the foundation of my home, I knew I needed to create structural change.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but in homes with littles, the basis of parenthood is in the morning send offs and the evening settle downs. It is also in the warm memories and empathetic listening; but really, it is in the mornings and evenings. Once I absorbed that, it became clear where the changes needed to happen.
Welcome to Project Early Mornings, est’d May 19, 2018.
The Goal: lessen the morning chaos and the ensuing drill sergeant energy.
How I Planned to Implement the Goal:
For the Morning:
Create a list of morning tasks that I wanted to accomplish .
Allot a specific time for each, so I can figure out exactly how much earlier I needed to awaken.
By the time my offspring tumble downstairs, they are greeted by a human that looks a lot like their mother.
For the Evening:
Because mornings start with the kind of sleep you’ve had the night before, I did the same thing for the nighttime: figured out what needed to get done the night before, allot time for it, and then understood what time I needed to sleeping in order to get around 7 hours of sleep.
Currently, I am going to sleep at 10pm and I awaken at 6 am during weekdays.
I don't want you to get hung up on exactly when you go to sleep, as long as you aim for same range for evening and morning over a consistent basis.
Goal setting is not about perfection, but consistency.
Is it a perfect system? No, and yes.
No, because there are many mornings where my kids get up way before me and my quiet time disappears, or where I’ve been up many times throughout the night, and have absolutely zero motivation to hop out of bed early.
Yes, because on a base level, I recognized that goal setting is not about perfection, but consistency. There are nights I make informed decisions to stay up later, knowing I may not arise with my alarm, but have gained more from the previous night’s event than I would from sunrise stillness.
Yes, because goal setting is not about motivation, really, but instead, about discipline. This goal required Herculean effort on my end, but I can say with confidence, is one of the most valuable habits I have added to my life.
Sometimes, self care is about regimented mornings; or sometimes, it is allowing yourself to sleep in, and consider it a win that your anxiety is not in overdrive from the break in routine.
Let’s make it about the process, and not always, about the result, shall we?
The photo above is the thoughts I have before bed, or excerpts that jump out to me from a book I'd be reading.
The lists are not perfect, nor are they grid-like and neat. It's kind of like my brain: racing, chaotic, but always trying to rein itself in to a peaceful state.
It is the most incredible feeling to put my phone down and feel my brain relax. Hard, yes; rewarding, UH-HUH.
To the left is a very detailed checklist of what my mornings used to look like. I needed very detailed cues to get myself to a place where the rituals felt hardwired to my life.
Now, my routines are written more like the green images below. Don't feel weird to make it as specific or as broad as you want it to be.
Here are some products that help keep me in check:
Follow this checklist to stay on task with me: