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My morning routine.

Most of my life I’ve considered myself a night owl. But since having children my perception and reality have shifted. I have learnt to love mornings and value the time and space that waking early can offer –

  • waking before the family to get a head-start on the day
  • getting work done without depriving anyone of my presence and attention
  • getting ahead with some of the household tasks that help the house to run more smoothly

My ideal waking time is 5.30am and there have been times where this was possible. Right now, with some night-owl leaning tendencies present in other members of the family, 6.30 is a more reasonable waking time.

Even then, I am struggling to fit in seven hours sleep each night. I know that seasons come and go and that change is never far away. So at the moment I am trying to accept the current situation with grace and know that soon enough things will have moved on again and I will, once again, be waking before the sun.

Whatever time I wake, I try to follow a basic morning routine.

Following routines comes more naturally to some than others. For me, I need it written down… and then I need reminders on my phone to look at it… and then I need a hand-written note to remind me to look on my phone… and – enough already! I’m sure you get the picture, I am easily distracted. But I am working on this and now much of this morning routine feels like second-nature-ish!

So the morning routine –

  • Water – I usually drink a pint of water as soon as I wake up and another one pretty soon after.

 

  • Animals – let the doggie in the garden. Feed him and the rabbit. Somewhere around here I turn the kettle on for that first glorious mug of Earl Grey. Some point soon I might wander out in the garden to clear up any business my four-legged friend has left behind (it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it – yes, I was singing as I wrote that bit!)

 

  • Re-boots – the washing and the washing up, hopefully while the dog and the kettle are doing their stuff. Re-booting is just a cool way (thanks, Flylady) to say ‘taking the next step to move these jobs along’; unfortunately completion isn’t really an option or reality here.

The actual task will depend on my efficiency the previous evening. Some mornings a load of washing will be ready to hang out, other times I’ll need to get a load on. For the washing up, it could be as simple as clearing the draining board and washing up any straggler items from last night – maybe a mug and cereal bowl left over from a late night snacker (you know who you are!) On some mornings, it could be a complete tidy up of last night’s dinner things – not my favourite or proudest moments.

 

  • Write and walk – These are the two big tasks I want to complete before anyone else is awake. My intention is to work on a writing project for 30 minutes to an hour each morning. I’m also trying to make sure I walk 10,000 steps every day, so aim for about 2000 before breakfast.

 

  • Check the to-do list – reminding myself of the plan and most important tasks for the day ahead. I usually check the calendar and weekly plan as part of my evening routine so I can prepare any launch-pad items that might be needed in the morning and pinpoint the most important tasks that will need to be done.

 

  • Breakfast time – once my little one wakes up, it’s breakfast time. And so the day begins!

 

Some days I manage to complete all the tasks of my morning routine, and others, not so much. But I do love the reminders and rough plan it provides.

Do you have a morning routine? If you have any tips for getting the day off to the best start, I would love to hear them, please comment below.

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Starting the week with a clean slate : the Sunday Surface Run.

Yesterday was a difficult day. I spent much of it feeling overwhelmed and ‘out of sorts’.

It was a day of rushing around trying to give my family what they needed – some time and attention here, some food and drink there, a past paper for this week’s impending Chemistry exam – you get the picture. But somehow I still felt like I wasn’t really meeting anyone’s needs.

Half way through the afternoon it dawned on me – a big part of the problem was my scattered mind. I really was trying to be present and attentive but kept being distracted by my internal dialogue ‘this place is a mess’, ‘I really need to be tidying up’, ‘I should be able to keep on top of things more’.

My sense of failure was made worse by the fact that I had slept later than usual. After feeling ill the day before I had turned off my alarm and so hadn’t got my usual head-start on the day, missing out much of my usual morning routine.

As the nature of the problem revealed itself so an opportunity arose, as my littlest lovely headed upstairs to ‘talk teddies’ with her big sister.

I set the timer for 15 minutes and embarked upon a Sunday surface run. A big fan of alliteration, I came up with this name a few weeks ago while I was rushing around on a Sunday afternoon trying to get the house in some state of order for the week ahead.

A surface run is just what the name implies –

clearing all surfaces (including the floor)
returning stray items to their proper home
straightening up the items that do live on those surfaces
wiping down said surfaces
preparing the floors for hoovering and sweeping
collecting any washing up to be done and depositing it tidily by the sink (don’t interrupt the run to do any washing up, it’s time will come!).
focusing energy and effort on the communal/family areas only (everywhere that isn’t someone’s bedroom), and…
it’s all about the run. Well, maybe don’t actually run, but do work fast. This is a quick tidy up, not a deep clean – we are aiming to get as much done as possible before the timer goes off, we are not aiming for perfection.

Once my 15 minutes was up I listened out for sounds of fun upstairs, and sensing all was well, headed into the kitchen to tackle that pile of washing up. Setting the timer for 5 minutes this time I worked flat out, super-speedy, trying not to break anything, of course.

After a little break to help set up various fun projects (new Star Wars computer game, an exercise class in the newly tidied lounge…)  I managed to get in 15 minutes of hoovering – the lounge first (couldn’t hold up the exercise class), the stairs and hallway – and a quick sweep of the kitchen floor – a job well done!

Suddenly I noticed it – the sense of calm and peace that had settled over the house, and then the lovely comments.. ‘the front room looks great Mum’, ‘it’s lovely in here, thanks for tidying up’.

Such a lovely feeling, refreshing the house and my mood, all in just over half an hour.

Then back to the really important stuff, spending time with the ones I love.