I am something of a time management nerd. I seriously love setting up schedules for myself, making chore checklists for my kids, and even tracking my use of time over a week. It’s the kind of thing that makes my Type A, Upholder self (see Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies for more information about Upholders, Obligers, Questioners, and Rebels) really, ridiculously happy.
Because of this, I thrive on a morning routine. I love the structure of having a set of tasks or rituals that I complete each morning. When that routine is thrown off, I feel completely overwhelmed and out of sorts. Can you relate?
Over the years, I have periodically shared my morning routine here on the blog. (You can find links to past morning routines here , here, and here.) But, it’s been awhile! Many things have changed in the past few years, and those have caused my morning routine to adjust along with them. My kids are older. I have a different job. My husband is now a priest and college professor. Life changes and our routines have to change along with it.
So, here’s the routine that’s currently working for me.
My Morning Routine: 2021 Version
Some aspects of my morning routine are only possible because of my evening routine. While I won’t get into that too much here, there are a few things I do that are critical to helping streamline my mornings:
-shower in the evenings
-lay out my clothes for the next day
-help the kids choose and lay out their clothes
Wake Up: 6:15
No matter how I’ve tried, I just can’t get myself to wake up before 6 in the morning. This could be because my severe iron deficiency anemia forces my body to rest for 8.5-9 hours a night. It could be because I just don’t want to get up that early. Whatever the reason, my alarm goes off at 6:15.
Get Myself Ready: 6:15-6:30
Next, I get dressed, put on make up, do my hair, and make myself generally presentable for the day ahead. I work outside the home as a teacher, so this requires semi-professional dress each day. I have a very minimalist make up and hair routine, which suits me but still lets me look professional at work.
Help the Kids Get Ready: 6:30-6:55
Then, I go upstairs and wake the kids up. I love that they are at the stage now where I can just wake them and expect them to get dressed, make their beds, and come downstairs on their own. While they are doing this, I lay out their breakfast (generally cereal or toast) and begin unloading the dishwasher.
I do various small chores around the kitchen and living room while they eat their breakfast. This helps me keep on top of the basic, daily housework that needs to be done. Each morning I like to: tidy the living room, unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, and lay out frozen meat to defrost/ start a meal in the crock pot/ any other meal prep that needs to be done.
By doing this small, quotidian chores, I’m ensuring that the house is manageable when I come home from work in the afternoon, tired and filled with less energy.
You may notice that I don’t eat breakfast with the kids. This is intentional. I am currently practicing intermittent fasting as a weight loss measure. My eating window is from 11:30-7:30, and I don’t eat before or after that window. This has really helped me with the weight loss and is fairly simple to do. The 11:30 start time coincides with a break at school and the 7:30 finish ensures that we can eat dinner together as a family.
While I am doing these chores, I can still talk with the kids, make sure that they have all they need, etc. We are able to start our day together. Then, at 6:55 I send them out the door to catch the bus for school.
Prayers and Spiritual Reading: 6:55-7:15
Once the kids are gone, I can relish a quiet house. I use this time to write my day’s to-do list in my planner (a simple, inexpensive one I found on Amazon). Then I read a chapter of the New Testament. One of my goals for the year is to read through the New Testament, and by reading 1-2 chapters a day, this is a very doable goal. Some days I may also read a small portion of an Orthodox book.
Finally, I go into my icon corner and pray the morning prayers.
I try to walk out the door at 7:15 each morning. Then I get into the car for my wonderfully short (10 minute!) commute to work. During the ride I listen to an audiobook. Though it’s only for 10 minutes, the commute time adds up over the course of the week. (This is one of the ways that I can read over 100 books in a year!) I’m currently listening to Queen Victoria: Twenty-four Days that Changed Her Life. It’s fascinating!
Finally, I am at work an hour before school starts, allowing me to get prepared for the day.
That’s it! It’s very simple, but by having a routine I ensure that I get some of my priorities for the day (spiritual reading and prayers, reading, and housework) accomplished before I get busy with work.
I hope that this encourages you. It is not a typical Instagram-worthy morning routine (up at 5, exercising, hours of work, devotions, etc!), but it works. As you perfect your morning routine, keep the following in mind:
Creating Your Morning Routine
- Wake up at a time that allows you to get the rest that your body needs. Don’t be a morning martyr if involves damaging your health.
- Decide on your priorities and put them first in the day.
- A short amount of time doing something (prayer, reading, exercising, etc.) is better than no amount of time.
- Allow your morning routine to change as your life circumstances alter. Rigidity is not a virtue.
Good luck creating a morning routine that works for you!