Monday, June 11, 2012

5 Ways to Save 15 minutes

Morning is, for some reason, my busiest time of day. My kids wake up early (which I like for the most part) and my husband leaves by 7am. I find that if I get behind in the morning, I spend several hours trying to catch up. Here are 5 things that I have found can be helpful in keeping the morning from spinning out of control:
  1. Play some classical music. It seems to do a good job of bringing some peace and tranquility into the house, and children seem a little less determined to scream over it. Sometimes. Either way, it helps me to keep a calm frame of mind, which goes quite a ways toward helping the children to do the same.
  2. Have a breakfast plan. I don't like having cereal each and every morning, but it just is quicker and easier. To cook anything, though, always seemed to take so long to search through the cupboards before I can get things started. Now, I know that Monday is oatmeal, so I can set a few things out the night before. If I want to cook on Sunday morning, I can at least have an idea the night before of what to do or even set something up in the Crock Pot. And Thursday is pancake or waffle day - batter made the night before (sensing the trend?). Even if the "night before" plan doesn't happen, it relieves some headspace to be able to look at a schedule and not have to think about what to make - just do what your schedule says.
  3. Make your to-do list the night before. I'm bad about this, but I find that if I take my list to bed with me and note things down - appointments, things that need to get done that day, etc - it's easier for me to fall asleep because I'm not trying to hold it all in my head, and I don't need to worry about finding some quiet "thinking" time to create my list while children are brawling over teeth-brushing access or the four year old needs help getting dressed.
  4. Spend some time in the Word and prayer. For Christians, this should be a non-issue, but we've all been guilty of thinking, "There's so much to do, I'm behind all ready. Let's get rolling and I'll get to it later" now and then. Yet, the Israelites gave the first fruits of their labors, and so must we, and that includes our time.  It's not a magic formula that ensures that if we spend a half an hour with God in the morning, all will go swimmingly, but when we do meet with Him, He speaks to us, changes us, and enables us to move into the trials of the day (be they big or small) with His power and grace. I'd say we all need a little more of God's power and grace.
  5. Be prepared to let something go. Everything is in order. The planning is meticulous. It's full steam ahead. But then...your husband has a dead battery. A toddler has wet the bed. Someone is sick. Two children declare war on each other and they are taking no prisoners. Whatever. Everyone has the Morning of Dread once in a while, and there is no way to plan for them. So, be flexible. Be prepared that the playdate or appointment will be canceled, you won't be able to go to the store or homeschool will be a little more video-based than normal. Do what you can do, but don't be so tied to your plan that it becomes your tyrant. Make it work for you.
What helps your morning/day go that little bit smoother?


Danielle said...

I still struggle with smooth mornings and have tried different things. I'm typically a morning riser and so are the kids. I like getting up earlier than them but that's very hard to do. Perhaps my expectations for my personal time with the Lord are too much/long. I love a good half an hour.

I'm pretty good about prepping the night before: coffee on auto, snacks set up (because they want to eat something usually before breakfast is read), clothes pulled out and in the living room for boys to dress themselves without waking Sophia. We've become HUGE granola fans here so I make some once a week. I like that you can eat it with milk or sprinkle on top of yogurt with seasonal fruit.

And classical music in the morning. What a great idea! I think I'll try that!

Zoanna said...

Good advice. The wisdom of doing things the night before is actually based on the way God designed days (ie "the Jewish way") where a "day" actually goes from sundown to sundown, rather than sunrise to sunset.

Briana Almengor said...

These are excellent and some I know to do and just inconsistently do. The seasons of the children change and with that, the morning routine can change. Now, my kids can get themselves dressed and start their chores and even help themselves to something in the kitchen on their own if I am still sleeping or reading or getting ready. I'm grateful for that.

But, I am so inconsistent with implimenting these sound ideas and THAT'S where I need to grow for sure.