Sunday, November 7, 2010

Maximize Your Mornings

Inspired To Action Button

I found this new blog called Inspired to Action: Tips and Tools for Inspired Moms. I am really loving it, and Kat's mission to help inspire moms to be more. More godly, more organized, more simple, more intentional. Her mission is to give practical tips in all sorts of areas to help us moms to work towards goals but in practical ways. Sometimes we can get all this vague advice from people about how to mother or take care of a household, but I really love suggestions and real ways to apply this advice to everyday life.
Kat (the author of the blog), wrote a short ebook (that's free, by the way!) called Maximize Your Mornings. You can download it here. It is around 35 pages of easy reading and I suggest you print it out so you can fill in the blanks as you go. This is not a huge time commitment of reading or hard material to follow. You basically read the book and see if Maximizing Your Mornings is something you want to commit to.
Maximize Your Mornings: The Basics
I always knew that getting up early was an option. But for me, it really wasn't an option. No sooner would I think of the idea, it would be out of my head. I didn't even have the energy to set my alarm for earlier than my kids got up let alone snooze it and go back to sleep.
But after having read the ebook, I was at least interested in the idea. Kat's basic premise is to start your day before your kids wake up and spend time doing 3 things: time with God, exercise, and plan your day. That's it. She doesn't even suggest that this be your main time for any of these 3 areas, though it works best for me to do it all in the morning.
She outlines very practical ways to spend time with God (a Bible study plan, suggestions for reading His Word, etc.), exercise (making lists of all possible ways you could exercise, a list of things you will need in the morning), and plan for your day (short, easy ways to make goals for things to get done.) I don't know about you, but my days end up being pretty hectic. When I had one little baby, I remember being bored and lonely. I didn't know how to take care of a house, and I only had this little baby who slept all day to take care of. Now, with 2 kids, homeschooling, an apartment to take care of, and a full week of commitments to keep to, I find my days flying by, and important details getting lost in the shuffle.
Not only do things in the house need to get done and don't, but I find myself being drained and not having any "me" time. My "me" time is suppose to be at night after the kids go to bed, but I always need at least an hour to clean up the house and kitchen, and by the time I do that, I don't have the energy to paint my nails, workout, play guitar, or do anything I wish I had the energy for.
How My Mornings Accidentally got Maximized
So I had read the ebook, and I was interested in getting up early, but interested and motivated are two very different things. Judah was starting to almost sleep through the night, getting up in the early morning for a bottle, and then going back to sleep until between 730 or 830. So one morning, he woke at 5 or 530 for a bottle, and after feeding it to him, I was pretty awake. So I decided to come out and spend time with God. And exercise. It was quiet. The kids were asleep. I could think straight (minus the grogginess!) It was "me" time. "Me and God" time. It was awesome. After that, I was hooked. I realized how much I was rejuvenated, refreshed, and I could rest and think and worship and plan and pray, all by myself. It. was. glorious.
My Morning Routine
After having done this morning thing for several weeks now, I have started to start planning my mornings the night before. Kat encourages you to do that so that you don't have to think in the morning. I'm not very awake in the morning, so I need everything to be ready so I don't waste time getting things ready. The night before I try to put my water bottle in the fridge, lay out my workout clothes, make coffee and set the timer for the morning, and write out a plan. I plan what pages I will read in my book, what questions I will do, the rest of my time with God, the things I need to plan for the day (homeschool plan, meal for dinner, check my planner, my (3 thing) to do list), and what I will do for my exercise. I either set out my running stuff or prep an exercise DVD. So I pretty much don't have to do anything in the morning. I pour my coffee, go on Twitter to let the ladies know I am awake (@hellomornings), sit down and light my candle, and start my time with God.
Now I know this time might not last forever, but right now I have a baby who is sleeping in until around 8 am, and my 4 year old has a clock and must sleep until 6 and play in her room until 7am. She is an early riser, and starting when my baby was little, she has had this routine in place so she wouldn't wake other people up super early. So I just continued it, and even though I am awake, she knows that I am spending time with Jesus and she must still stay in her room. She will even say sometimes, "Mom, did you do your workout?"
Effects of a Morning Routine
Now I am definitely not a supermom, and I lack perseverance when it comes to sticking to something. But I hope to continue this morning routine because it is so refreshing. Taking the advice of the book, I pray for my husband and family in the mornings. She talks about not being a grumpy mom (in her blog) when being awakened by your kids in the morning and having a hectic day start right off with your little alarm clocks. Why not get up before them, pray for them, and be excited to see them in the morning, having already been refreshed and renewed with the Lord, and focusing on praying over them?
Also, before I started getting up early, I wasn't setting time aside to spend with God. For a long time. Now that I have a set time where I won't be interrupted (for the most part), I am starting to see how I am starting to grow again, to be challenged by the Word, and to really enjoy my time pursuing God, instead of complaining about having no time to spend with Him.
I love having a plan for the day, knowing what I'm doing and not frantically trying to plan these things after breakfast when my day is already in full swing. I even get a daily shower because I work this in right after my workout while Maddy is watching a show. If my workout goes later than 7am, I just set Maddy up at the table with a movie on the computer and a snack while I finish and take a shower. I never even had a shower built in to my day and I was lucky if I got one, and when I did, they were always sporadic. Now I always shower and get ready, and actually feel like real human being when I go out!
One thing I am failing to do is go to bed earlier. It seems that as I have gotten up earlier, I have gone to bed later. Lately I have been kind of lazy in getting up when I'm suppose to to get everything done, because I have really needed to catch up on my sleep! This is the area I need some discipline in so I don't get sick from lack of sleep!

So here it is. I challenge my readers to read this ebook. To evaluate whether or not this is something you could or would commit to. If you do, please comment in the comments section of this post, and we can keep each other accountable, text in the mornings, facebook, or just chat about challenges, suggestions, and the rewards of being refreshed early in the morning!! You can follow me on Twitter too (@steph4given, @hellomornings.)
I am so excited to be sharing this with all of you, especially you moms, and I hope that at least one of you will take up the challenge and see how much more refreshed you feel to be quiet with the Lord, workout your physical body, and plan your day early in the morning. I'm telling you, it's worth it!!

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