Monday, April 29, 2019

Living With Intention - My Morning Routine

I don't know if anyone else is like me, but in my life "routine", is almost laughable. With three of us currently living in an efficiency apartment (we are planning to move soon), and two of those occupants working retail jobs, our day to day lives are anything but routine. There are seldom two days in a given week when we are all on the same schedule. And when either Bill and Kate may open one day and close the next, that means there really are no set bed times or wake up times in our house anymore, and to be honest, it's left me a bit frazzled.

If it were not for the fact that I am not working outside the home at the time, I'm not sure how I would manage. And while being at home does allow for flexibility on my part, I often feel that trying to accommodate for the needs of everyone else makes my day feel unstructured. I'm not complaining here, I'm happy to help, even if I am teetering in the imbalance. 

Thankfully, I tend to be an early riser, so that even on days when both Bill and Kate open, I am usually up for a good hour before either of them. I am also a morning person and I am most productive before 2:00 p.m. After that I can physically feel my energy begin to dwindle, and while an afternoon cup of tea or coffee will usually carry me through the remainder of the afternoon, I still find it harder to focus and I am not as productive. Typically, I like to wrap dinner up no later than 6:30/7:00, earlier if the schedule allows, and after that I am pretty much done for the day both mentally and physically.

In light of this, I feel that most days I just fly by the seat of my pants and **hope** that the most important things get done. I do have set days for laundry (Mondays and Thursdays). I change the sheets every Friday, so I'm good with the weekly, perhaps, bigger tasks. It is often the little daily things, like eating breakfast, and I'm not joking here, that don't always happen. In most cases I am not hungry right away and my stomach needs a little time to wake up. But what often occurs is that someone will need my help getting out the door, or I might have an early appointment and need to be out at a certain time myself, and on those mornings I will frequently forget to eat. I used to never eat breakfast, and sometimes even forgot to eat lunch, but those bad habits wrecked my digestive system and I'm still paying for it today. I've also found that if/when I don't eat breakfast, I tend to snack more during the day and my sugar cravings are higher late in the day. Additionally, there are also days when my quiet time doesn't happen, and while my relationship with the Lord is strong, I recognize a notable difference in my spirit when too many days pass when I haven't been in the word. My relationship with Him affects every other area and relationship in my life and time has proven that my entire day flows better when I begin the day in His word.  

So, what do I do? Living in a one room apartment means that even if I get up earlier than everyone else, I still have to be extra quiet and keep lights to a minimum, which thankfully isn't hard for me, I tend to move pretty quietly through space anyway. But the lack of lighting is the biggest reason why my quiet time often doesn't happen and I instead find myself immediately drawn to Facebook or Instagram. To counter that,  last week I started doing an online devotional, since the light from my laptop provides the light I need without disturbing Bill.  The only problem with that is that I prefer to keep notes in my journal and highlight verses in my bible, which means I need more light.  I've tried breaking things up and waiting until Bill gets up to do that, but it makes it feel a little disjointed. I like for things to flow, so quiet time part 1 and part 2 isn't really working for me. It's also hard to make coffee right now, but only because Bill prefers whole beans and that means it has to be ground. Thankfully it only took a couple of days of carrying the grinder and coffee to the bathroom, to remind me to do it the night before. We use a pour over to make our coffee, so other than heating the water in the kettle, so as long as I make sure the beans are ground, making my morning cup isn't very noisy.

With all of that, the one thing I know is that if I am going to establish a routine and be successful, I'm going to have to keep things simple. Because when you're operating mostly in the dark or with very little light, you're limited in what you can do anyway. I'm just thankful that the bathroom is separated by a wall so that I don't have to brush my teeth and hair in the dark.  And so, after thinking things through, here are my initial thoughts on establishing a routine;

❈ - Get up at 5:00 a.m. - I tend to naturally wake up around this time anyway, but occasionally I will sleep later and it throws off my entire day, so I'm going to start setting an alarm just in case.

❈ - Brush teeth / hair - I may also start getting dressed first thing because it tends to make me more productive. Staying in my pajamas makes me feel lazy and I'm more prone not to do what needs to be done. Getting dressed signals my brain that my day has begun.

❈ - Do my quiet time in a chair, not spread out on the couch. For months now I've been moving straight from the bed to the couch every morning, but guess what happens?  I fall back to sleep!  Sitting at the table shouldn't disturb Bill any more than being on the couch, and I think if I move the light on the buffet that is behind the table to the opposite end, it may even give me enough light to do my quiet time and still be able to see my bible and journal.

❈ - Eat Breakfast!  Some mornings if Bill is going in late and I don't have anywhere to be he likes to cook, and that's GREAT! But on the mornings that he has to leave early or on the rare occasion that I have somewhere to be, I need to force myself to eat something and have easy, ready made options available, like yogurt, which I need to eat more of anyway.

And that's it, simple, easy and do-able, at least, I **think** it is.  But to test that, I've decided to commit to starting this routine on May 1 and keeping it for 30 days. Actually, it will end up being a little more than 30 days because I am going to do a test run beginning tomorrow morning while Bill is away on an overnight hike for a few days. That way I can figure out everything I need to have in place while he is gone so that when he gets back, I'll already know how to prepare and lessen the possibility of disturbing him. I've already discovered in thinking this through, that part of a successful morning begins the night before, like making sure the coffee is ground and ready. So that has me thinking about my evening routine and what that might look like, and I'll be sharing that with you as well. In the mean time, also be posting a few updates to let you know how things go over the next 30 days as I attempt to put this into practice, so be looking for that if you are interested!

To help in my reaching my goal, I've purchased Crystal Paine's program, Make Over Your Mornings! I actually bought this over a year ago, but remember what I said about things not getting things done?  Make Over Your Mornings is a 14 day program, so that will get me about half way into my 30 day goal, and in time I'm hoping to pick up a few ideas and tips for making my mornings and thus my days flow a little better!  I've already looked over the content and I'm really excited!  And just as an FYI, I am currently not an affiliate of this program, although I may choose to be once I've finished it. As a rule, I don't promote anything on my blog that I haven't personally tried! I want to always be able to give you a personal, honest opinion regarding the products I promote here!

If you are looking to bring a little structure and order to your days as well, then I encourage you to follow along and check out Crystal's program! Just click the image above to learn more and sign up!  I'm looking forward to a fresh start to my day and to sharing what I learn along the way!

Until then, seek the the beauty in every day, my friends!

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