The #1 Way to Have a Great Morning

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The #1 Way to Have a GREAT Morning! @ AVirtuousWoman.org #ATimeToClean

A Time to Clean: Day 21

You can read the rest of the posts in this series here.

I’ll be honest. I totally failed at this today. My alarm went off and instead of hitting the snooze like I meant, I hit the off button on my alarm.

To my great frustration, I overslept – meaning I won’t be able to do everything I had planned to do today.

The Importance of Waking Up Early

If you want to be successful and accomplish a lot during the day, you need to wake up early. {The exception to this would be the person who works third shift.}  I have never personally met a really successful person who slept in every day.

Now, there are a lot of ways to be successful – not just financially. If you’re a stay at home mom, being successful doesn’t necessarily mean you are earning an income. But, you do contribute to the financial well-being, health, and comfort of your family.

Over the years, I have found that when I wake up early, most days will be fruitful and I’ll feel good about what I accomplished at the end of the day.

The #1 Way to Have Great Morning

If you want to have a good morning – you know, where you wake up with energy, you feel happy, you don’t feel rushed – you need to go to bed early. This is the #1 thing you can do to start your day off right.

It’s hard to go to bed early. At least it is for me. I always want to pack so much into one day and I often feel like if I don’t work late into the evening that things won’t get done. I do best in the mornings if I go to bed no later than 10:00 pm. If I wake up at 6:00 am that gives me 8 hours of sleep.

Moms are usually the last one to climb into bed. In my house, I’m the one who shuts everything done at night. Tuck the kids into bed. Wash those last dishes. Make sure the garage door is shut. Make sure the doors are locked. Make sure the cats have been fed and the dogs are in their beds. Make sure the lights are all out.

If I’m feeling particularly energetic, I might even pick up things around the house and straighten rooms before turning in for the night. {I don’t personally find that energy late very often.}

Trying to pack too much into one day means I may not be allowing enough margin in my life. It’s a good thing to evaluate how you are spending your time and decide whether some things can wait until later. But the truth is, moms are busy and rarely does a day go by that is the exception.

Lack of sleep contributes to fatigue and irritability during the day which can negatively impact your family. Having said that, if you have a young infant at home who is not yet sleeping through the night getting enough rest can be a real challenge! Give yourself grace.

The Evening Routine

Having a predictable evening routine can make a huge difference in how your morning goes. Some ideas would be:

  • Supper
  • Bathtime
  • Family worship
  • Straighten house
  • Tidy kitchen
  • Tuck kids in bed
  • Free time for mom
  • Shut house down
  • Go to bed

Depending on what you need to do the next day, you might also include:

  • Preparing lunches
  • Laying out clothes
  • Making sure backpacks and shoes are by the door
  • Looking over your planner at the day ahead

Being prepared and organized the night before really pays off when your mornings are hectic. Having less clutter in your home means you’ll be able to find those papers you need without sending out a search party.

The Morning Routine

Now that you’re going to bed early enough to wake up early… you’ll find it’s easier to set aside time for your personal worship. I can’t stress enough how waking up early and starting the day off with a Word from the Lord and a prayer from your heart will help in setting the right tone for the day. Does that mean you’ll never have a bad day? No. But it will mean you’ll have already put on your armor to fight the battles your day will throw at you – with grace and peace.

I’m sure there’s dozens of ways you could do your morning routine. And honestly there is no “right way” of doing any routine as long as it works for you. However, here’s a “best practice” routine for your morning that I really believe in. If you have purchased one of my “This is My Life” planners you’ll find most of this morning routine checklist under the “household chores” section of each weekly planner sheet.

  • Daily prayer and devotion
  • Get dressed
  • Make beds
  • Start laundry – wash, dry, fold, put away
  • Wipe down bathrooms
  • Straighten house
  • 10 minute declutter

After your personal prayer time, get dressed for the day. Honestly, this is really hard for me on days when I don’t have plans to leave the house. Especially in the winter months. We keep our thermostat low {around 58 – 60 degrees} and so I like staying in my snuggly warm pajamas. But getting dressed does help you to feel more “professional” or “successful” so there is real merit in getting dressed. I try to get a hot shower, brush my hair, and put on some face powder even if I plan to stay in my comfy jammies all day long. That way, at least, I don’t feel {or look} grungy.

Making the Beds

Making the beds only takes a few minutes and if you train your children early on to make their beds when they wake up you’ll be ahead of the game. A made bed makes your room look neater even if it’s not perfectly tidy. And, in my opinion, there’s nothing like climbing into a made bed at night time.

Doing the Laundry

Unless there’s just two of you living at home, doing laundry each morning is the most practical. Unless you’ve decided that assigning a chore to each day of the week is the most efficient way for you to keep your home clean, I really recommend doing at least one load of laundry a day – to completion.

My teens do their own laundry which really helps ease my burden, but for many years with five children at home, I did at least two loads of laundry six days a week. If you have teens at home I really recommend you train them to do their own laundry. If my kids don’t have clean clothes to wear – it’s not my fault. Each of my kids started doing their own laundry around the age of 13 or 14.

The important thing though is to follow through with your laundry when you start it. If you wash and dry a load, but leave it piled on the couch or on the table or on the floor… well, you’re just adding to the visual clutter in your home. And remember, clutter is really just an unmade decision. In this case, laundry clutter is your unmade decision to just get it done – which also adds to your mental clutter and stress.

How Long Does Laundry Take?

  • It might take 2 or 3 minutes to load the washing machine. Maybe a little longer if you need to treat clothing for stains, but not longer than 5 minutes.
  • Switching the clothes into the dryer takes 1 minute.
  • Folding the clothes should only take 5 minutes.
  • Putting away the clothes should only take 5 minutes at the most.

If you train your children to put away their own folded clothes {neatly into their drawers or closet} putting away your own laundry and linens should only take a few minutes.

We’re talking at most 20 minutes of your day spent doing laundry – smalle increments. And probably less! No mental clutter. No feeling of discouragement. No time lost digging through piles of clean laundry looking for socks that match or a pair of underwear you need. Right. Now.

Definitely worth following through!

Freshening the Bathrooms

Depending on the size of your family, how many bathrooms you have, and how old your children are, your bathroom may or may not feel less than fresh as quickly as mine. But at the very least, sinks and toilets should be wiped down each morning. You can do this in less than 10 minutes. If your children are old enough you can even assign them to the task. You can use a cloth, sponge, or even one of those Clorox handy wipes.

Your weekly cleaning of the bathrooms will be more in depth, but to keep the bathroom looking and smelling fresh, a morning wipe down is ideal.

Straightening the House

I always say a tidy house is so much easier to clean than a messy house. So, getting into the habit of putting things away instead of setting them down will make daily straightening of your home quick and painless.

I will say this gets easier as your children mature. My youngest is now 11 years old and the house does not get nearly as messy as it did when my kids were younger and always dropping things around the house. So, if your children are still young, realize that this season is a little harder – but it will get easier!

The 10-Minute Declutter

As you continue to get rid of at least one bag a day until your home is clutter free, try working on adding one new routine to your mornings and evenings until they each become a habit. Adding in a 10-Minute declutter time each morning {or evening} will go a long way in helping you maintain your clutter free home.

This is a practice I had gotten out of the habit of doing. No more!

If you mentally feel better setting the timer, go for it! Pick a spot in your home that has accumulated clutter – whether it be a table top, drawer, or closet – and clear the clutter for 10 minutes. Most small spaces will be easily cleared of the clutter in this short amount of time.

What time do you usually go to bed? If you’re used to going to bed too late, what’s keeping you from changing your ways?

Today’s Goal

  • Do you struggle to get to bed at a decent hour? What can you do to change your current habits?
  • Think about your morning and evening routines. Pray and ask God to help you determine the best routine for your family.
  • Pray about making hard decisions – about what things you should keep, preserve, or let go.
  • Pick up a journal and write down your thoughts about what He has shown you or print my free prayer journal.
  • Choose an area in your home you want to tackle. I’ll be working in my bedroom today.
  • Fill at least one bag or box full of stuff to give away. You can donate to our Appalachian Community Center if you’d like.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram – use hashtag #atimetoclean {optional}
  • Leave a comment below about what you chose to get rid of and anything else God has laid on your heart.
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow and spend time in prayer. Use your prayer journal. I’ll be waking up around 6:00 am.

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  1. Reading your posts definitely bring peace in my life. I have learned over the last few years that I am a very stubborn woman. I'm afraid I am lost. I'm in a rough situation these days. My house has always suffered through lots of clutter and disorganization. Getting ready for work and getting the kids ready was always a challenge. Then when i get home, my relationship (now my marriage) suffered greatly. We lack communication and companionship. He is thinking about a separation, which hurts a great deal. I felt like everything I do and everything I worked for is for my husband and my family and now he wants to leave?! With everything going on with my life and work- I've grown weak and feel like I can't win this battle. Finding your blog has helped me a great deal! Thanks Melissa!!!!
  2. I find that I am able to get everything done that you mentioned above and I don't wake up until 8:15am with my two kids. The trick? I don't go to bed until midnight and I work hard while my two little ones are taking their afternoon nap. I am not a morning person, never have been. I am quite the night owl though! So I'm not sure you have to wake-up early "to be successful and accomplish a lot during the day." Doing certain chores and such can just as well be accomplished at nap time and at night when everyone is asleep. Just a thought!
    1. Hi Jen, I understand your point. I'm glad you've found a solution that works for you. For most people, waking up earlier is going to be beneficial. And, people who go to bed early live longer and are less likely to be overweight. So, I still maintain that for most of us, waking up early is the best practice. Even Aristotle mentioned it: It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle :) I am natural night owl. I tend to want to stay up late. But, staying up late is not healthy. I also believe {IMO} when we encourage our children to sleep in we are setting them up for less success as adults. But I've learned to be a morning person. :) There is a definite correlation to waking up early and success: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226910 http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehjh45khem/benefits-of-early-risers-2/ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140819150222-5799319-6-secrets-to-success-only-early-birds-know http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/30/kids-bedtime-obesity-sleep_n_989457.html https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ie=UTF-8&q=go%20to%20be%20late%20obesity Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for your input! :)
  3. I LOVE THIS! I JUST wrote a blog post on becoming a morning person. It's not half as good as this but I'm posting it tomorrow with several links...I think I'm adding yours in! This is excellent!
  4. I find that getting up early to go to work makes a huge difference to my day. As yet, I do not tidy the room but certainly air the bed, open all the windows for fresh air and have a decent breakfast (compared to getting out of bed at 7 and rushing to have my shower/breakfast/make up routine etc. and be out of the house for 7h30.
  5. Have really enjoyed reading everything leaving now this site. I have been a stay at home mom for a little over a year and a half. The decision was due to finances but I also thought I really wanted to stay home. I am now home with a 3.5 year old, 22 month old, and 11 month old, it's quite busy and some days I feel so lost and confused. This site has really helped me in feeling like I can succeed at this motherhood calling. The tips on schedules, de-cluttering, bedtime and morning routines, it's all been very comforting and I have been doing the de-cluttering and look forward to getting into a good routine with the kids. I am always making excuses because they are all still so young but if I start enforcing routine it will make everyone's lives so much easier. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. God bless you and this ministry.
    1. Hello Brianna, I hope you see this message - it is quite a while since you posted. I just wanted you to know that it is ok to put everything on the backburner when you have 3 kids under 4! When you have such little children, it is quite impossible to get everything done each day (especially as they so often undo your work in a matter of moments!). Focus on the important, and leave the rest. The important being the children, obviously. They grow so quickly (as I was so often told, and I scoffed at, but turns out it's true). If you have fed them, have clean dishes and clothes, and sweep the crumbs at the end of the day (I will run around with a vacuum 5 minutes before my husband is due home - increases the likelihood of it being clean when he walks in the door!) - then that is enough. This time in your life is for playing with them, not deep-cleaning the house, or making vacuum lines in the carpet*. It is a time that seems so long, and yet once it is over, you will be bewildered at where it all went. It is a busy, messy, beautiful time... soak it in. *https://www.babble.com/parenting/vacuum-lines-are-lonely-mothers-day-plea-to-young-moms-goes-viral/

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