Pondering My Perfect Morning

planning my perfect morning productivity

planning my perfect morning productivity When I appeared on Erik Fisher’s Beyond the To Do List podcast recently, I knew I needed to prepare for one specific question that he asks every guest: “What does your perfect morning look like?”

It’s a question I’ve been pondering the past two months–because of Erik, and because the structure of my own home routine changed so drastically this fall. I’ve been starting from scratch, in a sense–building my own new routines, finding my new perfect morning routine.

Erik didn’t actually ask me this question. I’m not sure if we ran out of time, or if he was scared about what I would say since I told him my schedule was in flux!

Here’s what I’ve landed on so far for my perfect, everyday, ordinary morning. (One where I wake up in my own bed–not at the beach or in Paris.) It’s still subject to honing and tweaking. But I like the direction it’s heading.

(10:00 pm Lights out. My perfect morning isn’t possible if I don’t get to sleep at a decent hour.)

5:40 Wake Up. I’d love to do earlier, but I need 8 hours of sleep, and I don’t want to go to bed at 9:00 sharp every night–that’s just too early!

5:45 Super quick shower. Since I quit washing my hair every day, I can get away with a 3-minute shower most of the time.

5:50 Get dressed and make coffee. (Or herbal tea, as the case may be, since I’m giving up coffee and caffeine for my January Whole 30.)

6:00-7:00 Write. I don’t check email first, or social media. I just sit down and write on the projects I selected the night before.

7:00 Hit the couch for devotional reading and light therapy time. When the kids wake up, I want them to find me here–not with my laptop.

7:00-8:00. Kids wake up, breakfast. They’ll join me on the couch for some cuddle and reading time, then we’ll get some breakfast just before my husband leaves for work.

8:00 Preparation. In this window I finish getting myself ready for the day, if I need to, and help get the kids dressed and ready. If I need to wash and dry my hair, I’ll do it now. This is also the time to tidy the kitchen, make sure I know what’s for dinner, start the laundry, check email, and review my planner.

8:45 Start school (or head off to work). We start a typical homeschool day at 8:45 (though not every day is typical!)

What I left out

I would love for my perfect morning to include exercise, or yoga, or more time to write. It might be nice to be completely showered and dressed before the kids wake up. But the morning hours don’t stretch on forever, and right now this is how I’m choosing to balance my competing demands and priorities in the early morning hours. Those variables are constantly shifting, and I would be very surprised if my idea of a perfect morning didn’t shift over the coming year.

But for now, this is where I am.

What does your perfect morning look like?

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  1. sarah says:

    Right now my perfect morning: asleep by 9:30, up at 5:10, throw on workout clothes, run down to our basement gym with my husband, where we work out, catch up on some show we didn’t watch the night before (lately we’ve been watching biggest loser– inspiring.) we are down there till maybe 5:50, then we head back upstairs to shower. I plug the coffee maker in on the way up, we dressed and I get completely ready for the day, makeup and all, at this point. My husband usually has to leave between 6:15 or 6:30 so then is sit with my coffee and a handful of nuts and either turn on the fire or cozy up by the window where I can watch the sunrise. Then I pray and read my daily selection from the bible reading plan (I use youversion’s app for this because I can also listen to audio of the plan if I want.) After that I read one of my other books or check my google reader, get another cup of coffee and plan my day. My kids get up around 7:45 or so right now, so I have a good chunk of time. But like you–it never is long enough to get in everything I want! I’d like to spend more mornings with some writing time, and sometimes we push snooze till 5:30 and have to rush with an abbreviated workout.

    And the very hardest part is going to sleep on time!! I agree 9 is just too early, but my husband and I have realized that not turning the TV on in the evenings is sometimes necessary. For instance–we still haven’t gotten to watch the new Downton Abby. Tonight, I tell you! And I have to fight hard to not read on my kindle app at night. That is the blessing and curse of an iPad. I used to read late into the night while my husband went to sleep early, but I’ve realized it’s so helpful to him for me to be his schedule. I want to encourage him in this way. Clearly considering the length of this comment I need to write a post on my goal to Become A Morning Person!!

    • Anne says:

      What do you mean “become a morning person?” Sounds to me like you’re there (and I’m sure that would make a great post!)

      I had to break Downton Abbey into two nights of viewing–the first of the season is long and there just isn’t time between when the kids go to bed and my bedtime. I was so proud of myself for exerting the epic amount of self-control needed to hit “stop” in the middle of the episode!

    • Anne says:

      Ha! I wasn’t sure if you were scared what I would say–because I told you I was in the middle of rethinking it–or if we ran out of time!

      But clearly, your podcast has me thinking. That’s why I gave it 5 stars in iTunes 🙂

  2. My perfect morning changes from time to time. The seasons affect it — in summer I’m often out at dawn working in the garden beds before it gets too hot. Also, my weird body tends to wake naturally at about the same time for months on end and then suddenly shift to another time. Right now I usually wake up around 5:30, but I do “stints” of anywhere from 3:30 — 7:30! But, ideally I like to wake up, come downstairs and start coffee, unload the DW while it brews, and then…
    …this is where I hit a snag. I want to write first — I find I work “in my own voice” the best when I haven’t been reading anything immediately before writing, but I most enjoy my coffee when I can sip it as I read rather than write (which results in cold coffee and frequent micro re-heats.) I’ve tried putting off having that cup until after I write, but my brain really appreciates the caffeine, ya know?

    Otherwise, I start laundry if we’re doing it that day, “groom & room,” and see our youngest son off to his morning classes. Exercise is something I’m trying to incorporate (AGAIN!), but I find it takes such a chunk of time between dressing FOR the exercise, DOING the exercise, showering and dressing AFTER the exercise…

      • Anne says:

        This is why I love heavy weights. I don’t need to wash my hair afterwards like I do after a long run! (Or at least after a long run in July–winter is much easier.)

        Sometimes I like to work out mid-afternoon, and then I just do dinner in workout wear. But it IS a conundrum, isn’t it?

  3. Beth @ dot in the city says:

    My prefect morning consists of getting up at 5:30, to see the Mr. off to work. 5:45 make myself some tea/breakfast and have my QT, 6:30 take a shower/get ready, 7:15 feed the dog, make my lunch and get out the door at 7:30. I would really like to fit in a walk with the dog, but that rarely happens!

  4. Sarah Beals says:

    My ideal morning would be to sit on my back porch, read, drink my coffee and watch the sunrise in my p.j’s…undisturbed.for.hours. 🙂 Did you mean in reality or in fantasy? 🙂 lol

  5. Kim of The Made Thing says:

    Loved this post! Today I had a very unusual morning. My best friend, who I hadn’t seen in three years, was visiting. Sitting drinking tea together and catching up was wonderful. We’re so natural together, never having to put on airs to impress each other. I can sit there in my bathrobe with uncombed wet hair and she doesn’t care. It’s wonderful.

    My normal morning consist of waking up at 6:00 and getting out of bed 10-15 minutes later after hitting snooze once or twice. Shower, moisturize (I have SUPER dry skin), breakfast in my bathrobe while I let it sink in, get dressed, grab lunch I assembled the night before, and head out the door. I get to work at 7:30.

    • Anne says:

      Kim, I’m guilty of frequently skipping the moisturizing (dry skin here, too) because I don’t want to take the 2 minutes to do it. (Not good!)

  6. Jaimie says:

    I was JUST talking yesterday with a friend about the fact that I really need to give myself a structured schedule for every day so I have time to do what I want to do, and not lollygag around like usual! I’m going to be writing about this very thing today. 🙂 🙂

  7. Stacey says:

    My morning actually looks quite similar to yours with two (well, three if you count my big ol’ mug of coffee!) exceptions. I do check my social media first- if I don’t I’ve found so darn antsy that I can’t get anything else done- not proud of this but embracing it as truth! And two, I don’t set aside writing projects the night before. I love this idea because I often have the time but not the focus to decide what to work on at that early hour. I plan to add this in to my routine!

  8. Missy June says:

    I am a working mother of three young children and my routine morning looks this way:

    Night Prior – in bed at 10:30, lights off at 11 pm

    Alarm at 5:40 am

    I start the day by turning up the thermostat, making my bed then brushing teeth, washing my face, applying makeup and laying out the clothes for my day. I wake the childrne at 6:15 am.

    6:15 – the children get dressed and make beds then arrive in the living room for breakfast. I prepare breakfast as they get ready and we spend a few minutes snuggling as they eat and watch PBS. Meanwhile I straighten the kitchen back up and finish my hair.

    6:50 – Brush teeth & hair, we rotate for bathroom space.

    7:00 – Gather lunches (made the night prior), backpacks and tidy rooms (put away toys that came out and jammies into hamper, etc.)

    7:05 – Leave for school!

  9. Jennifer H says:

    Everyone is such an earlybird! Four mornings a week I have to wake up early, but my “perfect” morning has me up around 8 am. On those mornings, my only child rises earlier and enjoys his morning quiet time (read “screen time” that I limit once I wake up). I love lazy mornings, leisurely breakfast, reading, sometimes I even go back to bed. Then my afternoons and evenings are my productive times. On the other four mornings, I get a lot done in the morning, but feel very sluggish in the afternoons, and by the evenings, am pretty much a couch potato. It may have something to do with my later bedtime of 11 to 12 – maybe I can work on that 🙂

  10. Malisa Price says:

    What a great morning routine. I have been trying to get up earlier so I can do more before I go to work. On the days I do, it is surprsing how much of a difference it makes in my attitude and overall day.

  11. Krissa says:

    Hi Anne! You’ve mentioned or linked to several different lights that you’ve used for light therapy…can you tell me which one you recommend? Or are they all pretty similar? I’d love to try one. Thanks!

  12. Jamie says:

    We keep a pretty tight schedule most mornings, needing to be out the door no later than 5 am, but once in a while we’ll get a “perfect” morning on a weekend. Wake up at 5(ish) and cuddle the dogs – two border collies who believe no one should get out of bed in the morning without kisses! Then steaming cups of French Press coffee on the couch with my husband, watching the sunrise. After that, something simple but yummy for breakfast, homemade muffins or waffles usually.

    For your average morning, though, I agree with some of the above comments that the key is being prepared the night before. I’ll stay up a little bit later if I have to just to make sure that the dishes are done, the laundry is put away, lunches are packed, etc. You never know what a morning will bring, and there’s no substitute for having done everything you can control to greet it well!

    Also, (sorry this is getting long) a note for the people who lament how early many of us seem to get up – I am the only early bird among my siblings. My brother and sister happily sleep in until 11 if they can and then stay up past midnight. Some people are just wired to work better in the afternoon/evening – embrace how you’re made and find what works for you! 🙂

  13. Katie says:

    Now that I can mostly count on at least three two-hour naps between 11 pm and 8 am, I need to actually implement a routine for the morning (and the whole day!). But everything’s still in flux, with an infant. Plus, the DDH was able to take the entire month of January off for FMLA, so everything’s different right now. I love getting to spend the time with him (and watching him get extra time with T-Rex), but he does throw off the schedule!

    I love reading about people’s schedules and routines. I’m a sucker for them. Schedules, lists, Epic Plans…I love making and reading about them, though I’m less good at following through on them. 🙂

  14. Ah, mornings. I’m not much of a morning person. I wake up when the kids wake me up, and I always hope it will be later than it is. These days it’s somewhere between 6:30 and 7, which is better than 5:30, which it was for much of the summer. I get coffee, get the kids breakfast, play with them, but I am pretty focused at 8 a.m. when work starts. Then I get a solid 2-3 hours of work on whatever my most important project is before I start getting distracted. My perfect morning is when I’m working on a project I’m enjoying and I can see I’m making progress.

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