I have naturally always gone to bed early (or at least been tired early) and have always liked waking up to start a new day. In recent years, routines have become a part of each morning. Though it may change slightly from season to season, the routine I’m about to share has happened most every day I’ve been home this fall.
Here’s a glimpse into my morning routine that really helps me accomplish more each day:
The first step to a disciplined morning routine is going to bed early the night before. Don’t think of sleeping because you’re tired from the day, think about sleeping in preparation for tomorrow.
Set the alarm. About half the time, I wake up before the alarm, but I usually get up around 5:00 am. This provides about two and a half full hours of quiet time in my life. I write the start of my day on my calendar (Examples: 5:00 am: Wake up. 6:00 am: Walk / Listen to Sermons). I’ve heard that what gets calendared, gets done. It’s true. I use Google Calendar and Nozbe to help keep things on track.
I read the Bible from the YouVersion app on my phone. The reading plans on YouVersion are just great! And reading the Bible in any format in the morning is really, in my mind, the best way to start the day. As an example, here’s one verse that I highlighted this morning: Remember, it’s a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. (James 4:17). In addition to reading scripture, I also pray – and again, use reminders from my phone to pray for different people /ministries each day.
During the next few minutes, I read through my personal mission statement (most mornings). It helps me become motivated to jump up and start the day. If you’re interested, here’s how to write a personal mission statement. And if you’d like to see a copy of mine, just email me and I will send it to you.
Get dressed, including socks and tennis shoes. This part of my routine stems from a book I read called The Power of Habit. The small cue – putting on tennis shoes – starts the process of the habit. If I just put on slippers, I will be tempted to lounge around. But putting on tennis shoes increases my chances of actually exercising, which isn’t my favorite thing in the world to do, but such a necessary part of maximizing energy for the day.
I make some hot tea with honey. We purchase green tea bags in bulk and we get local honey from Rural King. We use a honey / syrup dispenser and that makes the honey much more manageable. When you buy local honey – which we were inspired to do when we visited Walter Kelley Bee Supply Warehouse on a ministry trip to Kentucky, it just comes in a big jar. That was always difficult to deal with, until we found this dispenser at Dick’s Five and Dime in Branson, IL earlier this year. They say that local honey helps with allergies and we have found that be true – or maybe we’re just faking ourselves out! Either way, it’s working out well.
While waiting for the hot tea, I usually l take a Vitamin C and a Vitamin D. One of these days, I may do a multi-vitamin, but for now, this seems to be fine. I make sure to drink a full cup of water when I take these pills. That helps waking up. I can’t give medical advice, but these are the exact vitamins I’ve taken for years.
Next I sit down and write some on either this blog, other projects or in my journal. I do this for about 45 minutes while I drink the hot tea.
I take a walk either outdoors or on the treadmill. This usually lasts for about 30 minutes or so and during that time, I listen to a podcast, audio book or a sermon. I have the podcast app on my phone and have feeds from several different pastors, business leaders, writers and others. I typically listen to this in double speed to hear more in a less amount of time. Sounds like chipmunk voices, but I’ve gotten used to it.
I look over the to-do list for the day and make sure everything is in order.
I get ready for the day and then sit down to either finish sending out a blog post, writing or reading. If I’m sending out a blog post through email, I use Constant Contact. It’s simple and I’ve been using it since 2007. I’ve told lots of people about it over the years! Use this link to find out more and receive a credit if you choose to begin using it (and Harvest gets a credit too!). If you don’t already receive emailed blog posts from me, click here.
When I’m done sending a blog post email or writing, I read for the remainder of the time. My goal is to read 50 books this year. I got off track of that goal in the summer, but I’m trying to catch up. Here’s what I’m currently reading:
The regular day begins. I help get children ready, have breakfast, take one to school and then start at the office – typically trying to accomplish a bulk of the main priority during the first 90 minutes. This idea stems from reading a book a while back called Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible.
It’s now about 10:00 am and from here day can go about anywhere!
It doesn’t always work out exactly like this – but for now, that’s my goal. If I have an early morning meeting, get home late the night before, or any other reason, this routine gets morphed a little – but there are always component that remain in some fashion.
What works for one doesn’t always work for another, but I thought I might share what I am currently doing. And I’d love to hear what works for you!