I’m a confirmed night owl, and getting going in the morning can be hard. As a work-at-home mom though, getting the morning off to a positive and productive start can make or break the work day. What you do in the morning can affect your entire day, so it’s worth putting some effort into making sure your morning goes as smoothly as possible.
A morning routine can set a successful tone for the day, help you get your most important tasks taken care of, and it can free you up for the fun stuff later in the afternoon. Here are my favorite tips for creating a simple morning routine that can help you and your family start the day off on a happy note.
- Get up at least 30 minutes before your kids. It can be tough — I’m one of those moms who prefer to sleep until I absolutely must get up (aka when a kid wakes me up demanding breakfast). And it’s even tougher when you have an infant or toddler who wakes at the crack of dawn. As much as possible, try to get up before the kids wake you up, if for no other reason than to have a few minutes to yourself in the morning to focus and have some quiet time.
- Make your bed. I know — why make the bed when you’re just going to mess it up again that evening? Because it sets the tone for the day. A made bed looks so nice and tidy, and it starts you off feeling productive for putting something messy into order.
- Get dressed and brush your teeth. Spend a few minutes making yourself look nice. It can be so tempting as a work-at-home mom to spend the entire day in pajamas or old yoga pants, but try out a new habit of getting dressed (suitable for public), brushing your teeth, and washing your face. You’ll feel better, more professional, and you won’t be embarrassed if a neighbor shows up at your door unexpectedly.
- Eat something. Keep breakfast simple, but do consume something besides coffee. Try to find something both you and your kids like so you don’t have to make separate meals. A couple different kinds of cereal? Eggs? Yogurt? Try to keep the breakfast menu quick and easy. Unload clean dishes from the dishwasher and load any dirty dishes. If you don’t have a dishwasher, spend a few minutes washing the breakfast dishes.
- Get the kids busy so you can work. If your kids are older, that might mean getting them out the door to school on time. If they're still little tykes, maybe it means you drop them off with a babysitter for a few hours, or turn on their favorite cartoon so you can get an hour of work done. It's vital that you create space in your day when your kids are occupied so you can be a successful work-at-home mom!
It may seem like a lot of work getting a morning routine together, but start off with just a few simple tasks, and make sure to list them out somewhere that you can easily see them so you can stay on track as you go. Within a couple of weeks, you'll have your new routine down to a habit, and you won't even need to think about it anymore! A morning routine goes so much smoother when there's a corresponding evening routine to close out the day and prepare you for tomorrow. Here are a few tips for closing up shop at the end of the day to make your new morning routine even more effective.
- As you wrap up work for the day, jot down your three to five most important tasks to work on tomorrow. Try to limit yourself to no more than five tasks to allow yourself adequate time and mental power to actually get them done. It’s disheartening to start each day with a long list of to-do’s knowing you won’t actually get everything done. Limit yourself to the most important tasks, and then you can fill in any free time with less important tasks that are still on your plate.
- Do a quick pick up and leave your home as neat as possible each night. In your work area, put away your files, tidy up papers, and shut down your computer. Around the rest of the house, have your kids help pick up toys, tidy up living spaces, and load and run the dishwasher. This isn’t meant to be a daily deep clean, but just a general pick up so that clutter and dirty dishes don’t start to take over during a busy work week.
- Check your calendar for tomorrow so you know if there are any appointments or meetings you need to dress up for, if your children have lessons or sports practice that require special clothes or equipment, or if there are any other special events, like field trips, that you need to prepare for. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast in case you’ll need an umbrella!
- Pick out tomorrow’s clothing for both yourself and your children. It’ll make the morning routine go smoother if you’re not having to dig for an appropriate outfit,. And since you already checked your calendar, you know what the day’s plans are so everyone is dressed appropriately. While you’re at it, go ahead and gather up any backpacks, sports equipment, or other supplies you or your kids will need for the next day’s activities, and set them near the door so nothing gets forgotten.
- Spend some snuggle time with your kids, read them a book or two, and make sure everyone goes to bed at a reasonable time so you have the energy to start fresh again tomorrow!