Saturday, August 07, 2010

Organized Mom Series: Part 1 ~ Maximize Your Mornings

Alrighty - here we go!  I thought we'd start with the first part of the day ... mornings!

As I said in this post, I'm sharing what I do to keep my home organized and help things run smoothly {most days :)}.  In hopes that it may help someone else.  Not because I think I've got all the answers.  This isn't about the right or wrong.  Just about what works for me. What works for me right now.  Its ever changing!  My hope is that we can all learn from each other.  If you have tips or ideas that work for you, share them!  I'd love to see some discussion happening in blog-land and/or in the comments! 
As we work through this series, you'll learn that I don't have a lot of original ideas.  Just keepin' it real.  :)  I try to learn as much as I can from other women - so as to not waste time "reinventing the wheel."  Some things I do, came about through trial and error.  Other things just evolved over time.  Many things I've copied from other women and tweaked to work for me :)

This generation of moms has a huge advantage with technology.  We can learn from women we've never met and get inspiration and ideas from friends that are thousands of miles away.  There are a gazillion resources online for women.  So, take advantage of those!  But, be careful as well. Being online can consume an outrageous amount of time.  I know.  I've wasted more hours than I care to confess on the computer.  Find a way to control the time you spend online so that it doesn't take away from the priorities God is leading you in.  For me, getting a blackberry did the trick.  I can still check email (and facebook :) ), but without getting sucked in for hours.  Then, I can use my desktop during planned times.  
Also be mindful of comparing yourself to other women.  Again, we are all different.  On purpose and for a purpose!  Focus on who God wants you to be - using your strengths and gifts.  Measure yourself against what God is calling you to do not against what you see as perfection in the online (or real) world.  I'm reminding myself of this as well.  Its way too easy for us as women to feel like we are falling short if we aren't doing what Suzy is doing.  But, God doesn't call us to be like Suzy.  He calls us to be like Him ... and to do the work He has set before each of us as individuals.  Don't lose sight of that!

The most important aspect of organizing your home, is making sure you are seeking God's will.  Ask Him to align your priorities with His will.  He will be faithful to do so! 

Back to the topic of Mornings.  For some of us, we love mornings.  We get more accomplished before 10 am than other people do all day.  Yes, we are morning people.  Others cringe at the mere mention of morning.  The word should not be included in the English language.  Or any other language, for that matter.  The day should never, ever begin before noon.  :) 
For all of us, I recommend an amazing resource called Maximize Your Mornings by Kat at Inspired to Action.  It is a FREE e-book.  I would encourage you to download it and read it right now!  Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, I think it offers very real benefits to being up in the mornings as well as a very simple plan for making it happen.  She also offers simple planning ideas for Bible study and organizing your day and to do list(s).  I'm a list maker, so I dig that.  :)    Kat has also written a blog series about Maximize Your Mornings that is worth reading as well!  And, just for you night owls, there is another blogger who is hosting a Maximize Your Mornings Challenge!  Check it out if you want some accountability as you get started!

I used to always get up early.  I was showered and dressed before my kids got up.  Due to life events of the last nine months, I got out of the habit.  I developed some undesirable habits.  Like using my children as my alarm clock - only dragging myself out of bed when their begging for breakfast kept me from sleeping any longer.  Like spending whole days without a shower.  Days without ever cracking open my Bible or whispering a prayer.  I wasn't living the priorities God had for me.  I knew it had to change - and Kat's book was the kick in the pants  inspiration I needed! 

The first week, I just made myself get up at 5:30.  I didn't do a bible study or work out.  I just got up.  And sat in a chair.  I was training my body clock.  I made myself do it even after I stayed up late the night before.  I highly recommend going this route.  I tend to be an all-or-nothing person so this went against my grain.  But, I'm glad I did it this way.  I think the habit (there's that word again!) will stick rather than fizzle. 

I have created a binder for my mornings, based on the e-book. {You will find binders to be a recurring theme with me. I *heart* binders!}  I have 5 tabs:  Weekly Overview, To Do, Fitness, Bible Study, and Prayer
My purdy little cover
I used some of Kat's forms and made some of my own.  I included a spiral notebook in the Bible Study section for journaling.  I use a blank calendar to track my fitness/weight loss goals.  I also track the water I drink and my vitamins because I tend to forget both those things!

This is a form I made because I needed more space to write.  Who, me??
I've only been using this system for a few weeks now, but I love it.  It makes my mornings streamlined - and I can get a lot accomplished.  This is what my basic routine looks like:
5:00 ~ wake up, get dressed in work out clothes, read email (This may sound strange, but its the easiest way for me to wake up so I'm not yawning through my bible study.  I'm pretty sure my friends don't mind if I yawn through their emails at 5am with half a brain ;) )

5:15-5:45 ~ Bible study, prayer, plan (I wish I was in a life stage where I could pull off a Beth Moore-type study, but I'm just not right now.  If/when God leads me to do something more in-depth, I'll do that - and I'm sure it will require more time.  For now, I'm doing short devotions I got from church.)

5:45 - 6:00 ~ free weights, push ups, etc. at home

6:00 - 6:30 ~ gym (we have a little work out facility in our neighborhood that is "free" for residents, so Ed and I have been taking advantage of that, but I have to be home at 6:30 so he can go to work, so I mainly use it for cardio)

6:30 - 7:00 ~ shower/dress

7:00 - 8:30  ~ Breakfast, clean up, chores (more on that later), prep food for day as needed (more on that later)

8:30 ~ start school (with a big ol' cup of coffee in hand!)

I will cover what my children do during these times in the next post.
I think that covers mornings.  At least the earliest parts of them :)  Read the e-book and see if you aren't inspired to get up a little earlier to include Prayer, Exercise and Planning into your day before it really gets started! 

I'd love to know what you think of the e-book ... and what your morning routine looks like!


Anonymous said...

I love it Angela!


stephanie said...

i am sure you remember which category i fall into, but the older i get, the less i can get done in the evenings. lots of food for thought...i will be linking to the free ebook next. this is very timely in my life with fall on the horizon. summer can be a free for all around here, but there is a season for everything under the sun:)
mrs. "the perfect day starts at noon"

Exum Family said...

I just downloaded the ebook! I did an Elizabeth George study on the Proverbs 31 woman - LOVED it! I lover her studies because they aren't as huge as Beth Moore but don't lack depth either. Anyway, she talked a lot about the importance of mornings. I too have gotten out of the habit because my Allison (12 mos) has been a horrible sleeper. I was completely exhausted for the first 10 months of her life and exhaustion was hurting my family a little worse than my lack of a morning routine (at least I think it was). Nevertheless, I felt that I needed to rise early because my family was just winging it day by day. I kept up with the main things - food and laundry - but I just felt our day was missing structure. And that is where I am at now. My 3 year old is very demanding of my time - he wants me to play with him a lot. This, of course, I love. But I am struggling to find the time to get all of the "other" stuff done. And if there is one thing that I do not struggle with, it is laziness. I'm am constantly doing, never sitting in front of the TV. So I ask myself, what am I doing that I need to let go of. The only thing I can think of is blogging...but my blog is my memory book and it doesn't consume that much time. Oh, thanks for letting me spill out the concerns of my heart to you!