This blog is focused on helping new parents take back control of their financial life. I will have a lot of post focused on the nitty gritty of getting your financial life in order and bringing peace to your family and marriage when it comes to money. But the reality is that many of our problems in finances come from poor habits in other area of our life like time management or work life balance.
I wanted to share the 7 steps that I use to make my morning, and as a result my day, more productive. It is my belief that, as parents, time is our most precious asset. You will never be able to make more time so we have to make the most out of the time we are given.
Here are the 7 steps that I use to be a productive parent in the morning.
1. Sticking To A Bed Time Routine:
Kids thrive on direction and routine. It is important that you establish a ritual for going to bed. Our family ritual is pretty simple but, when followed, is very effective. After we have dinner we give the kids a few minutes to get their silly’s out. My son loves to play catch and my daughter to perform a song or dance. We then brush our teeth, read a book, say our night prayers and lights out. This takes about 30 minutes but when done effectively sets our kids (and us) up for a productive morning the next day.
2. Writing Down The One Thing I Want To Accomplish The Next Morning:
I try to get to bed around 10:00 PM each night but before I do I write down the one thing that I want to accomplish the next day. This shouldn’t be something that you MUST accomplish, rather it should be something that you want to accomplish or something that would make you feel better if it was done. I like to write it in the notes app of my iPhone but it can be done on a journal or Post-It note.
3. Waking Up At The Same Time Every Day:
Wake up at the same time every day. Hitting the snooze button is the number one destroyer of a productive morning. Think about it, if you first action of the day is to procrastinate, how is that setting you up for success? Build the habit of getting up at the same time every day without hitting the snooze.
4. Spending 5 Minutes Fostering Gratitude:
We live in a world that is constantly hitting us with negativity. Consciously and subconsciously. Consciously through over-sensationalized news productions and social media that posts about tragedies and the darker side of humanity. The news is in the business of selling fear so that you watch their program and consume their ads. Subconsciously we are constantly comparing ourselves to the lives of others (real or staged) on social media and that can make us feel bad about ourselves or what we don’t have. It is crucial to foster gratitude in our lives. I like to spend 5 minutes every morning reflecting on all that I have. I write down the 5 things each morning I am most grateful for in my life that morning.
5. Spending 10-15 Minutes In Silent Reflection or Mediation:
Our day is filled with noise. Radio, podcast, TV, kids, coworkers, etc. We have very little silence in our lives. And yet silence is one of the most powerful tools we have to reflect and improve our lives. If you are a spiritual person you can use this time to pray and meditate on a biblical passage but you can also use this time to sit in peaceful quite before launching into your day. Some of the most productive people in the world spend up to one hour a day in silent meditation. Give it a try and you will see the results.
One of my favorite things to do in the morning is to exercise. The natural high that you get from releasing endorphins in the morning is a great way to start a very productive day. This could be a 45 minute run around the neighborhood, a ride on the stationary bike in the basement or a simple 10 minute routine of push-ups, air squats and sit ups in the living room. Even a quick 10 minute workout can get your body moving and ready for a productive day.
7. Being Present In The Morning:
One of the most powerful moments in a child’s day is the moment that they wake up. It is critical for healthy and happy children to make this a special moment. I am not always able to be home when my children wake up but Kristen and I are a team on this point. Offering a big smile, and warm hug and asking how they slept sets our kids up for a great day. I sometimes like to leave notes for the kids as well to let them know that I was thinking about them when I woke up and that I hope they have an awesome day. Being present for our kids in the morning helps us to set up the day for success.
This is an ideal morning for me but the reality is that it does not always turn out this way. That’s ok. It is in continually striving to reach the ideal that the battle is won.