Our mornings have been hectic, to say the least. The end of the school year, the acquisition of a dairy goat, my students’ recitals, and the ongoing needs of 2.5 kids were all pressing in on me at once. To get all of us fed, dressed, and packed for our daily activities already took us over an hour (and that was booking it). Add in our steep learning curve with milkings, and it was nearly impossible to get out of the house by the necessary 7:30 leave time.
In fact, our whole schedule is just too hectic. While we have recently acquired a second car, there are still some days that I still have to drop my husband off and pick him up because of my errand/work schedule. I work part time outside of the home in the evenings (teaching voice), work part time at home during mornings/nap time (blogging), and work my full time jobs as wife and mama for the sake of saving us money and bettering our household (being a SAHM, food preservation, helping to care for household and chicken/goat duties, etc.).
All of those responsibilities add up to us being exhausted at night but staying up too late to finish things. Then we’re sleep deprived and straggling in the mornings. Then our days start off grumpy and rushed, our tasks seem burdensome, and our emotional health suffers. Which means the whole day can just become an ugly, harried mess.
When I was browsing my computer one desperate morning, I saw several bloggers mentioning Crystal Paine’s new e-course, Make Over Your Mornings. (This post contains affiliate links.) At first I passed it by, thinking that it was another motivational course that I would surely fail at and leave undone. Almost every attempt at organization and routine development just hasn’t worked well for me in the past. So, I keep right on with my cluttered, wiped-out lifestyle, because, hey- at least I’m familiar with it!
As much as this picture is over-dramatized, it isn’t that far off from what we look like at my house sometimes. Only the lady also needs to be chasing a goat and hunting escapee chicken eggs and watching the pressure canner on the stove while she tries to fold the laundry too.
Could I really make my mornings smoother? Could I really be a little less tired and frantic as a result of it? It might be worth a look…
I’m pleased to say that I’ve now completed the 14-Day Make Over Your Mornings Course (hereafter referred to as MOYM) in its entirety. It turned out to be far less painful than I anticipated, and actually very helpful in practical ways. And to top it off, I’m having (mostly) peaceful, reasonably paced mornings- which leads to a happier mama, a more productive day, and a better outlook on life.
Crystal’s course is broken down into manageable bite-sized pieces: A 2-3 minute video to watch, a small chapter to read, and a clear daily challenge to help you apply what was covered each day. All in all, each day’s course work should take you about 15 minutes. The main course topics were:
- The establishment of night and morning routines.
- How to attack goals and to-do lists realistically.
- Taking care of personal health.
- How keep your new habits flexible and sustainable.
I found the practical tips in MOYM surprisingly simple and helpful. For example, Crystal suggests reducing your evening routine down to 3-5 tasks that will make your mornings less stressful. For me, those items were laying out clothes, packing lunches, and having a clean sink. Having a small, constructive evening to-do list made me look less like a wandering zombie and more like a mom who could manage a few simple tasks to make her life easier the next day.
And for morning routines? Crystal proposes narrowing your first hour’s focus to the absolute daily essentials. Take care of your family’s needs and your own overall health first. Spend a small chunk of time working towards an actionable goal. Then, if you have time, you can still complete a task off your to-do list before the kids get up. I found this philosophy revolutionized my priority list for the morning, and got me off to a good start that would carry me through the rest of our hectic day.
I mentioned before that I usually set myself up for failure with these types of life-change plans. I get overly ambitious and find I can’t keep up with my long list of new habits that I am working on. Then I get frustrated and decide that I will forever remain hopelessly disheveled and disorganized!
But the MOYM course is different. Crystal addresses goal-burnout, the task-master to-do list, and the reality that you simply can’t do everything in a day. She encourages flexibility- and grace-as you establish sane routines that work for you. Here were some of my favorite principles that helped make the course work for me:
- Don’t try to force someone else’s system on your life.
- Tweak your routines as you find what works and what doesn’t.
- Adjust your routines to different seasons in your life.
- Your routine shouldn’t be a taskmaster- it should serve you.
- Give yourself permission to fail, and allow failure to be your teacher.
The best part of the course for me? I now wake up with a (relatively) clean kitchen, a cup of coffee, and a little bit of quiet time. I’m learning to get off on the right foot- which then helps my attitude for the rest of the day. I don’t always accomplish everything I’d like to, but I’m learning to be more content with what I am able to get done. And I think that Crystal’s principles can stand up to the long haul.
I’d call this course well worth it.
This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for supporting my little blog!