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When it was our job to get the kids up for school, mornings ran like clockwork and kids, lunch bags, backpacks, and completed homework walked out the door on time.
If you were a stay-at-home mom, you then moved on to household chores and errands.
If you worked outside the home, you likely got up earlier to get yourself ready to go (and likely cycled a load of laundry before waking the children).
Now that they are gone, has your routine changed? Do you still get up early and then, coffee in hand, roam the house before finally getting on with your day?
Do you sleep later, fighting having to get up to find a neat and empty house?
Has the disruption to your mom routine crept into other areas of your life?
Having new morning routines is the beginning of creating a post-children life.
New rhythms, new habits will have you looking at your day differently and open your mind to new possibilities.
The thing is, our old habits were geared towards the children and their needs first. That means we were an afterthought, even if morning included getting ready for work.
We need to put ourselves first again in order to focus on the new life we are creating.
Routines are not just productive. They also calm you because your life is organized. Routines can also be actions that calm and soothe you and get you mentally ready.
Another important thing about our daily routines is how they fit in the 80/20 rule.
Successful people in all fields understand that 20% of what they do in their day is responsible for the most gains. 80% is a distraction and unimportant. If you want to maximize your day and gain more time for the things that matter to you, it’s important to identify the critical 20% of the things you do.
In a business, that might mean that your 20% includes researching and writing critical reports, but checking your email every hour or listening to a co-worker’s complaints doesn’t advance your day.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be on the go and only doing essential things every minute of the day. It means you want to maximize the actual chore tasks so that you free up more time for the nurturing self-care things that will make your schedule more pleasant.
Creating the perfect morning routine.
Grab a sheet of paper (or download my Creating Morning Routines printable below) and forget for a moment how you’ve been getting up and getting ready for the past 18+ years.
So grab a sheet of paper and forget for a moment how you’ve been getting up and getting ready for the past 18+ years.
1. Make a list of all the things that make you feel pampered.
It could be scented candles, a long bath, an hour to read a favorite book, coffee waiting for you when you get up. It’s not my list, so write down what is meaningful for you.
2. Now list the things that have to happen for you to be ready for your day.
Clothes ready for work? Briefcase packed? Lunch made? Dinner in the crockpot?
3. On the next page, write out what your ideal weekday morning would look like.
Put in as much detail as possible. Imagine yourself moving slowly and deliberately through your morning and doing each thing completely free of stress.
4. Looking at your ideal morning, list the tasks that could be done in the evening.
For example, to prevent finding that the dress you were planning to wear has a spot on it, you could choose your clothes in the evening, make sure that there’s no repair needed and lay out your clothes.
5. Make a list of habits you’d like to incorporate into your morning but haven’t been able to before.
Have you always wanted to start your day with yoga? Or read a daily chapter of a self-improvement book? Do you want to start your day with a fresh smoothie?
6. Create an imaginary evening and morning routine.
Put your personal routines in first. The ones you tend not to do because you prioritize the chores and work. Then, using the 80/20 rule, write down the must-do items that can be done in the evening into that list. Try to be realistic about how much time each item will take to complete.
7. Now plan your start time to get everything done.
If your combined to-do list will take you an hour to complete, start your evening routine an hour before you plan to go to bed. Same thing for the morning routine. Get up at the hour that will have you able to complete your morning routines.
Our old morning routines saw us through years of getting our kids off to school.
They were sometimes chaotic but they were something you could count on.
A disorientating part of being an empty nester is that established routines no longer work, leaving a gap in our mornings that we can’t fill.
By creating new routines that focus on your own needs, you can start each day with a more positive and contented attitude that will, in turn, fuel a happier and more productive day.
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