Establishing a Morning Routine – Maximize Your Mornings

Photo by j.anne4

I have always loved the benefits of rising early; but over the last few months while dealing with sleeping issues, rising early has gone out the window. To be completely honest, I often would lie in bed past 8 o’clock and wallow in self-pity. The longer I would lie there the inevitable result would be increased tiredness. When I would finally be dressed by noon, half my day was gone and the most profitable hours are also lost. Thus I would encourage the entrance of depression and discouragement. Aaron and I determined together that one of our new years goal was to plan and purposefully begin rising early TOGETHER. ;) Accountability is key. Sitting down together to plan out our morning routine was also essential. I determined, by God’s grace, that I needed to rise early, whether or not I slept well. Why do I believe rising early is important?

1. The morning hours are your most profitable moments of the day. You are fresh and energized. You can accomplish more in one hour than most people accomplish in an entire day.

2. It takes time to mentally prepare for the day. As Kat in her e-book, Maximize Your Mornings states, “Professional athletes don’t roll out of bed and stumble into the game. They warm up, talk to their coach and get mentally focused for what is ahead. We need to do the same thing.”

3. Personal quiet time can help maintain peace and harmony in the home. I can testify that without my morning devotions, my flesh tends to be more prone to anger and frustration (my sinful weaknesses). If I don’t focus on the Lord first thing, I often lose sight of my mission as a wife and mother.

“Ever plan for yourself in simple dependence on God. It is nothing less than self-idolatry to conceive that we can carry on even the ordinary matters of the day without His counsel. He loves to be consulted. Consider no circumstance too clear to need his direction. In all thy ways, small as well as great; in all thy concerns, personal or relative; temporal or eternal, let Him be supreme. Who of us has not found the unspeakable ‘peace’ of bringing God matters to minute or individual to be entrusted to the most confidential ear?” - Charles Bridges

Our Plan:

First, we determined what we wanted to include in our morning routine. For us, this included personal devotions, exercise, shower, get dressed, make breakfast, eat breakfast together while having family devotions, concluding with sending Aaron off to work.

Secondly, we mapped out these activities according to our priorities. If nothing else, personal devotions are the most important to us. We believe strongly in beginning our day with the Lord. Sitting at his feet keeps Him the center of our lives and the Source for our strength for the upcoming events of the day. We listed them in order of priority above.

Finally, we mapped out the time frame they needed to take place by. Aaron needs to be out of the house by 8:30am, so we worked back works determining how much time each of these events would take.

Start small. We were previously waking up by 7:00am. Our new goal was 6:00 am. Rather than jumping into that significant adjustment, we started by waking up 5-15 minutes earlier each day. This way it was manageable adjustment and able to be maintained more effectively. Since exercise is one of our priorities for the morning, we also determined to start small here. If we jumped into a strict 30 minute routine, we would fall out relatively quickly, as we have experienced in the past. So we adopted the starting small technique again here – 5-15 minutes each day. Doing a smaller amount more consistently has been proven to be more successful in developing the habit. Exercise in smaller more consistent chunks is also better for your body than random extensive exercising periods.

Collect things for your morning routine the night before. Get things set up in advance for your morning routine so you are not blindly hobbling around at 6:00am trying to find your Bible, exercise clothes, etc.

Make a plan for your devotional time. Choose a Bible Reading plan. You must have a plan to really effectively grow in your faith. There are many different Bible reading plans available free for download at Discipleship Journal or Revive Our Hearts collection of plans. We have used all of these plans at different times in the past and they are very effective.

Plan your day. I have found simply taking 5 minutes to plan my day has increased my productivity. I make a master to-do list of the week during my weekly planning time, but cutting this down to selecting 3-5 things that need to be done today has been helpful. I use a 3 x 5 card to jot down my to-do’s on one side. On the other side, I write out a verse of Scripture from my devotions that I would like to meditate and/or memorize throughout the day. I keep this 3 x 5 card in my back pocket and every time I check my to-do list, I will review the Scripture. It has been very encouraging and edifying!

Our morning routine:

6:00 am – Currently, we are at 6:20 am, working up in 5-10 min increments – Personal Bible reading time individually, plan for the day (make my to-do list)
7:00 am – Exercise (jump rope, push-up’s, crunches, jogging up and down the stairs)
7:15 am – Shower, dress
7:30 am – Kids wake up (roughly), Nurse baby, Aaron get kids dressed
7:45 am – Lindsay prepares breakfast, packs Aaron’s lunch
8:00 am – Eat breakfast, Family devotions (reading one chapter from Proverbs every morning)
8:30 am – Aaron leaves for work, Lindsay cleans up dishes, dinner preparations, quick house pick-up

We committed this plan to the Lord and He has really blessed it. I have never felt so productive in my life! It has been so helpful to develop this plan and carry it out together. The house can be picked up and dinner preparations made by 9:30 am! Formally, this could drag on through lunch. It’s been a huge blessing to our family. I have more energy now in the morning whether or not I slept well the night before. A huge part of this I believe is renewing the priority of quiet time with the Lord. Just getting up and doing the NEXT THING.

I highly recommend and encourage every family to adopt a morning routine, one in which you have quality time with the Lord to prepare your heart for the day, exercise your body to give you health and wholeness, and to prepare and plan for the day ahead!

For more helpful tips for developing your morning routine, please check out Kat’s free e-book, Maximizing Your Mornings.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

86 Responses to Establishing a Morning Routine – Maximize Your Mornings

  1. Rochelle January 28, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Lindsay,

    Thanks for this post (and many other great ones!)…I’ve been enjoying your blog since a friend sent me a link to your article re: bible verses for preparing for birth. I read those just over a year ago as I was having lots of early labor with my son, now 11.5 months old! and I’ve found all that and much more here to be encouraging to me. Thanks for sharing your schedule (very similar to mine, but a good reminder that perhaps keeping all our outing to the afternoon would help keep things calmer here!) and these thoughts on the early morning. It’s actually funny because I’ve been feeling lead to get up before my children for the last month or two and I’ve been working at it, a day at a time (difficult since my son has still been up a good deal at night…but I’m in the process of training him to wait until 7). Just good to know that i’m not alone in this challenge to get up and start the day with the Lord (otherwise quiet time has to wait so long and then really it’s hard to be quite as gracious and peaceful during the busy mothering, house-keeping morning.)

  2. Tiff May 25, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    I love reading your posts. You are inspirational and have a way of making things seem so simple (not necessairly easy, but simple). I have half-heartedly been trying to wake up earlier to get a little time before I leave for work so I don’t start my day off feeling ultra rushed everyday…but only half heartedly. After reading this, I am committed to making a full effort to get to bed on time and wake up earlier every morning so I can get my God time in and a few little chores to get the dinner preperations going before I step out the door and get the dogs walked so they don’t have to be walked in the summer heat of the evening. Thank you so much for your example and taking the time to share your routine with me!

    Tiff :o )

  3. Megan February 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    I have just put myself on a basic schedule (from rising to leaving for work). Minu the occasional early trip to the gym, this is the schedule I plan to stick to. It is nice to start the day by reading in bed.

  4. Kaelie February 1, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I love to read your posts and crave the lifestyle you and those like you lead. I find it encouraging to know I have time to work on things like this and prepare myself for a husband (Lord-willing) and family of my own someday. (I’m 19 and in college.) Balancing enough productive study time is tough, and God time is even harder to make room for when you feel like school has to be number one. It really sounds like early mornings are exactly what I need. This site is a blessing!

  5. Tali January 30, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    Great advice- Thanks!

  6. mama January 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    what a great post! thanks for the ideas and encouragement.

  7. amanda January 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Thank you so much for the reminder. It seems things are going well then something throws a wrench in things. then we’re back to not doing what we should. Thanks so much~

  8. Libby January 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    what great thoughts!

  9. Autumn January 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Hi Lindsay, I just wanted to tell you that I really love this post. I came to some of these conclusions on my own over the past year or so, through reading books and talking with older women in my church. Waking up early in the morning and getting myself mentally prepared for the day and doing my Bible devotion is a MUST, or else I’m not a very good mom. If something happens and the kids wake me up super early before I have a chance to do my quiet time, I ask my husband to watch the kids for 30 minutes to do it. It’s simply non-negotiable! My only problem is getting my husband to wake up early and commit to a routine. I think I’ll send this article to him and see what he thinks about committing to BOTH of us waking up early.

  10. the inadvertent farmer January 16, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    My sweet kiddos get up between 5:30 and 6am so sleeping in is never a problem…it staying awake past 7pm that is! Great post, Kim

  11. andrea gutierrez January 15, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    this is wonderful, inspiring and motivating! so happy to have stumble upon your piece of the world…

    andrea:)

  12. Tammy January 15, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    Thanks, Lindsay. This sounds like exactly what I need to do to help with my “winter slump”. It really does get depressing. Do you take a nap with your little ones later in the day? I really enjoy a nap, but seems like the same thing happens; I don’t want to get up when I wake up! (My kids are older.) Something I’ve been hearing about but haven’t read yet is “The Mood Cure” by Julia Ross. She also wrote the Diet Cure which is excellent; about good nutrition to boost our energy and improve our “mood”. She recommends (and she has a clinic) certain amino acids for different issues. I have started taking l-tyrosine for increased energy, mental alertness, motivation and to fight depression. And I believe it’s helping! Please check out her books, I think you’ll find them helpful. (l-tryptophan is supposed to help with healthy sleep patterns/depression.)

  13. Carrie @ Organic and Thrifty January 15, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    Thanks for this post! Unfortunately, as I write this, it’s very late at night, which is when I tend to be tempted by slothfulness (instead of just going to bed!). I have been feeling convicted about getting up earlier as well and beginning with a solid routine. Thank you so much for the inspiration! It’s so true, that what you do before 7 am is worth double!

    Thanks for breaking it down into simple incremements too. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of your 3 x 5 card! That is something I’m going to start doing tomorrow!

    Thank you so much for the encouragement and inspiration you share here!

    My God continue to richly bless you,

    Carrie @ Organic and Thrifty

  14. Nina Nelson January 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    This post was so encouraging! Since having my baby a month ago, I’ve been having a really hard time getting back into any kind of routine – and I’ve noticed how depressed I feel when I sleep in and the whole domino effect it has on my energy for the rest of the day. I shared this post with my husband and today we were up at 6 together, he exercised and showered while I nursed the baby. While he showered I did about 5 minutes of exercise, prayed, read a chapter from my Bible and planned my to-do list for the day. Then I got a shower. All before 7! We even got up before the other 3 little ones, which hasn’t happened for a while. I feel so much better today than I have been. Thanks for the post!

  15. Megan Harris January 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    What a great routine! I love routine. I am very much a morning person and it does seem like if I get up early I can get more accomplished in those hours than any other time. BTW, have you ever done a blog on lunch ideas? I noticed you pack Aaron’s lunch for work and was curious about what you send with him. I am always looking for ideas for my husband’s lunch. Thanks!
    Megan
    http://ourheritagefarm.blogspot.com/

    • Lindsay January 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

      I honestly keep to really simple lunches for my husband. He is a pretty simple and content man. I make sandwiches of all kinds (mainly ham/cheese, chicken, and PB & J’s), and the other days I pack him leftovers, since he has access to a microwave at his office.

  16. crystin January 13, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    Hey- thanks for another post about routine and maximizing your time! My husband and i plan on making a routine asap! I too, get tired and “depressed” when my baby isn’t sleeping well at night and tend to lie in bed…this doesn’t help anything so I should just get up early anyway as you say!
    This is completely random but I just went to Bugaloo b/c I was wanting to order some shoes as gifts and love their prints and prices and all the shoes were 17.99!!! I was shocked that everything went up 3 bucks. Why?? I thought maybe it was just new styles- nope- all of them. I’m SO bummed. Maybe you know why this happened…but I’m just letting you know b/c I know your icon has the 15 dollar price shown. Bummer!

    • Lindsay January 14, 2010 at 11:33 am #

      Heidi, my cousin and the owner of Bugaloo had to raise her prices in over to cover her costs. She wasn’t making hardly any profit for all the time and effort she was putting into it. Her products are definitely worth the $18! I will definitely ask her about changing her icons…thanks for pointing that out.

  17. Shana January 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    This is a great site, found it a week ago or so and I wanted to find a Christian based site such as this, so thank you! I took advantage of this wonderful resource the e-book and look forward to reading the book. But your post has inspired me to get up early. I already have to get up by 6:15, but I want to inch it up to 6 a.m. two times a week to do indoor walking and then eventually work it up to 3 mornings and perhaps around 5:50 a.m. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Natalie January 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Hi Linsday- this has been one of the most refreshing posts I have ever read. This is what I needed to help me formulate what I have been trying to accomplish for the past several months. I have been needing to wake up earlier since I have 3 kids and work full time, also am a student. I always end up staying in bed and time is of the essence. It truly makes all the difference in the world to accomplish so much in the early hours of the day rather than trying to catch up later in the morning or day. I also loved the ebook. I am going to begin working on incorporating prayer in the morning since I have been lax in this area lately. Thank you so much for all you share and your wonderful insight.

  19. Melissa January 13, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    Thanks for this blog post! I have been yearning for some kind of routine in our lives and just last week my husband went back to work (he’s a professor) from his winter break. I have a 4 month old and a toddler, and the 4 month old has been feeding 2-3 hours through the night…so I have been exhausted. But, this is good encouragement to press on! I got up this morning earlier and already have started on my to-do list for today. Thanks! :)

  20. Jill January 13, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    I just recently started reading your website… and I feel overwhelmed! I will marry my fiance in four months, and I thought I was prepared. Reading all that you do and focus on makes me feel woefully inadequate to be a wife (although I know that I’ll learn and grow.) Can you give any simple tips on your website to a newlywed? I’d sure appreciate it.

    • Lindsay January 14, 2010 at 11:35 am #

      Can you be more specific? What areas do you feel overwhelmed with? Remember, you have plenty of time as a newlywed to learn new things about health and living. Trust me, most of what I know now was learned within the last three years of our marriage. Just take one step at a time.

    • Autumn January 17, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

      Don’t worry Jill, I’ve been married a little over 5 years and only in the past 2 years have I really got a handle on being a good homemaker. With God’s grace, you will learn as you go! You cannot expect yourself to start your marriage as an excellent homemaker and wife…it’s something you have to experience, tweak, and learn from other Godly women in your life.

      When we were first married, my cooking skills extended only to Hamburger Helper, but now 5 years and 2 kids later, I’m making healthy meals from scratch every night, and it’s actually easy! It was a slow process to get to this point, and definitely not something someone could have taught me to do.

  21. Esther January 13, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Great suggestions…I have been really blessed by your informative site. Been studying all this info much as of late, and yesterday I made the berry cobbler- yum! Thank you for putting all this info on here to help us all in our healthy eating journey! I was wondering if you had a link to some more in depth info on why whole milk is best. Currently, we are not buying raw milk, but I found a pasteurized (not ultra)and non-homogenized milk I plan to try. So far I have only purchased organic milk, whole milk, and my husband was commenting on the fact that whole milk is bad for your heart and all that. I’d like to share an informative article with him regarding this…do you know of any? Thanks so much!

    • Lindsay January 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

      Check out westonaprice.org for tons of info on that!

  22. Tina January 13, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    I use to participate in the 5 16 girls club over @ Like a Warm Cup of Coffee, but then the Holidays came and I lost it! But now with the new year here I also want to go back to rising early with the Lord, it really does make the day so much better and it also sets a great example for my children. The first thing they see in the morning is Mommy spending time in the Word. (I have early risers, so I can’t get enough time in to get up, get dressed and read the bible before they are up.)

  23. Kate January 13, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    I’m up everyday at 4:30. I feel more productive when I rise early. I get my time in the morning for my personal time w/the Lord, exercise, shower, etc. I’m not into devotional books, they are too stuffy for me. Right now we are reading thru the Bible in a year. my hubby and then come together and pray as a family before we all go off to school and work. In the evening, my hubby and I hold Bible/prayer time/worship w/the family.