The Early Bird Gets The Worm

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” – Benjamin Franklin.

My schedule lately has been CRAZY!!  When it comes to the Sales profession, busy is good, since it usually means more sales (in the long run), but it can also pose a challenge when the Salesperson is also a mother and a wife.  As the pace has increased and my days off have gotten fewer, I have struggled to keep a balance going between my work life, home duties, and fun with the family.  But in the last few weeks I have found a good rhythm and balance, by trying something new….Getting Up Early.  I can hear you groaning from here, but hear me out…..You may not want to get up at the crack of dawn, but awaking just a bit earlier could add a lot more calm and efficiency to your day.

time 008Getting Up Before The Family

I realized that I wasn’t going to be getting any more hours in my day, so I better just start using the hours I had a little bit better!  Staying up late wasn’t working well, even though I am more of a night person, because after a busy work day, dealing with kids, making and cleaning up dinner, I was ready to relax or go to bed.  I made the decision to start getting up early, and setting a new wake-up time….5:30.  That may sound horribly early to you, but my kids have always gotten up fairly early, so I was almost used to it.  I just needed to start waking up a little bit before the rest of my family.

Waking up before everyone else has some distinct advantages:

(1)  You can actually THINK!  No one is up making noise and the house is nice and quiet.  You have a moment to make yourself some coffee and then, as the caffeine sets in, you can start planning out your day.  Better to meet the day before the day meets you!

(2) You can get a whole lot more done!  My schedule had gotten so crazy that I was needing to finish projects for work the day they were due!!  When I got up even just 30 minutes early, I was able to grab my coffee, work on a project, get my Morning routine done, and get me and kids out the door.  Sometimes, to my utter disbelief, I was even able to do extra tasks because my Morning routine was done so quickly.   Experts say whether you are a morning person or not, you are actually twice as efficient 1st thing in the morning than during other parts of the day.  Try this for yourself and see how much you can get done.

(3) I can start my day with a better attitude.  There is nothing worse than waking up late, and finding that you are already running behind.  When I wake before everyone else, I can sit down and pray, read my bible, figure out what needs to be done.  Having time to actually focus prepares me for my family, so I can assist them in getting out the door too.  When I wake up late, we are all trying to rush (or I’m trying to rush while the kids are not listening, and then I’m screaming, and we are late for school…..you know the drill).  When I awake early, I set the pace for myself, and the family.  I feel in charge of my to-do list.  And that is a great feeling.

coffee 002My Morning Routine

First rule of getting up early:  Don’t hit the snooze button!!  I get right out of bed and head to the kitchen.  I get my Keurig started for morning cup of coffee, and I fill my sink with sudsy water while the coffee is brewing.  The sink is then ready for the breakfast dishes that will be coming later.  I then grab my coffee, and head to the dining room table where I do a short bible study and prayer time for about a 1/2 hour.  If I have a work project that needs to be completed, I just make my devotional time a little shorter, and then start on my project.  By 6 my kids are usually getting out of bed and grabbing their breakfast.  I grab mine as well, and then we dump our dishes to soak in the sink.  I try to finish up my work stuff by 6:30 or 7 (and I can usually do that because I can get twice as much done in the morning…yay!).  By this time my husband is usually out of bed, so I can go ahead and make my bed.  I grab my work clothes and head to the shower and spend 10 min in there max.  After I’m out and dressed, I head back to the kitchen to rinse off the dishes that have been soaking and wipe of the table.  My kids collect all the dirty laundry for me and we start our next load or put away from the clothes from the dryer.  With that, my Morning Routine is done!!  I head back to the bathroom, blow dry my hair and put on makeup.  All that’s left is packing my stuff up and heading out the door to wherever we need to go.  So much less stressful.

How Can You Start Getting Up Early?

You can either go cold turkey by picking a new wake time and then just jumping out of bed, or you can start working your way backwards by setting the alarm clock to go off just 15-20 min. earlier, and then adjusting every several days until you are setting it for your new wake-up time.  Either way, you may find that you need to start going to bed at night a teeny bit earlier too; you don’t want to burn your candle at both ends!  But start getting up early 1st, and then hopefully you’ll feel more tired at night, and just go to bed a little sooner.

Also, prepare the night before by finishing your dinner clean-up and setting out your clothes.  Your morning will go so much smoother with your kitchen clean and your clothes ready to go.  Have your kids pick theirs out too.  Good routines are a blessing for everyone.

Are you ready to start getting more out of your days?  Try getting up a little earlier with me.  You won’t believe how much you can get done!  But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself!

The Kitchen is Closed

kitchen closed 2 I was thinking back to my college years and the different jobs I had: working at the movie theater, waitressing, working at a bookstore, etc.  And I realized there was an important lesson I can incorporate into my daily routines — I need to focus on my “Closing Duties”.  Each of these jobs had closing duties for those who had the last shift of the day.  As tired as we were at the end of the night, we couldn’t leave the theater without cleaning out the popcorn maker, tidying the theaters and cleaning up the concession stand.  Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to return to a full work day if the closing duties hadn’t been tackled the night before?  No restaurant, retail establishment, or service job can function properly without completing their closing duties.  And yet, we head to bed all the time without completing closing duties for our home!  No wonder we are having trouble getting going in the mornings!  It’s time to make a change.

Closing Duties

Where do we start?  Closing duties begin before you even start cooking the evening meal, and they end when the kitchen is clean and ready for the next day.  Now, we don’t need to make it difficult for ourselves with a long list; we are not deep-cleaning the kitchen.  Closing Duties are all about putting things back where they go and preparing for the next shift: our Morning routine.  Here’s some simple things you can include to make closing the kitchen a cinch:

ingredients 1. Get Out Your Ingredients

Rather than pulling things out one at a time, using them and then leaving them around the kitchen, pull all the ingredients out together in one spot so they are ready to use.  With all the ingredients already ready, you can focus on putting away things as you use them, rather than looking for the next item.  Grab your cookbook if you need it, and put it with your ingredients.  If you haven’t already done so earlier in the day, start de-frosting your meat while you pull out the other items.

new 0012. Get Your Sink Sudsy

If you have been working with me for a while, this is not a new idea for you.  Before starting any cooking, fill your sink or dish tub with sudsy water to prepare for your cooking dishes.  The dishes are so easy to tackle when everything has been soaking for a while.

 

dishes 0383. After Dinner – Tackle the dishes

This is your main FOCUS for your kitchen closing — getting that sink empty.  Have your family put their own dishes into the sudsy sink once they have finished eating.  Then, start hand-washing or putting dishes in your dishwasher.  If they have soaked a few minutes, it should be super easy.

clean kitchen4. The Closing 3

After the dishes done, the rest of your clean-up will be a breeze.  There are 3 things I like to tackle before kitchen is officially closed:

a. wipe surfaces – dip a sponge in your soapy water and quickly wipe off stove top, counters and dining room table.  This will go even faster if you hand a family member the sponge.

b. take out the trash – this can be done if needed.  If its half full you can leave it for tomorrow

c. quick sweep of the kitchen – give the kitchen a quick sweep or run over with a vacuum.  And then you are done!  Kitchen is Closed for the night!  You are free to rest easy!  Enjoy.