Morning Pages & My New Morning Routine

pigeonThis image describes me perfectly. I’m not an early bird or a night owl. Since being married the fact that I am neither and need a lot of sleep has caused some frustration between us. Willy always wants to set his alarm to a time that involves a 6 in the front. This idea has infuriated me because I’m the girl who sleeps until the very last possible minute and doesn’t snooze the alarm because if-i-don’t-get-out-of-bed-this-second-I-will-be-seriously-late. It’s hard to be late when on mat leave, though. And it’s hard to sleep in with kids, too. But because my husband insists on getting up early in the morning, I told him the early bird gets the worm and the worm is our toddler! I don’t even remember when it was that he started letting me sleep in a bit extra and he manages the morning with our first. This was especially wonderful when I was up in the night a few times with the baby.

But guess what! I now wake up before him! With an alarm! And I look forward to it!

Eww, why? How?

A couple weeks ago I saw a friend post on Instagram about Morning Pages. I did a quick google and realized: I needed to try this. I wouldn’t describe myself as an artist and I feel too shy to call myself a writer, but I could relate to the issues the Morning Pages are said to address.

Morning Pages

What are morning pages? They’re 3 pages of scribbles done first thing in the morning by hand. Before you look at your phone, before you read your Scriptures or even pray, before your mind gets revved up, before everything. I decided to give it a shot. I wanted to take the time in the morning to get my head on straight before I started the day, anyway, and so this seemed like the best way for me to start. So this is what my morning looks like now:

  1. Wake up at 6AM with my quiet birds chirping alarm on my phone.
  2. Quietly roll out of bed an start the kettle IN MY ROOM (because with toddlers and squeaky floors, you gotta keep hidden!)
  3. Start my morning pages, while hovering over the kettle so it doesn’t whistle or click and wake Willy up by the light of my iPhone haha (it’s not as tedious as it sounds).
  4. Make my coffee in the french press because I’m still trying to not wake anyone up.
  5. Finish my 3 morning pages. This means I write everything that comes to mind. The random to-dos that pop up are written down and starred. I write them down as they come – often it’s in the middle of a sentence I’m writing. I write about all the dumb things that are in my head or come into my head until 3 pages is finished. By this point I’ve mostly guzzled my first coffee and I’m awake.
  6. Transfer my to-dos that have come into my mind over to my planner so they don’t get lost.
  7. Open up my devotional and read it. I write out the quote that most stuck out to me into my planner.
  8. It isn’t until I’m done all of this that I get on my phone and check my messages etc.

IMG_0100Guys, it’s been life changing! It’s changed my devotional time because I don’t have all those brain interruptions happening. I’ve already cleaned out the cobwebs of my head and I’ve gotten into a head space that does not involve my phone. I have Do Not Disturb mode on my phone anyway so I’m not notified of any messages or any activity happening that would take my attention.

When I finally leave the room, I’m ready for the day. I’m awake and human again! I don’t find that I’m swept away by the day, living as much in reaction to everything.

Update on my morning routine with baby

A few weeks ago I posted about how I needed to re-establish new routines for my life with my five-month-old. Well,  I have resounding good news for you: IT WORKS. It’s been great! My morning now looks like this:

  • Wake up, make coffee, drink a glass of water
  • Hop in the shower
  • Feed Jack (Willy gets Jack when they wake up and they play together until I’m done in the shower)
  • Eat breakfast With Willy, put on make-up (it makes me feel like a real person)
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Jack goes down for his first nap and while he naps I do my first round of cleaning for the day.

By the time Jack is sleeping at 8:30, I have already accomplished so much, that I’m able to sit down and enjoy the silence. I’ve even CLEANED stuff. I’ve realized that I need to get something done like this first thing in the morning before laziness/ tiredness sets in. It’s really easy in the afternoon to “justify” not doing any cleaning because I’m tired or whatever excuse that comes up.

You know, I was really sceptical about the difference having my shower first would make. One day I was having a bunch of moms over and I had to maximize my morning so I hopped in the shower first since Jack seemed to be fine waiting to eat. It revolutionized my morning! Instead of waiting till his nap and showering, now I can use that time to do other things.

I’m very pleased with myself. Now I need to make sure I don’t get lazy with the cleaning because that’s been the best part of all: I don’t feeling gross about this apartment I’m sitting in all day long.

Rethinking my morning routine

Photo by jencv

Photo by jencv

I guess its been a few years (!) now since I first wrote about morning routines. Since then I’ve had varying success and most recently since my son was born, continued varied success.

I’m sure you can relate. If you couldn’t you likely wouldn’t be following this blog.

You have a good routine or daily organization system going and then something happens and it messes it up. You fumble around for a little (or months?) until you remember it doesn’t have to be this way!

And so you reboot your system and try again.

This happens to me all the time and is the reason I tell people not to give up on a system until they’ve failed in this cycle a few times. If it worked for awhile then there’s hope. If it never ever worked then you should probably keep looking.

Routines

Since Jack was born I’ve had a few different routines that have helped me stay sane. For awhile I did at least 2 loads of laundry a day: one in the morning of Jack’s barfy clothes and one in the evening of his cloth diapers. Now I have more clothes and more diapers so I do laundry every other day.

Other mornings I had a routine of waking up, starting coffee, drinking a glass of water, feeding Jack, then shower and get my day in order during his first nap.

Then that got messed up.

So here I am working on a new routine to help me have a decent day despite the unpredictability an infant can bring. There are other routines that I would like to establish so that I don’t have to decide what I want to do or feel like doing. Because I will never feel like cleaning. Ever.

I went back and read those blog posts again and actually found them helpful!

Things that are helpful in a routine

These days I need habits that will help our life work more smoothly. This means that things like laundry, dishes, quiet times and meals get done naturally rather than haphazardly. I think something I need to institute is a consistent wake-up time. I usually wake up when Jack wakes up, which was 6:30 for a long time, then 7:00 for a long time, now it’s 7:30. I think I actually had better days when he was waking up earlier, even though I always needed a nap.

The other thing that has helped me operate well is dealing with clutter quickly, whether it’s unloading the dishwasher right away so it can be loaded as dishes are dirtied, or fold and put away laundry right away. (Sidenote: I have never folded laundry or put it away until Jack was born so let’s just all do a slow clap for me right now because I’m finally a grown up. It only took me becoming a parent).

So we’ll see how this goes! If anyone has any tips on what worked for them (or their mom) please leave me a comment!

Resolution + morning routine + running update

So I’ve started a lot of new things the last few months. I started a morning routine that I hoped would become habit. I started running using the Couch to 5K program. Then New Years came and I added to the list things I wanted to accomplish this year.

How’s that going?

Well. Notice how in the Resolutions, I only said “exercise” 3x a week? That’s because winter running is scaring me. So much snow! And my neighbourhood does not get salted very well. But today I felt some motivation and I did some research. I’ve found some places (allegedly) that are always salted by the city. So I think I’ll try to keep running at least once a week on weekends, mostly because that’s much easier to do in daylight because it’s not work hours.

Reading is a little on the harder side right now because I’m not all that motivated by any one book. Tonight I had a huge craving for a food memoir, found an electronic copy I could borrow from the library and then realized I had lent out my Kobo charger to a friend only hours before so I couldn’t transfer it to my Kobo. I couldn’t bear reading it on the computer. Sigh. I’ll make good headway on that this weekend.

Crafting has been a complete no-go until now. It requires so much organization and preparation. Again, a Saturday project.

Morning routine has been a gong-show all of december. A huge reason is because I stopped using my LAMP (bad idea) in december and had stopped exercising (another bad idea). So basically, my life falls to pieces when I stop exercising. Noted. How did I ever survive until 26?

Pressing on

I’m not giving up, though. I know habits take a long time to form. I remember how great I was functioning last fall when I was doing those things and so I’m motivated to figure out how to continue. So there’s that.

Two weeks in, are you still keeping up with your New Years Resolutions or goals or (whatever you call them to make yourself believe you’ll actually do them)? I wanna know I’m not in this alone! Leave your comment here.

Morning routine + being sick = grace

Photo by Jason

Photo by Jason

I have to be honest with you. I’ve been sick in various ways for the past three weeks. I haven’t been getting up at 6:45AM these days because I want my body to have all the rest it can get so my nose will stop running and I’ll stop coughing and sneezing. I have kept running, but only once a week (instead of three) and a more low-key run. You know what? I’m still quite pleased with myself!

It has taken determination to get out on those runs when it was -5ºC out and I was coughing up tons of phlegm and I did it with the encouragement of my husband. I didn’t want to lose the memory of how I actually enjoyed the runs and they weren’t as bad as my mind was making them seem. I’ve been too afraid to increase the intensity of the runs while being sick, too, so I’m still on week 2 of Couch to 5K. But again, I’m OK with that. I realize that part of what I’m doing is developing habits of running and so it’s not the end of the world if I’m not increasing intensity every week because at least I’m running.

Sometimes ‘productivity’ isn’t just about getting things done, it’s about the long-term implications about the choices we make every day. Which is why, I’m perfectly happy to not push myself maybe too hard and believe that it’s 100% perfect or don’t bother. There’s something worth celebrating in that last sentence. I used to be a person who thought if I couldn’t reach my standard of perfection I might as well give up entirely.

I’m really looking forward to this cold going away so I can not be a disgusting mess in public, but also so I can run again (because I actually like it!).

Morning routine + NaNoWriMo Update

I’ve had a few people text me and leave comments to congratulate me on starting to run. I’ve also had people tell me I’m crazy for doing both at the same time, which is not all that far off, perhaps. Aside from being sick last week and this week which affected my runs, things have been going well. I managed to desire to get up and go, but just take it a little easier, which has been good.

Why am I doing two things that require so much discipline at the same time?

It’s a good question. I think part of it is is that it doesn’t feel like it’s requiring that much discipline, but here are a few more reasons.

  1. These are two things I want to build into my life as habits. Natural responses, things I do automatically.
  2. My morning routine had been going quite well so it didn’t feel like too challenging to add the writing challenge.
  3. My husband has night classes three nights a week, which means I have plenty of time to write and not feel like I’m neglecting our relationship. He was the one who encouraged me to do it, anyways.
  4. I wanted meet people outside of work who had similar interests to me.

So far, I have runs scheduled into my week and I look forward to them. The days I’m not so sure I want to go, my husband reminds me that I’ll enjoy it. I always do, so that’s a big win. I’m ahead of schedule so far on the novel in terms of word count. I’ve got nearly 10,000 words which is 1/5th of the book (obviously). I feel confident because I have lots to write yet in plot development etc. I should be able to finish no problem unless life just suddenly goes crazy, which is totally a possibility.

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