Last week we talked about finding the time in your busy morning to do the things that are important to you. Today I want you to think about what you should and what you shouldn’t be doing in those first few hours of the day. That’s an important idea to ponder. So often we get stuck in a rut or a routine and do things because that’s what we’ve always done. We do it without really thinking about whether or not it’s the best use of our time.
It’s Not About Cramming More Things Into Less Time
Making over your morning isn’t about figuring out how to cram more tasks into fewer hours. When you read books and articles on productivity and time management, that’s often the main message and gist of it. While it can help in the short term, it isn’t a good long-term strategy for meaningful change. Very soon you’ll hit the limit of how much faster and how much more efficient you can get.
Shift your thinking and don’t try to add to what you do in the morning. If you want 15 minutes for bible study, meditation, or exercise, don’t just think about getting up 15 minutes earlier, or shaving 15 minutes off your morning routine by showering faster, getting dressed in record time, and rushing through breakfast. In other words, don’t add to your already lengthy list of things that need to get done. You’ll only feel more rushed and stressed if you do.
It’s About Making Smart Choices About Using Your Time
Instead, what you should be thinking about is the best use of your time in the morning. Compare your perfect morning with your current morning routine. What aren’t you doing on your ideal morning? If you can start by cutting things out, finding time to do what’s important to you becomes much easier.
Find things you can stop doing
There are two great ways to find things you can stop doing. The first is to look for busy work. This is something you do out of habit that doesn’t necessarily need doing every day. Maybe it’s checking your email first thing in the morning or playing around on Facebook for half an hour while you drink your coffee. If that’s how you choose to spend your time, that’s perfectly fine, but if you’re doing it out of habit it may be time to rethink it.
Teach self sufficiency to partners and children
The second way to quickly earn back time is to see if you’re doing things for others that they can do themselves. Kids are the perfect example. We start out fixing their breakfast, making their lunch, cleaning up after them, picking out their clothes, and making sure their backpack is packed and ready to do. When they are very small, we have to do these things for them, but all too often we continue to do them long after they’re capable of doing things on their own. The same goes for things we do for our spouses or partners. Maybe there was a time when you had less to do in the morning and it made sense to take on the majority of morning chores. Did things change and if so, is it time to lighten your load and get help from your partner? A few small changes may be all it takes to make the time in your busy morning for what’s important to you.
Your Reality Check
Take a moment to list in your journal all the things you currently do in the morning and take note of which of those you can either stop doing, or schedule for another time, or delegate to another person. As you go through your morning, make sure to add the things you might have forgotten to include. You might be surprised how much time you find. If you’d like, you can use our handy worksheet “Morning Reality Check” to organize your two lists.