Do you find yourself racing around the house every morning trying to get everyone out the door on time?
Do you have a nailed down morning routine, or are you running around in a crazy hot mess?
Do you ever find yourself having to go back to the house to grab someone's forgotten lunch box? Or worse, get to the office to find it is not casual Friday and instead you have a big presentation to give?
For me, as a mostly stay at home and work from home mom, this last scenario wasn't me, but I have seen it in the movies! I can't tell you how many times, though that I had to return to the house to retrieve said lunchbox and then deliver it to the school.
It can be so frustrating when I am trying to be more productive and more purposeful with my life, that the small and seemingly mundane daily things are what usually trip me up.
Enter the Miracle Morning. And let me tell you, usually when I read a productivity book from a guy I will usually find myself rolling my eyes at the very notion that I can find a 4 hour block in my day to focus. Yeah right! However, this book was written by a dad of a young child and so he knows first hand that not all days are created equal. Plus he talked about going to bed too late, and then not being able to be fully present in the morning for his wife and daughter. So that was refreshing to hear.
What it is and how it changed my mornings/days
First, a little background, if you haven't heard of Miracle Morning it is a little book that took the productivity world by storm. A young man by the name of Hal Elrod wrote this book after making a huge comeback from near financial ruin. Don't we all just love a great story like that? Don't we all just want to cheer for the underdog who was about to lose everything? If you too, were pretty low financially back in the whole '08/'09 crisis then you will be able to sympathize with this book.
I highly recommend you order this book and see if the Miracle morning routine will help revolutionize your mornings (and entire days!) as it has mine - and as it did for the author.
I have to admit, when I first bought the book, I couldn't get past the hang up that this would be another guy giving productivity advice that did not fit in with my #momlife. Luckily, a friend suggested I just watch his YouTube video and give it a shot. This video is pretty long, and admittedly it took me three days to finish it as my kids were pretty young back then. So finding an hour and a half all at once, and in a single sitting, just wasn't a thing! But if you like to watch a video rather than read a book, then this video really explains his story and his method really well. I always suggest the book over the movie, but this one is a great watch!
The miracle morning routine from the book is pretty rigid, without much wiggle room. However, the more I tried it, the more I found it just wasn't working for me. So then what did I do? Well, I threw my hands up in the air and said, this just wasn't for me and went back to sleeping until my little one woke me up each morning. Which is not a great place to live on a day to day basis as a mom. I don't know about you, but I need at least 15 minutes each morning all to myself. I like to drink my coffee when it is actually hot! And being a mom means finding your still full cup of coffee now cold and untouched......on a regular basis!
So here is the program as outlined in the book. The author gets up every morning at 4am - I know crazy right?!! And he does the same 6 things all in a row before doing anything else:
Miracle Morning S.A.V.E.R.S.
- S - silence - have some quiet time. meditate, ground yourself, whatever you want to call it. This isn't "plan your day" time or "solve all the world's problems" time, this is just quiet time.
- A - affirmations - say out loud the reality in which you want to live. Not where you are right now, but where you want to go. So it might be "I am a morning person and I love getting up before everyone else." Now for me, this is a straight up lie, but I say these words out loud each morning and soon enough I find myself actually liking getting up before everyone else. Even in my "early" isn't quite as early as 4am - madness!
- V - visualize - close you eyes and "see" your dream life. Does it involve a new home? Or how about, an entirely new work schedule so you can spend more time with the kids? This can be pie in the sky dreams, or a little closer to reality. Then the second step is just as important. Visualize your dream day TODAY. As in what can you do today to make it the best day ever. Now, this is actual reality, not I will win a million dollars today and never worry about money again. But rather, I will take the kids to school and then head to a coffee shop to work rather than coming home where I always find myself distracted by the never ending to do list around my home.
- E - exercise - If you truly are a morning person, and if you don't have very little kids at home then this might be the perfect time for you to exercise. For me, I have two young ones still at home and I am their sole caregiver in the mornings. So it would be illegal for me to leave the house even just to run around the block much less go to the gym. So I do my exercise later in the day. But as you will read in the book, finding time (or rather making the time) is very important when you are tying to change your life around. If things are rough right now, then we can tend to get brain fog and it is hard to make good decisions. However, regular exercise gets the blood flowing to the brain and helps us to get rid of that brain fog. And if you have been reading my blog for a while you know that this has been something I have been fighting for a while. So daily exercise - especially getting outside and getting fresh air - is very important.
- R - read - when was the last time you read a great self improvement book? Not the latest Nora Roberts, but something that stretched you a little bit and made you think. I love self improvement books and you can find all my thoughts on what I have been reading here. But the fact of the matter is that the majority of Americans haven't picked up a book since getting out of school. And for some of us, that is starting to be quite a while ago! So stop at your local library and pick something up, get started reading something that will make you think.
- S - scribe - journaling has many health benefits. Getting all those thoughts that are swirling around in our heads out and onto paper is an amazing feeling. It is such a relief to know that I don't have to worry about keeping all that information in my head - because you know, mom brain. One of my favorite quotes is from David Allen in Getting Things Done when he says that our brains are for having ideas, not holding them. I love this, I find that when I am the most overwhelmed is when I most need to do a brain dump. I talk about doing a brain dump in my weekly planning sessions here. But I am not as good at journaling on a daily basis, and this is something I am continually striving to improve.
So there you have it, the 6 things that Hal Elrod says to do each morning before you do anything else and before the rest of the family gets up. Now let me tell you a little bit about the reality of when I tried this.
So as I mentioned earlier, the mornings are not my prime time. So when I would get up and start my first cup of coffee, I would sit down with my coffee and have "quiet" time which turned into: "space out and do nothing for 30 minutes" - or worse, more. Truly quiet, total meditation in the morning where you clear your brain and think of nothing is not easy. Heck the monks have been working on it for years.
So I decided to make my own version:
In my current busy season of life, I don't sit and do a true meditation first thing in the morning. I do more of a: stand at the coffee pot and take in a few deep breaths to center myself, while waiting for my Keurig to give me a nice hot cup of coffee. What I find is if I sit down it becomes all too easy to stop my momentum in the morning before it has really begun.
While I am drinking my coffee, I do the next two steps of affirmations and visualization. I really like the way Elrod explains visualization in his video I linked above. A lot of mindset and woo-woo authors try to get you to visualize some far off and totally crazy future self. Elrod, however, encourages us to really look at TODAY. Visualize your best day, today. Wow!! Amazing! We can actually control our days and if we visualize the best day today, we can work to make it happen. Boom.
The last step for me is to read my quick devotional. Just a few minutes to really ground myself and remind me of my why. I like Elizabeth George's One Minute Devotional. And Sarah Young's Jesus Calling is another great quick morning read. This is it, this is my quick morning routine and doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes. So even on the days that I am up three times with a sick kid, I can still get up 15 minutes before everyone else and start my day right.
Last year, I made a quick printable to help you create your own morning routine. Here is the link to get your copy! I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me to start each day on the right foot. (and BTW - when I don't start my day right, I have been known to jump in the shower at mid-day and do my morning over!)