Morning Glories: Starting the Day Off Right

Morning Glories, Shibata Zeshin, 1860

I recently read an article on Business Insider titled “Twelve Things Successful People Do in the FirstHour of the Work Day.” Interesting. But it didn't have all that much application to my life as a homeschool mom. Still, I agree with the premise of the piece that “the first hour of the hour of the workday is critical, since it can affect your productivity level and mindset for the rest of the day.” 

I started thinking of the things I do every day that lead to a more productive and peaceful day in our home. Your list is probably a bit different, but the key is thinking through what helps make things run smoothly in your home and then working to see that those happen (most of the time.) 

  1. Wake up!  
    Ha – and you thought that was a given! Maybe it is for natural morning people. But for the rest of us, waking up ON TIME is more than half the battle in starting the day right.
  1. Prepare breakfast for the crew. 
    We eat a hot breakfast five days a week, so I get started cooking first thing. Usually it is a matter of assembling something and sticking it in the oven. Two things streamline this process:
                 a. Follow a simple, weekly plan. (If it's Monday, it must be muffins! Not quite our
                     current plan, but close enough.)

                 b. When possible, assemble dry ingredients and pans the night before.
                     At that time I make final decisions about whether I'm making pumpkin, blueberry,
                     banana, peach, cranberry, or banana chocolate baked oatmeal, for instance.
                     In the morning I can finish up easily, even if I'm in a semi-zombie state.

Charlotte Weeks, 1882
     3. Spend time in prayer and Bible reading!
         So often we feel "too busy" to spend time with
         the Lord. Yet the older I grow, the more
         convinced I am of my utter dependence on
         Him and my need to saturate my life
         with prayer and Scripture. I know how hard this
         can be when you have a new baby or an
         early rising toddler! Some mornings may
         be out of the question, but whenever
         possible, carve out some time -
         even a short time - and start your
         day by meeting with Him. You will be so
         glad you did. (More on this to come in the future.)



 4. Greet everyone in your family cheerily!
        Another obvious one, right? This is actually one of the few transferable concepts
        from the business article, though. How do you greet your "team"? Your attitude sets
        the tone for your home, and morning greetings are a good place to start right.
        Lynne Taylor says good supervisors show compassion and build rapport as they
        greet their employees: "This is the first hour of their day, too, and your actions 
        have a significant impact on their attitude and productivity." True for our kids, too.

 Proverbs 1624 "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

   5. Eat breakfast - and don't skimp on protein!
       You're going to be working hard today,  so give your body proper fuel. Even if you 
       have to eat standing up. While shoveling bits into the toddler's mouth. 
       And nursing the baby. And putting dinner in the crockpot. Just don't forget to feed 
       yourself, too.

   6. Give only a brief scan to your emails. And skip Pinterest, Facebook, etc. altogether.
       Morning is too key a time to get bogged down in a weighty email response or 
       FB controversy. 

      With everyone working together just 15 minutes, you can accomplish wonders!
   8. Start a load of laundry.
      I like to think of my appliances as my maids. And every morning I tell that laundress
      to get a move on.

   9. Think about dinner.
       Really? In the morning? Yes! Take a peek at your menu plan (you do have one, right?)
       and see if you need to do anything. It's a real bummer to find out at 5 PM that you'd
       intended to make a crock-pot meal.

   10. Order your school subjects carefully.
       Starting with a Bible and prayer time together helps you all 
       focus your hearts on  things above. Then when I had little 
       ones I always worked with them first so they felt included 
       in our school and not ignored. Next, tackle the most     
       difficult subject. If you are teaching a new reader, schedule 
       that early in your school day. If math requires the most brain
       power, hit that up early. This guarantees you won't run 
       out of time, and also that everyone is fresh. 

 What's NOT essential in my morning routine:

1. A morning shower. Used to be. But I've determined that finding QUIET moments for prayer only happens before the household is up. In other words, during the time I used to shower. No, that doesn't mean I'm smellier these days. But unless the morning is running very smoothly, I shift a shower to a non-prime time or even skip it altogether.

2. A morning walk. I love to get outside early and walk on my country roads or farm trails. But this also is something that I've shoved to a later part of the day. Some day, I'll again be able to walk early and do all the other morning things. But for now, my early morning hours are still too packed.

So there you have my basic components for a glorious morning!


Amanda Mentzel said…
I've just recommitted to a 'work-and Bible and prayer (however it fits in)-before play', routine this week. So far it's helping a lot! It's even changed my mindset about schoolwork. School for these little ones isn't just about numbers and letters, but folding laundry and sweeping the floor is a big part of learning, too. Thank you for this encouragement!

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