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7 simple steps for a great morning routine
Schedules & Routines

7 Simple Rules For A Great Morning Routine

Getting out of the house in the morning with kids without being frazzled and totally stressed out sometimes feels like mission impossible.

So friends, to help you out, I’ve put together a list of 7 simple rules to create a morning routine that stops the chaos. Some of these tips are to help you feel your best, while others are practical time management tips.

Rule #1 Wake Up Before Everyone Else

This is a big one. How much earlier you wake up will depend on what you want to use this time for. You can use this time to meditate, do some stretching, journal, exercise or just drink your first cup of coffee while it’s still hot. The one thing you should not use this time for is to get on your phone (see rule #3). This is your time and you should use it to set the tone for your day.

I wake up 20 minutes before everyone else. These 20 minutes give me time to get dressed, put on a little bit of makeup and fully wake up before the flurry of demands begin. Does someone wake up before me? Sometimes. When they do, I just incorporate them into my routine, even if this means letting my 4 year old brush my hair. 

Rule #2 Shower At Night

Friends, I love to shower. The shower is my happy place. However, when I used to shower in the mornings, that happy place did not always end up happy. Actually,  99% of the time it was interrupted by at least one little person pressed up against the shower door needing something.

For the first couple years of my first born’s life, I showered when I could. This meant either during nap time or when I could set him down to take the 3 minute shower I was used to. I never considered showering at night because a) I was too tired and b) I thought my hair would be worse off the next day.

Once I had our second baby, it became much harder to shower during the day. Most of the time I had to throw on some dry shampoo and hope for the best because a shower was just not happening.  I hated dropping my son off at school looking a wreck and it totally tanked my mood.

So I experimented with taking a night time shower. When I did, the clouds parted and the angels sang. I had 10 minutes of uninterrupted time. I could actually shave properly. The next day I didn’t have to squeeze it in and I could leave the house knowing I was fresh and clean (and my hair wasn’t so bad). It was an immediate mood changer for me and made my days feel a lot less stressful.

Showering at night also frees up time in the morning and let’s me sleep later. I call that a win-win!

Rule #3 Don’t Check Your Phone

There are lots of reasons why we shouldn’t look at our phones first thing in the morning, but the main reason is because our phones are a source of stress. According to recent research, all those notifications that have come through while you were sleeping trigger a sense of what you have missed and what you need to get done. This can have a major impact on your mood for the whole day.

Specifically, by staying off social media in the morning you won’t start the comparison game or let someone else’s “awesome” updates give you a major case of FOMO.

I challenge you to stop yourself when you reach for the phone first thing in the morning. Try this for a week and I bet you will see a difference.

Related: The Secret To a Successful Week

morning routine for moms | tips to have a stress free morning | start your day right with this simple morning routine

Rule #4 Hydrate

Don’t roll your eyes. We all know we need to drink more water. I am chronically bad at getting in my eight glasses of water a day.

Hydrating in the morning is incredibly beneficial to your digestion, liver and overall well being. When I don’t hydrate in the morning, I feel sluggish and grumpy by midday and I have a hard time catching up on my water intake. You can read all about the benefits of drinking water in the morning here.

Drink a big glass of water before you eat anything to boost your metabolism and help you re-hydrate from the night before. You’ll feel better all day long, trust me.

Rule #5 Keep Breakfast Simple and Healthy

This is another one we all know we should do but we might not be great at. But eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to improve your concentration and performance throughout the day.  

If you struggle to eat a healthy breakfast, here are some quick and easy (and kid friendly) options:

  • Whole Wheat Waffles with Orange Slices (make a huge batch on the weekend!)
  • Oatmeal with Bananas (quick oats are your friend)
  • Avocado Toast with Fruit
  • Hard Boiled Eggs with Toast and Fruit
  • Egg Muffin Cups – Check out this list of Egg Muffin Cups Recipes

Many of these options can be made ahead of time, either on the weekends or the evening before. Having a healthy breakfast planned and made ahead of time will make the morning rush not so rushed.

Just remember: Not all breakfasts are created equal! Keep it simple with whole foods and you will feel your best!

Rule #6 Pack Up The Night Before

In the evenings, I help the kids pack their backpacks for the next day. Then we put their backpacks and shoes in the hallway ready for the morning. P.S. If you have a mudroom a) I am jealous and b) can I move in?

Anyway, having backpacks packed and shoes right next to them, makes leaving the house in the morning 1000% times easier. Gone are the mornings where we are looking for a sneaker or picking what to bring to show and tell.

You can also pack lunches in the evenings. Keep lunches super simple. I use these partitioned lunch containers: Ziploc Container, Divided Rectangle, 2-Count(Pack of 2).

I rotate the sandwich types (ham and cheese, turkey and cheese etc) and the smaller sections are usually a fruit and some kind of other protein (cheese, hard boiled egg, yogurt). Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make a gourmet lunch for the kids every day. If you include simple (healthy) foods, it makes packing them very easy and much less stressful.

Having all this done the night before takes me about 20 minutes, but that is 20 minutes I do not have in the morning.

Rule #7 Always give yourself wiggle room

My kids move like molasses in the morning and they need some space between the time they wake up to when they can actually start their morning. Not rushing puts them in a better mood and they are more willing to get through the morning routine without having a major breakdown.

Knowing you have some wiggle room will also allow you to be calmer. Some mornings go much smoother than others and we are actually ready before we need to leave the house. Other times, that extra time is filled with an impromptu dance show or clean up from a major spill at the breakfast table.

 

Here is a look at my morning routine, just so you can get a sense of how I have implemented these 7 steps:

6:45 – Wake Up, Get Dressed, Put on Makeup

7:00 – Hydrate

7:05 – Wake kids up if they aren’t up already

7:15 – Get breakfast ready

7:25 – Get everybody to the breakfast table and eat!

7:45 – Get the kids dressed

7:55 – Hair Brushing/Tooth Brushing and Shoes

8:05 – Out the door (we actually don’t have to leave until 8:10 to be at school on time, and we usually end up leaving between 8:05-8:10).

Take these 7 simple rules and make them your own.  Remember: the morning sets the tone for the entire day and a morning routine will get you started on the right foot.

Looking for some simple ways to get you organized in all areas of your life? Check out my favorite 5 apps to get organized!

 

Morning Routine for Moms | 7 Simple Rules for a Smooth Morning
Morning Routine for Moms | 7 Simple Rules for a Smooth Morning
Morning Routine for Moms | 7 Simple Rules for a Smooth Morning
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Check out these awesome tips for moms to help with their morning routine! This morning routine for moms helps you to be more productive, take time for self care, and build a strong routine for you and your kids! Great tips for morning routines before work!
secret to a successful week | productivity
Schedules & Routines

The Secret to a Productive Week & Weekly Planner Template

Are you looking for strategies to reduce your stress, manage your time better, and get more done? Than I have the weekly planner template for you!

I’ll be honest….

Mondays in our house used to be incredibly hectic. Actually, Tuesdays were too. And Wednesdays. And Thursdays. Oh, and Fridays too. A few years ago I realized the reason my weeks felt so hectic was because I was flying by the seat of my pants everyday rather than planning.  

I would wake up in the morning and just hope for the best as I made my way through the day. Essentially, I was being reactive rather than proactive.

I realized that the days where I did have a plan were the days I was most productive, less stressed, and much more pleasant to be around.

So, I started a routine that I now lovingly refer to as my Sunday Sanity Session.

Every Sunday morning while I drink my coffee, I map out my weekly schedule and make sure I am prepared for the week ahead.  This 3 step planning routine takes me between 20-30 minutes and when I am done I have a complete road map for my week ahead.

Related: 5 Best Planners for Moms

Planning on Sunday gives me a chance to focus in peace and quiet on what needs to get done. This makes Monday feel far less overwhelming and sets me up for success through the week.

A weekly planning session is so important to getting organized and reducing your stress each week. Check out this free weekly planning guide! #planner #organized #timemanagement

If you are new to creating a weekly plan or even if you are a sometimes planner like I was, creating a plan and writing it out for the week actually provides you with greater flexibility.

With these 3 simple steps you will

  1. Know what happens when and
  2. Make smart decisions when things come up. 

This will deter your week from going into a tailspin when there are hiccups. And to get you started, I have created a FREE Weekly Planning Guide. 

Starting a weekly planning session may seem daunting, but I promise you after a couple of times you will have your weekly schedule done in no time! You will feel prepared and ready to take on the week.

So, let’s jump right in! Here are my 3 steps for a successful weekly planning session:

 

Step 1. Review Your Calendar

Yes, you put it on the calendar.

Yes, you’ll likely get a reminder (if you’re using a digital calendar).

But when you are being pulled a million different directions, it’s no surprise things start to fall off your radar.

By reviewing your calendar before the week starts you are able to remind yourself of what you have going on and prepare yourself for the week ahead. This also prevents any “surprises”. You might be “surprised” during your weekly planning session that your dentist appointments is this week. But now you know, so you can make sure you have a sitter!

Hot Tip: Look at both your work calendar as well as your personal calendar. If you can combine the two into one calendar even better. Getting your husband on board with maintaining and sharing his calendar with you will take this session to the next level. Don’t have a clue where to start?

Download the Weekly Planning Session Guide to get started.

Bonus: In addition to my Sunday Sanity Session, I usually do an end of the week review and to do list at my desk before I shut down my computer on Friday afternoon. This let’s me know what is carrying over to Monday. Friday afternoon work stuff is fresh on my mind. Sunday, not so much. Having this list already prepared is incredibly helpful when I sit down on Sundays and look at my personal calendar.

Need an awesome family calendar? Try Cozi!

Create a Cozi account for the whole family today, and keep your family’s schedules and lists organized in one shared calendar. It’s FREE!

How to plan your week and reduce your stress. Weekly planning template

Step 2: Meal Plan

Having a meal plan will take the guesswork out of the age-old question “What’s for dinner?” and will prevent panic or a run to the drive thru (You can even post your meal plan on the fridge so everyone knows what’s on the menu.)

Now that you know what’s going on during the week, it will be easier to choose meals based on your schedule. You can plan 15-minute dinners on busy nights and some special meals on slower nights.

Remember your dentist appointment? (yes you do!) Knowing you’ll be at the dentist in the afternoon, you might plan for an easy dinner. Or you might make a double batch of dinner the night before and just serve leftovers.

Related: 25 Easy Meals for Busy Nights

Start by looking in your fridge, freezer and pantry to see what you already have. Taking this step first will give you ideas and ensure that you don’t buy what you already have (which is great for your grocery budget).

From here, look at your calendar and start planning around what you have going on. Keeping the food you already have in the house in mind, choose meals that won’t stress you out. Soccer practice night might mean grilled cheese and soup. A night with no activities might mean BBQ chicken with salad and potatoes. Husband working late one night? Breakfast for dinner it is!

Having a meal plan is awesome and one of the ways that I have reduced the daily stress in my life. And it doesn’t take much effort at all once you get the hang of it!

Get your free meal planning guide here!

The Secret To A Successful Week | How To Get Organized For The Week Ahead | 3 Easy Steps to Organize Your Schedule | Free Successful Week Planning Guide

Step 3: Your To Do Lists

Finally, Finally, it is time to create your to do lists. (I could tell you were waiting for this one.)

The goal of this step is to make a to do list for each day of the week. If you work, I recommend creating both a work to do list and personal to do list. For both, the key is not to cram too many things into one day.  

For the to do list, try to keep the list to 2-3 things a day. Yes, that’s right, I said A DAY.

Why? Because life happens while you’re planning. Things come up, priorities shift and you need to allow yourself some wiggle room. Some days you will accomplish much more than you had on your list.

If you do get everything on your daily to do list accomplished and you still have some time and momentum then you can move on to the next day’s task. If you don’t tackle the do list, you can easily add those tasks to the next day and you will not be overwhelmed.

Tip: Think through your to do’s and be specific. Need to a get a gift for a birthday party on Saturday? Make sure you know where you can get that gift or if you need to order it online. These little details will go a loooooong way.

Related: 7 Time Management Tips For Moms

Let’s Be Real….

Does planning out your week mean you have to follow it to a “T”? No!

Things will always come up and there will always be emergencies. However, when you get into the habit of planning and have a better sense of your to do’s, you will be better equipped to handle things that come your way.

The key to success during your weekly planning session is doing the steps in order. Don’t skip ahead to meal planning and don’t start creating to do lists before you know what you have going on during the week.

This planning session is all about setting yourself up for success, not cramming in as much as you can into one week. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Don’t let this weekly plan overwhelm you or drive you nuts. Instead, focus on how this plan will give you more freedom.

You can download the FREE Weekly Planning Guide to help you get started!

The planning guide includes:

  • Weekly Master To Do List
  • Daily To Do List
  • Meal Plan
  • Weekly Calendar Template
  • Monthly Calendar Template

Looking for some simple ways to get you organized in all areas of your life? Check out my favorite 5 apps to get organized!

How to set yourself up for a great week. Increase your productivity and reduce your stress with these 3 steps.How to set yourself up for a great week. Increase your productivity and reduce your stress with these 3 steps.

How to set yourself up for a great week. Increase your productivity and reduce your stress with these 3 steps.

How to set yourself up for a great week. Increase your productivity and reduce your stress with these 3 steps.

The easiest cleaning schedule for your busy life | cleaning schedule | home organization
Schedules & Routines

The Easiest Cleaning Schedule For Busy Moms

Are you a busy mom who struggles to keep the house clean? (this is a rhetorical question because, really, aren’t we all?) Do you need a cleaning schedule for busy moms that’s simple and won’t make you feel overwhelmed? Than keep reading.

I have a love hate relationship with cleaning. I love having a clean house, but I hate actually cleaning it. Well, maybe hate is a strong word. I have been known to rage clean on occasion and that can feel soooooo good. 

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this regard. Cleaning a house, especially one that is lived in by people and pets, can be overwhelming, frustrating, and for some reason is a real source of guilt! Over the years I have come up with a cleaning routine that I use that makes staying on top of things less…ugh.

Having this schedule also makes keeping the house clean less overwhelming. Before I had this routine I always felt like I should be doing something everyday, but I didn’t really know what I should be doing!

Now I know exactly how often I need to clean certain things in order to maintain some kind of order. Over the years I’ve also fallen into a routine for which days are the best for accomplishing certain tasks, especially those on the weekly list. Is my house perfectly neat every minute of every day? Hell no! Remember, I have 2 small kids at home! But I have a plan that is easy, reasonable and ensures we are not overwhelmed with mess.

Finding time to keep the house clean is always a challenge, especially with kids! Check out this easy cleaning schedule. This includes weekly cleaning schedules, monthly cleaning schedules and more! The best cleaning schedule tips and hacks to get rid of the mess! #cleaningschedule #cleanintips #cleaninghacks #lazycleaningschedule

I’ve broken this down by how often I do each task. I promise you, once you get a schedule in place, you will be less overwhelmed on the daily and you  I’ve also created a cheat sheet of this list.

Daily

Clean the Kitchen

The whole house looks and smells better when the kitchen is clean. It’s also a total bummer to wake up in the morning to a sink full of dishes. You feel me?

This usually happens once a day at the end of the day.

The reason?

If I cleaned up in the kitchen after every meal/snack I would literally be cleaning the kitchen all day. Cleaning the kitchen includes:

  • Washing all the dishes/running the dishwasher
  • Putting things away, ie toaster
  • Wiping down countertops
  • Taking out the trash (sometimes this is every other day, it just depends.)

The 15 minute pick up

Before bath and bedtimes, the whole family participates in the 15 minute pickup. Everybody pitches in and helps. This means we all go around the main family living areas and pick things up and put them away. This includes counter tops and tables.

Related: How To Get Your Kids to Do Chores

I set a timer and we pick up for 15 minutes. I’ll stretch it to 20 minutes if things are hairy. I like to do this before bed because no one is messing the house up for at least 10 hours.

Keeping it to 15 minutes is a great way to overcome that overwhelming feeling.  It’s like saying “15 minutes? I got this!”

Twice a week

Laundry

So.much.laundry.

It’s not the act of actually washing and drying the laundry that I mind. It’s the folding and putting away part. As much laundry as there is in our house, I try to do laundry only twice a week. I do a big laundry day one day on the weekend. I empty all the hampers and then I have a one load policy during the week. This way I don’t end up with baskets of unfolded or ready to put away clothes that stare at me all week.

So, pick your big laundry day and your mini laundry and day get it done!

Sweep

Sometimes this needs to happen more than twice a week, especially if my kid pours out his shoe full of sand in the kitchen. But basically, I can get away with sweeping just twice a week. I usually stick to the main living areas like the kitchen the entryway and the breakfast nook.

Weekly

Bathrooms

I do a full clean of all the bathrooms every week. I do the works. Scrubbing showers, bathtubs, toilets. Finding the right tools for the job is important and can make this a quick and easy experience. I have bought a lot of different bathroom cleaners before I found one that really did the job.  I’m embarrassed by how much time and money I’ve invested in bathroom cleaning products. I finally landed on Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds.

It’s more expensive upfront, but it’s a concentrated liquid so it lasts FOREVER. I have the 16 oz. bottle, I’m about 1/3 of the way through and I have had it for about 3 months. (I also use it as an all purpose cleaner). This is my favorite no scrub bathroom cleaner recipe using Sal Suds and here is a dilution cheat sheet and other uses

Dust

Honestly the easiest cleaning task on this list. I bought a duster from the dollar store and I have never looked back. And now that the kids are older, they love helping with this job too!

Wash Floors/Vacuum

It is absolutely amazing how much of a difference a clean floor makes. If I could only clean one thing (sign me up) I would always choose to clean the floors. Not only does the house look better, but it always smells better for a couple of days. This just reminds me of my efforts and makes it worth the sweat session.

Wipe down appliances and kitchen cabinets

I do this only once a week because the cabinets and appliances don’t get too funky. I may spot clean things if during the week someone takes their syrupy hand and runs it down the fridge. Otherwise, once a week is enough.

Bi-Weekly

Sheets

I guess this technically goes under laundry, but I separate this out because I only wash the sheets every two weeks. For some reason, the days I do the sheets, the kids always make big pillow and blanket nests or forts.This keeps them busy for quite awhile. Maybe I should start washing the sheets everyday!

Monthly

Dust the blinds

My handy dandy duster comes out for dusting the blinds. Sometimes I need to break out the heavy duty cleaners if sticky fingers attacked the blinds.

Clean out the Fridge

I do a quick purge every week when I grocery shop, but this in when I get in there and wash the shelves, clean out the drawers and throw out the things we don’t need (or that have gone bad).

Baseboards

Why are there so many baseboards? This one is a real pain, but my little helpers have always liked cleaning baseboards so I usually have plenty of help. Score!

Biannually

Windows, inside and out

If you haven’t cleaned your windows since you moved into your house you are missing out. No. I have not gone crazy. You will be amazed at how much yuck is on the inside of your windows and how much brighter your house will feel when you are done.

For the outside of the windows, I buy a window cleaner you attach to the house directly. You spray the cleaner on the windows, rinse with water, and you are done. The inside windows are even easier. Some paper towels and glass cleaner will do the trick.

Tip: I highly recommend getting your kids involved. Not only is it great to have helpers but it also teaches them responsibility and the importance of helping around the house. Listen, even a 3 year old can wipe down lower cabinets in the kitchen or help clean baseboards. Make it fun, put on some music or sing songs. It might take a bit longer, but it will keep them busy and let you get done what you need to. If your kids are older, you can let them earn money for each task.

This cleaning schedule for busy moms I developed has been a real motivator for me and I know it will set you on track for getting the house clean and maintaining it! 

 

Looking for some simple ways to get you organized in all areas of your life? Check out my favorite 5 apps to get organized!

cleaning schedule | busy mom's guide to a clean house | home organization #cleaning #homemakingThe busy moms guide to keeping your house clean. An easy cleaning schedule