I was drowning.
Not in water, but in life. I couldn't breathe. The moments I finally thought I had surfaced and could catch my breath proved otherwise. I knew that I couldn't keep up what I was doing, but at the same time, I didn't know how to put an end to the vicious cycle.
This was my life. This is just what life looks like with four kids under eight.
It didn't have to.
It was going to take a HUGE shift in my way of thinking. I was going to have to train myself to go to bed earlier. This night owl was going to have to make over her mornings.
A plan was needed. I needed to, first things first, (affiliate link) make over my mornings. It took a couple of weeks but I realized that there were several things that I needed to get done every morning before the kids got up in order for a less chaotic day.
If I took the time to do these eight things before 8 am, and these ten things before 10 PM, my day went smoother. I'm not going to say every day is perfect, but there was a lot less crazy.
First Things First: 8 Things to do Before 8 am
1. Start one load of laundry. It doesn't end there, though. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to rewash loads of clothes multiple times. Have a plan on when you will put it in the dryer. For me, it's washing a load after the kids are dressed for the day and putting it in the dryer when the littlest goes down for her nap or when she wakes up.
2. Drink WATER. On my list of first things first in the morning, water is a must. Water should be the first thing you drink in the morning, then you can drink your much-needed cup of coffee. Don't like plain water? That's okay. Infused water tastes great and helps you get in your daily water needs.
3. Empty the dishwasher. It's like a clean slate. When the dishwasher is empty, as dishes get dirty you can bypass the sink and put them straight in the dishwasher. That leaves you with a clean sink. I don't know about you, but a clean sink helps my sanity on hard times.
4. Read your Bible. In some seasons this can seem daunting. So impossible that we make excuse after excuse on why we can't sit down long enough to read and meditate on God's Word. Let us not give up. Write down Scripture verses and post them throughout your house. Read one Proverb a day until it becomes a habit and you crave that time delving into the Word. It's not impossible.
5. Know what you are having for dinner. Meal planning is so important in sticking to your budget and maintaining a lower stress level at home. When you know what you're having for dinner in the morning, you can prep the ingredients early in the day and won't be standing in front of the pantry and fridge while your children are tugging on your pants legs begging for food.
6.Get dressed. This sounds silly, I know. It's amazing the difference in the flow of the day when I am dressed and ready to tackle the day when the kids wake up and the days when the opposite is true. Is your closet overwhelming? There is a solution. First things first, streamline your wardrobe. It's amazing the difference it makes!
7. Brain dump. Make two columns on a piece of paper. On one side write down what you are thankful for. On the other write down all the things weighing on you. Your to-do list, everything that you know you need to get done, future events, things that you want to do, every thought that comes to mind, write it down. You don't have to write it in any kind of order, just write down everything. It's amazing how much brain capacity we take up just trying to remember everything. Once it's written down, you can visualize what needs to happen and make your to-do list.
8. After your brain dump, write your to-do list for the day. After you write it down, prioritize those items. What absolutely has to happen? What could be done tomorrow if life happens and disrupts your list?
Did you notice what wasn't on the list? Checking social media. Checking email. Catching up on the daily gossip. While tempting, those are total time wasters. If you want to streamline your day and get more accomplished, skip those and start with the non-negotiables.
How do you start your day on the right foot? Do you follow my list of these items to do first things first before 8 am, or do you have a totally different plan each morning? Do you try to do these 10 things before 10 PM to improve your productivity?