It’s Monday morning, and if you’re like me, you’re thinking about ways to make this week go a little more smoothly than last. How to get a little more of the “must do’s” done while making enough room for yourself, how to feel less grouchy and rushed in the mornings or at dinnertime or at bedtime.
One of the tips most often handed down by everyone from Ben Franklin to modern productivity experts seems simple: get up early. Start your day an hour or two before the rest of your family, and you’ll have plenty of time to dream your dreams and read your book and get the laundry started and run two miles and enjoy your coffee, so you won’t need to try to cram it all in throughout the day when you’re busy with family and/or work.
I know this is true. I’ve experienced the benefits of the super-early rise myself, when I’ve had the energy and the early bedtime and a little extra banked sleep and the promise of a gorgeous sunrise to pull it off. But this time of year? When the sky is gray and the air is frigid and the snow is turning black and just getting to my car without falling on the ice is a delicate maneuver? These days when getting up an hour early would mean rising to a house as dark as it was when I went to bed?
For this girl who tends toward night owl, it just doesn’t feel terribly realistic.
But that doesn’t mean I have to give up on the idea of getting a little jump on the day.
Because it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, does it? I decided last week to just start getting up five minutes earlier than usual. I purposely set my alarm clock at the exact time I’d want to wake, so that hitting the snooze button would be pointless (it snoozes for 8 minutes which would have put me three minutes “late” getting up) and made sure my East facing shades were open so that any cracks of sunlight starting to make their way over the horizon would point right into my bedroom.
No, five minutes is not time enough to run, or read, or conquer the world. But it’s enough time to put in my contacts and pull on my slippers, to use the bathroom and wash my face, to start the kettle for tea and take a look at my to-do list. By the time I call the boys down for breakfast, I’m awake and ready rather than waking up frazzled and feeling “behind.”
Could you get up five minutes earlier every day this week?
I know your bed is snuggly and warm and the world, for many of us right now, is so cold. So make it easier on yourself.
Put a warm sweater and a pair of fuzzy slippers right next to your bed. Leave your favorite coffee cup or tea mug on the counter, and your brew of choice sitting out where you can easily get it started. Buy some delicious-smelling face wash or lotion and use it as soon as you get up. Leave a notebook and a favorite pen sitting on the kitchen counter or table tonight, and take a few minutes to sit down and jot a few lines or doodle.
Building a pleasant ritual around the early morning is a great way to give yourself the motivation to put your feet on the floor, even when you’d really, really rather not.
Yes, an hour is ideal. But if all you’ve got in you this week is five minutes? It’ll do. Commit to it, plan for it, and embrace it, and look forward to better mornings all week.