Growing up, I remember stumbling down the stairs at 7am at my grandparents’ farm after spending the night, only to be greeted with laughter and, “The day’s half over!” I suppose for dairy farmers who are feeding and milking cattle at 4am, the day really was half over.
I am not a dairy farmer.
Ugh. This whole early to bed, early to rise things haunts me. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am more productive when I get up early. I know how good it feels to have half of my to-do list crossed off by 9am. I know I am more likely to get some quiet time in and focus my day if I do it first thing. I know that being awake and dressed and ready for my school kids to get up (instead of waking up when they do) makes a smoother start for all of us.
I know these things. I’ve lived these things. Been there, done that. (Inconsistently, at best.) It works!
So why am I rolling out of bed at 7am with the kids? Because I’m tired. Why am I tired? (Yes, I do have a baby and half of our children are loud, restless sleepers, but this is on ME.) I’m tired because I go to bed too late.
There. I said it. The lure of the mostly silent evening hours tempts me. I thoroughly enjoy sitting at the computer catching up on social media in the quiet. We have a few shows we like to watch without interruption. Even the dishes are sometimes appealing when everyone else is asleep. And I am Queen of the bubble bath, especially during the winter. Soaking in one before bed relaxes me and helps me sleep. (At least that’s what I tell myself when I slide in at 11pm.)
Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.
It’s not a bad thing to stay up late. I know it’s messing with my productivity, though, and I need every ounce of oomph I can muster from my mornings. It would be different if I was getting a lot done late into the night, but I’m not. I’m catching up on things that didn’t happen during the day, or I’m relaxing. (Impressive, I know.)
How to make it happen? Well, that will be different for all of us, of course, (Oh, you didn’t realize I’m taking you on the ride with me?!) but when I’m on my game, these things work:
- Plan backwards. If 10pm is bedtime, don’t be hanging out on the computer at 9:45 if you still need to take a bath.
- Prioritize. We know what we need to get done and we know what we want to get done. Friends, it’s likely not all going to get done. Pick and choose, especially from the wants. The rest of the stuff? Forgetaboutit.
- Set a timer. Hey, it works for the kids! I know I lose track of time with the best of ‘em. Ten minutes on pinterest turned into 50? Not with a timer.
- Work like a crazy woman during the day. There is nothing worse (for me) than to get the kids put to bed and realize all I didn’t get finished that still needs to be done. Ugh! My evenings are much shorter and more enjoyable when I’ve had a productive day.
Let me just make it clear: I am not aspiring to get up with the cows at 4am in this season of life. No way, no how. I do know, though, that this ship would sail smoother if I could make myself get up at 6 every morning and have an hour to gear up before the day really gets started. That is my goal. I need my sleep, so in order to wake at 6, I need to be getting to bed by 10. Doable? Certainly.
Is your rise and shine time working for you? How do you make it work? Are you more productive in the morning or the evening? Does something need to “give”? Do tell!