When I began writing about time management many years ago, I soon learned that people are not equally interested in all hours of the day. No one seems to care what successful people do on their lunch break, or at 8 p.m. on a weekday. But what the most successful people do before breakfast? That title can write its own ticket.
I think we start the day full of hope. Most people have more energy, discipline, and focus in the morning. It seems like things could go well, so when this desire to start the day right crashes into the reality of stubborn children or traffic on the way to daycare and work, we can feel particularly bereft. We’re always hunting for solutions to make these early hours better.
And people have many good ones! (Exhibit A: The comment section over at The SHU Box, where people are sharing their own morning hacks. I love the idea of calling toaster waffles on the go “road waffles,” as in “kids, we’re having road waffles for breakfast today!”)
Mornings aren’t particularly hectic in my house right now, they’re just really, really long. With 5 kids ranging from ages 2 months to 12 years, the activity that might be compressed into one smaller whirlwind is stretched out over many hours.
I often get up somewhere between 4-5 a.m. these days, depending on when the baby needs to eat. This morning it was 5:15 a.m., which is great, except I also knew it meant I wasn’t going to manage to get back to sleep. (I can usually sleep after a 4 a.m. feeding). I always feed him on one side and pump the bottle for the 1 a.m. feeding on the other during this time. The baby did go back to sleep today. I got up for good at 6:15 or so and showered. Then I enjoyed my little morning treat: a quiet cup of coffee in my quiet kitchen (pictured). I read for a few minutes while watching the growing light out the window.
I woke the 12-year-old at 6:40 a.m. and sat with him while he had breakfast. One reason we don’t have a morning “routine” per se — he has early choir two mornings per week, which starts at 7:20 a.m. So on those days he needs to be in the car at 7:10 a.m. Other days he leaves around 7:50/7:55, either with us or the other parents in the neighborhood carpool. My husband had left early for a morning video conference with Europe (better than flying there) so our nanny came at 7 (instead of the usual 8). The baby was still asleep, so I did the choir run to and from middle school.
I was home by 7:30, at which point I ate my breakfast, and sat with the elementary school aged kids as they ate theirs. The baby woke up to eat again around 8, so I fed him while typing chunks of this (I am getting really good at one-handed typing). G brought the kids out to the bus stop (driveway). I usually do this, but since it coincided with baby-feeding time, we switched. Then she drove the 5-year-old to preschool — just a few minutes away — while I finished feeding the baby and brushed my hair and did my make-up (with baby watching me from the floor of the bathroom…) I was ready for BOBW podcast (video) recording at 9!
So, that was 3.75 hours from waking to being presentable to the outside world. I did get a little work done in there, multi-tasked with nursing, and I did do a few minutes of reading. But given that I spend about 17 hours awake per day that is a fairly large chunk — and I didn’t commute anywhere!
What’s your stopwatch time from waking to (officially) starting work?
Photo: enjoying a few moments before the mess…