9 Ways to Get a Jump on the Day

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Find yourself feeling scattered and disordered? Consider a daily morning routine to help you put order into the day and give you a major sense of accomplishment.

Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas Life as Mom

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Do you have a morning routine to help you start the day right? Doing so can really help you get moving, especially before the coffee kicks in. My morning high five has served me well, but there are other things that I have on my mental checklist to help me get a jump on the day.

Of course, the wheels may all fall off even before I get through one or two steps on the list, but having a goal in mind, having these little things before me, helps me feel I’ve done “something”. Anything.

And if you’ve been a mom for more than a week, you know that getting something done is a total win.

Here are my nine basic ways to get a jump on the day:

1. Read something that directs your heart to God and helps you lean Godward.

My morning “quiet time” usually involves a reading in whatever Bible plan I’m following in the YouVersion app and  journaling my prayers. Since I read and listen to praise music on the treadmill or stationary bike, that also serves as a way for me to incline my heart toward God on a mostly daily basis.

This year the kids and I are doing CBS, so I have plenty to study right now.

london cup

2. Enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee, tea, etc.

I love the ritual of a morning cuppa. I used to be a coffee with lots of cream and SUGAR girl. I gave up the sugar about a year ago. The taste is no longer that tasty to me, but I love the ritual all the same. Something warm is so cozy.

Those of you who follow me on instagram know that recently I’ve started the day with 32 ounces of warm/hot water with lemon juice. My mother-in-law recommended this after her doctor recommended to her. I’m not sure if it is doing all that it promises to do (detox my liver and burn belly fat), but it’s a nice placebo either way!

3. Survey the day.

I keep my important, not-to-be-missed appointments in Google calendar. It sends me a daily agenda each morning. This is super helpful, especially if I forget to sync appointments to my notebook. This email is usually one of the first I read each morning.

Now that I have the Print & Go Planner, I spend a few minutes at the beginning of each week mappping my time budget, and then each night (or morning if I don’t get to it) mapping the next day and time blocking my to-do’s so I know what I can really fit into the day.

Surveying what’s ahead of me in the day, week, and month, helps me to budget my time and not get sidetracked, as I am very apt to do.

time budget planner

4. Shower, primp, and get dressed, shoes included.

If I am going to the gym first thing in the morning, I skip the first two steps. Though I would love to stay in jammies all day, gym or not, I know that I am more “withit” and alert if I’m dressed and can answer the door without remorse.

Now that I’m fighting the frump, getting dressed each morning is actually a fun thing! I love putting on clothes that are stylish and complement my figure. It’s such a great change!

5. Start a load of laundry.

I no longer do the laundry every day. The kids have their own days for laundry, but they can still benefit from a laundry monitor who checks in that folks are doing it on their assigned day and moving things along. Plus, I typically take charge of sheets, towels, and parental laundry.

I do much better doing the laundry first thing in the morning. I cannot fall asleep to the sound of the machines running. Since the laundry room is next door to my bedroom, the laundry definitely needs to get washed in the AM.

6. Do a 15-minute blitz.

My ideal is that we don’t go to bed with a messy kitchen or the house in disarray. Unfortunately, these days we aren’t reaching my ideal. If I can’t orchestrate a quick 15-minute pick up at night before we go to bed, doing it first thing in the morning makes our day go much more smoothly.

Chicken and Bowties Pasta with Sage and Nutmeg

7. Start dinner prep: crockpot, thaw, etc.

It may only be 8 am, but I tell ya, blink and 5 pm will be there waiting for you rather impatiently — along with hungry people! The best days are when I know I’ve thawed freezer meals or ingredients, got the crockpot going, and otherwise prepped for supper. It seems like much less drudgery at 8 am than at 5pm.

8. Read a story to the kiddos.

Five out of six FishKids now read fluently. It’s a homeschool mom’s dream come true. FishChick5 is close to being able to take off on her own. Despite their independent literacy, they still all love to hear a store told.

Sometimes I read a larger novel to most of the kids, with the older ones eavesdropping from the wings. More often that not, at least lately, I’m reading with the girls. They each pick a book and FishChick7 and I take turns reading. She’s got pretty amazing inflection. It’s a fun little time for the three of us.

9. Eat a good breakfast.

As a mom, breakfast almost seems indulgent. I confess to having skipped breakfast a few too many times in my life as mom.

These days, I try to make it something hearty: whole grain cereal, oatmeal, granola and yogurt or skillet eggs. I’m far less crabby if I’ve had a good breakfast. If you find yourself in the same boat, try one of these mom breakfasts.

Check out these easy breakfast ideas so you won’t be tempted to skip!

What do YOU do to get a jump on the day?

How do you structure your morning routine? What helps you feel “withit”?


Originally published March 16, 2014. Updated November 8, 2016.

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  1. Hi
    I have grown children now, but this was a joy to read and a great way to keep your day focused. I will definitely use this as a daily rutual. Thank you so much.

  2. I’m pretty rigid about my morning routine. It sets me up for a successful day vs one that I’m scrambling the whole time. I don’t set my alarm, so I’m not up at the same time every morning. (I have trouble getting enough sleep, so if my body is ever willing to sleep, I’ll do it.)

    I get up between 5:30-6AM, put on exercise clothes, do my devotional if I have time & feed the puppy.
    6AM-7AM- walking 2/week, biking 3/week (other days puppy gets a long walk & I have more time for the rest of my routine.)
    7AM-7:20ish- walk puppy
    After that, I have hot water with lemon & honey, make sure the kids are up getting their breakfast, fill the water filter, make sure we have enough drinking water, have my breakfast (always 2 eggs), put in laundry, shower, dress for day. If I have time I will check e-mail or read for a few minutes & have coffee.
    School starts at 8AM, and I’m busy the rest of the day.

    Lunch has been sorted out the day before (M-F), as I have a cook that works those days. She does the marketing, breakfast clean-up, bakes bread, cooks lunch, and cleans up from lunch. That makes homeschool much easier! On weekend days, my morning routine morphs into baking bread & setting up lunch in crock pot or other prep, organizing kitchen clean-up, etc.

    What I want to get in the habit of doing is checking over my planner as I’m having breakfast or some point in there. I need to figure out a way to remind myself of that!

    1. How about putting your planner every night where you eat breakfast or with the breakfast stuff? It you place it there every night, you’ll have it right in front of you.

      1. Thank you, I had not heard of it before. It sounds similar to Bible Study Fellowship.

        I use “Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 minutes (or less!)” quite a lot and your chicken pot pie recipe is a favorite in our family. Thank you for your blog.

  3. Wake up to a happy puppy. Take said happy puppy for a walk. Feed puppy, start coffee, feed me, feed kitties, drink coffee. It’s a nice start to the day. The animals get all confused if things are out of order.

    What do you drink on your coffee walks now?

  4. At bed time I get the kids to clean up the living room and then I clean the kitchen. Makes for a much better start to the day for my mood.

  5. We all have to be out of the door by 8 am during the week so our routine is fairly short and precise. Everyone gets up at 6:30. Between 6:30 and 7:00, we read the newspaper while eating breakfast. The coffee pot is prepped the night before and is ready to turn on. I take about 15 minutes between 7 and 7:15 to clean up the kitchen and make a few advanced preparations for dinner — take food out of the freezer; load the crock pot; etc. At 7:15 it is time for a shower and then getting dressed. I always make the bed before shutting off the bedroom light. I leave the last 15 minutes to help the kids get ready. My big preparations are actually at night since our mornings are so short.

  6. We have a routine here since I work from home full-time. I always clean the house after the kids are in bed so that we wake up to a clean house. Our routine is planned down to the minute, just so the kids and I know when I can get some work done. We always eat breakfast, I do a load of laundry everyday (easier than once a week for us), and tackle just one room per day for cleaning.