I’ve been in this bad habit of sleeping in until 7-7:30, rolling straight into the morning kids’ routine, and then spending the rest of the day wondering why I feel like I’m chasing after lost time. I’m now re-learning a lesson that I know about myself already: getting up early is important to me (I love mornings), and now that I’m part-time at work and a full-time Dad with a spiky schedule, it’s become even more crucial.
My late morning start seems to have carried over from the winter, when it is pitch black until nearly 9am (so it felt permissible then), but this time of the year it looks like this by 6am:
I seem to go through cycles of being on top of things for a time, only to drift off course slowly until I suddenly wake up to the fact that something isn’t right. I realized that my typical day has started to look a lot like this:
- I wake up around 7-7:30 because I stayed up a little too late the night before
- I try to stuff an incredible number of things in between school drop off (at 9am) and pickup (3pm), including but not limited to: going on a run, cleaning the house, working 3 – 4 hours, eating lunch, running to the store, taking a shower.
- I use my evening time to catch up on the things I wasn’t able to do fully in the middle of the day, and then feel annoyed that I can’t use the evening time for unwinding and catching up with friends, so I stay up later than I should to “make it up”
- Then I start all over again
I’ve essentially been only using two-thirds of my day: late morning/afternoon and late afternoon/evening.
In a bit of a seasonal shift, I’ve started to add back my mornings.
Turns out that making the smallest adjustment like getting up just an hour (or thirty minutes) earlier to read and get my run in before the kids get up has changed the complexion of the entire day. Suddenly, I don’t feel nearly as rushed. By the time the morning gauntlet starts, I’ve already ticked off something that’s important to me.
I’ve also started to plan my whole day out more intentionally: the early morning is for reading and exercise, the late morning/afternoon reserved for work and creative time, the late afternoon/evening for family, friends and relaxation.
If you were to ask me what my perfect day looks like, that would be it.
In doing this, I’ve realized that the most important thing is that I have these three parts of my day, not that they necessarily happen in that order. I can do my training and reading in the evenings if needed and use my morning for work and creative time.
None of this is possible, though, if I’m not using the whole day.