Yeah, morning routines are a thing and there is no denying they’re important.
I remember when I was a kid I was an early riser and I was usually the first one to appear in the kitchen. My mom was already up, sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper or making a list while she sipped her Salada and my Dad was almost done getting ready for work.
When I was older, I asked her why she got up so early and she said, “it was the only time I had to myself.” Well, don’t I get that now that I am a mom! She was a school teacher and mother to six so, truly, there were no breaks…
It’s definitely taken me some trial and error to nail this down and now that our three boys are school aged, a morning routine is more realistic. When the following things happen before the boys are circling for breakfast, my day, and theirs, is just all around better. When I don’t hit this list, I’m, how shall I say this, yelly. Enough said.
1. Start the night before.
My best mornings actually start the night before. I actually set an alarm on my phone so I stop working (or more than likely, dozing on the couch) and get things together. Taking some time the night before can change your morning. I lay out their clothes and mine, I line up the lunch boxes and put the snacks in, then I take care of my skin, brush my teeth, and maybe read or take a look at my calendar before I go to bed.
2. Get up before they do.
It’s kind of like the airplane thing, put your oxygen mask on first before you help those around you. By waking up early, there I said it, you’re not trying to meet everyone’s needs before your own through sleepy eyes. (Though if you need an ah-mazing eye cream, I know a girl.) Typically 45 mins to 1 hour before the brute squad rises is ideal for me. Gives me plenty of time to do 3, 4, and 5 on this list and put myself together so I don’t embarrass myself at school drop off.
No, I don’t work out this early but I do stretch. I do some simple range of motion exercises my chiropractor gave me and I BREATHE. If you're not up to a full work-out, at least try stretching, it feels good and it's a simple way to take care of yourself.
I don't look at my phone yet! I sit in silence and get my mind together, this includes prayer. You can pray, meditate, journal, or make a to-do list, whatever helps you set the tone for your day.
I try drinking some water first. When you sleep, your body uses up some water so give it a boost before you drink coffee or tea. Do you struggle with just water? Get a fun tumbler and straw, and try infusing it with fruit.
Maybe you need to do these in a different order or maybe your five are completely different but figure out what works for you and be consistent! On the days I’m intentional and get to do this list FIRST, those are the days I’m a better wife, mom, and businesswoman. You can’t control everything that happens in your day but at least prepare yourself to navigate through it…
After you look past the comfy clothes and messy bun, what does working from home mean? For me, working from home is a privilege, and for my family, it's a necessity.
When I was living in Boston and working fringe theatre, my 9-5 meant I could pay my bills. But, my life was very compartmentalized. My job was just a paycheck, and I was working my passion like a hobby. I could have shown up to the office and to rehearsal with my best but, in reality, I held myself back from doing either really well. (Psst, pro tip: whatever you do, do it well.)
When I remarried and we started a family right away, I became a stay-at-home mom. Still the most important and toughest job I will ever have. In between sons two and three, I started my own virtual assistant business. I figured, why not, that's what I was doing before and it went pretty well. Well, it went pretty well until my clients wanted more of my time. I decided that line of work was not what lit a fire within me. And, with son number three on the way, there was no way I was going to stay up late to edit PowerPoint slides...
"Be who God meant meant you to be and you will
set the world on fire."
-St. Catherine of Siena
I finally decided I needed to prioritize a creative project I had been pushing aside - a one-woman, faith based show. One day as I sat spoon feeding our youngest and reading the bleak headlines, I thought, there is a lot in this world that is going to get worse before it gets better. I need to make a difference and I need to love what I do. Once I made this commitment, many things I had been struggling with fell into place. But I still had no idea how I would fund my start-up costs.
And, that's when I lost my makeup bag and our oldest couldn't stop scratching. Last place I saw my makeup bag was in the car on our way to church. And, I had narrowed down our son's constant scratching to our laundry detergent. I thought I would DIY-it, but really, was I going to make my own laundry detergent? NO.
A few days later, a fellow mama friend visited and helped me read our children's sunscreen label. Well, that was an eye opener because I thought we were using the good stuff. Then, another few days later, a friend invited me to an event where I learned more about these products and the toxic issue.
I figured someone was trying to tell me something, and, honestly I felt like His timing was pretty bad. We had our house on the market and my father just had surgery to remove part of one lung due to lung cancer. But, let's face it, if we all waited around for the perfect time to start something new, we'd miss out on a lot! Yes, there was a lot going on but I had a need, a few actually, relief for my son, clean makeup, and a chance to earn some money to help fund my creative work. So, I said yes to starting my own business.
I never thought I would be a work-at-home mom. I never thought I would work in direct sales. I never thought I'd grow as much as I have building a business from my home. And, I get to use all my talents and strengths - together. I'm not compartmentalizing my life as before. I can create my own schedule to make room for my creative passions, which I can also use in my job. I can write, create a video, plan a special event, and make a difference helping other families like mine.
I did not choose the easy path, but I feel so fortunate to do what I do. There will always be someone out there giving my industry a bad name, just as there will always be someone out there using this industry to build their best life. I've learned to tune out the doubters and build my best life.
What would working from home mean to you?
I know, I know, it's THE topic at the beginning of a new year. As it should be! I don't know why it's so hard for us women to accomplish what should be a simple task. How can we expect to give our best to our family and work if we can't even give the best to ourselves? You know what they say, you can't pour from an empty cup.
I think sometimes self-care gets a bad rap. As if you need to spend a full day at the spa to really soak it all in. While that is rejuvenating and fabulous, that's not reality for everyone.
I was surprised to hear at a recent event that most of the guests didn't even take time to wash their face daily. But, when I thought about it, actually it wasn't so surprising. It's surprising to me now because I offer non toxic skincare and taking care of my skin is actually one of the feel good things in my day, but there was a time in my life when I was knee deep in others' needs, my little ones. There were truly days when I felt I was lucky to take a shower.
But should we be lucky to take a shower? I mean can we not find 15 minutes? We shouldn't be too exhausted or busy for basic hygiene.
So what about building a life we don't constantly need a break from? If you can't find a little bit of time to sit in silence, read a book, or take a shower, then you need to sit down with a pen and paper and prioritize your life.
I recently discovered a way to create more time in my day. Yes, that's right, it can be done! It's called batch working. If you want to know more about it, you need to listen to Jenna Kutcher's Goal Digger podcast on this topic. Since I work from home, I am my own boss, motivational speaker, life coach, you get the idea... So it's important that I do have a routine in place.
I mean when I think about all the time I've wasted thinking about doing something or complaining about doing something instead of simply doing that something! Guess what? Taking action gets results. Now that I have this agenda for myself, I have discovered more time.
Batch working has helped me organize my week. It is NOT multi-tasking. I have a specific activity for each day of the week. When I wake up, I know what I'm going to do for the day and I stick to it. Yes, the unexpected comes up now and then, but at least I know to pick up where I left off.
Last week, when I completed my tasks before I had to pick up my son from morning pre-k, I realized I did have an extra 30 minutes. First thought was to empty the dishwasher but then I remembered, "no, that's my eight-year-old son's job". (That's another thing ladies, delegate!) So, with the washing machine already running and the beds already made, I gave myself permission to s l o w down. Let's face it ladies, even Jesus created alone time too! (Mark 1:35)
Let's assume you have your day figured out and now you've discovered extra time. What will you do with this precious resource?
Is there something you want to do and you need to put a plan in place to make it happen? Is there somewhere you want to go and now you can plan the itinerary or how you are going to save for it? Or is it just a good time to sit and sip tea in the sun? (Yup, I love that.)
Still not sure where to begin? Try some of these...
1. Pray, meditate or journal
2. Meal prep healthy options that will fuel you. I like following this feed (see what I did there)
3. Read a book, whether for personal development or fun. Here is one on my list.
4. Get your finances in order.
5. Pamper yourself at home and save time & money. Try using this sugar body scrub with this fun skincare tool.
6. Declutter, then donate or sell your stuff
7. Say "no". For real. You don't have to go everywhere and do all the things.
Self-care is not a dirty word. It's something you need to schedule into your day. Remember what they tell you on an airplane, put your oxygen mask on first, then help the person next to you.
Have you heard this stat before?
I know what you’re thinking, here it is, the schtick, the pitch, the…
Are there people out there giving my industry a bad name? You bet! And, guess what? I was one of them when I started! But you fail, learn, grow and move on.
So, now that’s out of the way, seriously, have you ever thought about this for a sec? What would your life be like with an additional $500 a month?
Now, think about what would be possible earning $12,000 a month…
I didn’t even entertain these thoughts when I started my own business. At the time, I was just thinking I loved the products and making a little extra on a flexible schedule. Even my passion for the mission came later. So, I am not going to tell you these income goals are even thought of or reached overnight. Anyone telling you this isn’t being straight with you. You have to dig deep and adjust your mindset and, yes, you do have to work for it.
Nothing is free. Nothing worth while is easy. Nothing feels better than pushing yourself and earning what you deserve for your hard work.
I used to get nervous talking about money. Thinking it made me sound greedy. But my faith tells me money is a means to serve others. When I think of what setting income goals means, it does not equate greed for me.
It means not crunching the numbers every paycheck to see how much will go to which bill.
It means offering some relief to my hard working husband and giving my family opportunities to live life to the fullest.
It means contributing more of my income to causes and charities I believe in, including my own faith-based theatre work.
Have you set an income goal for yourself? What does earning more mean for you? Your family? Your community?
What if building your own business on your own schedule means extra money to get by?
What if it means building a lifestyle in which you don’t have to think twice before swiping your debit card at the grocery store?
What it if means you build a legacy for your children…?
I know there is more to life than just paying the bills. And, I want more than this for you too. Money means opportunities and choices, and we could all use more of those. Please don’t be afraid of money! So, get real in the new year. Set measurable goals and celebrate every little victory.
I wish you the best of success in 2019!
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