I am not a morning person.
My natural circadian rhythm is one of a creative life.
I get a burst of energy late into the night, my best ideas in the quiet and darkness of 11:00pm. I’m not ready to face the day until at least 10:00am. Thirteen years ago I became a mom. Children do not respect your circadian rhythm. So, I’ve been working to develop a morning routine so I can function.
Finally, just in the past few years I’ve gotten my ADHD symptoms under control (late diagnosis anyone?) and crafted the perfect morning routine. Truly, it was a work of art that would make all of the productivity experts on Instagram proud.
On an ideal day, I would wake up before my child, a Middle Schooler who was glad to sleep in. We homeschooled, but she naturally woke up at 8:00am. At 7:00am, I’d jump in the shower and get dressed to shoes. I made coffee and sat in what I call “my super ultimate cozy spot” in the living room. The sun would rise in the windows behind me and illuminate the fireplace wall. I would sip coffee and write in my Morning Pages.
I heard Julia Cameron give a workshop at the Washington National Cathedral in 2001 and have kept Morning Pages since.
“The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called MorningJulia Cameron
She describes the practice this way: “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
For me, Morning Pages are non-negotiable. It’s a practice I’ve held for over 20 years.
During my morning time, I would plan out my week using the Passion Planner. This is the only planner I’ve been able to keep going for more than two years. I love how it allows you to time block plan and asks reflective questions about how you have spent your time and how you can plan better in the future. For example, I noticed that every spring I would not have the time to work in the garden before it got too hot. So, in 2022, I took Garden Spring Break. I planned ahead to work in the garden! I have been able to ease holiday stress and resist over scheduling my weeks. Then I sync my Passion Planner with my Google Calendar.
By 8:30am when my child emerged from the shower and came down for breakfast, I was ready to go.
My Top 3 Morning Tips Recap
1.) Shower and get dressed right away.
I got this idea from The Fly Lady’s blog ages ago when I was trying to get my house in order. The reason that this works for me is because it wakes me up and inevitably I’ll forget that I have to be somewhere, but at least I’m clean and dressed.
It seems pointless at first, but Morning Pages will clear your mind and help you uncover yourself. You’ll see re-emerging themes, your desires will arise, and you’ll be able to sort through your anger to find out what it’s really pointing to. It’s a mediation and a creative exercise rolled into one.
3.) Google Calendar & The Passion Planner
I used to write things that I needed to remember on my arm, on scraps of paper, on the wall next to my desk. I’ve tried notebooks and different planners (before I came across the Passion Planner, which is a fun story in its own right!). I was chronically late, always missing appointments, and I even got fired as a patient at a dental clinic. I displayed typical ADHD tendencies my whole life, but I just chocked it up to being artsy and flakey. Therapy, meds, and Google Calendar literally changed my life. I put everything in in my calendar. I schedule naps. I leave time for transitions, which I learned I needed from the Passion Planner. I plug in the addresses for appointments and when I click on the calendar entry, I can link it to Maps so I’m not lost. I may forget to send you a card, but I won’t forget your birthday! Not if it’s in my Google Calendar.
Fast Forward to Today
In September, my family decided that we would transition from homeschool to the public high school. The school starts at 7:30am (don’t get me started) and my daughter likes to be in the door by 7:15am. She started the school year walking to school with her dad and our dog, Tom Sawyer. This gave me a nice little window for My Perfect Morning Routine ™. Except then she developed an overuse sports injury and could no longer walk to school, doctor’s orders.
A New Routine
My Perfect Morning Routine ™ has been shattered. I would drive her to school, then sit on the couch and sip coffee while the hours went by. I’d schedule gym time to catapult myself out of the house. Nothing seemed to work. So, for the New Year, I decided to pack up for the day and get out of the house after I dropped her off at school. My truck looks like I’m going away for the weekend: my gym bag, my laptop bag, the Passion Planner, my Morning Pages notebook, my lunch, and my purse. Could I do Morning Pages at a café? What if I went to the gym earlier? What about breakfast?
The thing about a Perfect Morning Routine ™ is that it has to be flexible enough to change when life changes. And it’s hard. I am not a morning person, but here I am at 7:00am at a café.