Friday, September 23, 2016

Rise and Shine, Author!

In the continued conversation regarding my recent life changes, I wanted to dive a little deeper into my new found morning routine.

So, let's flash back a few months. I was a hard-core night owl. I'm talking up until 3 or 4am, night owl. And not the "I'm awake but I don't want to be kind". I came alive at 10pm and then sprang into action. Of course, authors are still human so a regular sacrifice to the sandman was required. I was not the kind of person who could get by on a handful of sleep, so I regularly snoozed until 9 or 10am.

The schedule worked (or so I thought). I homeschooled at the time so we didn't have to be up at any particular time and since my kids were ALWAYS home, night was the only time I was able to be at my computer uninterrupted for more than ten minutes at a time.

But there was a downside. Or several really. When I did have to be up early for an appointment or activity, I was dragging serious tushy. My coffee intake was through the roof. And I almost never got time to just sit and talk to my husband. We were making it work, but it wasn't ideal.

When my kids decided they wanted to try traditional school this year, I was hesitant, but...

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!!! THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!

I now get up like a normal person at 6:30 in the morning. To be clear this is before the sun is up. This is only slightly later than I was previously going to bed.

By getting up this early I have time to wake up and start my day before I have to jump right into it. Plus, now that I'm not up until the crack of dawn I get to have real, actual conversations with my husband.

Now, in order for this new schedule to work, a few things had to happen.

1. I had to give up homeschooling
This was a toughy for me because I loved teaching my girls and having them home with me. And I'll admit to spending that first week of school wondering if I was doing the right thing. The good news is my girls are loving their new environment and I'm learning that I don't have to do all the things. I know this sounds simple, but I have a really hard time not doing everything. I've somehow convinced myself the world would be a better place if I had my fingers in all the things. This is obviously not true and I'm getting there, slowly

2. I had to retrain my body
The reality is, I'm still a night owl. My brain still works better at night, but that isn't good for me and my body. I've had to retrain my mind to be productive and inspired during the day. Having an accountability partner for this was key. Knowing there was someone else waiting on me to post my word counts for the day helped me to stay on task and keep working, even when my muse didn't show up. A month on and I am finding my daytime productive groove

3. I had to make a schedule
Those first few days my kids were in school was like being on vacation. I immediately thought of all the things I would do in my massive amount of free time. HAHAHAHAHA! No, that's not how it works. So, to keep me from going down a rabbit hole of toy organization or errand running, I created a schedule. I've got it posted here so you can see what I do, but keep in mind that this is just what works for me. It's not the end all be all of schedules

6:30 Wake up and get kids dressed and ready for school
7:20 Walk kids to school
7:45 Morning walk
8:45 Clean up and get dressed
9:00 Breakfast
9:30 Check email, social media and take care of any outstanding tasks
10:30 Butt in chair writing time*
2:45 Pick up kids from school
3:00 Homework
5:00 Dinner
6:00 Evening activities (soccer, church, etc.)
8:00 Kids in bed
10:00 My bedtime

So, you'll notice on here that once my kids get home from school I am done working. There have been a handful of times when there was something time sensitive I needed to handle after that time, but for the most part I leave my work at my desk and it's all family once they are home.

Also, the little asterisk on my writing time. This is because I also use this time for errands and marketing BUT only once I have my writing goal done for the day. Sometimes that goal is a word count. Sometimes it's a scene I need done. Whatever it is, I don't leave the chair until it's done.

I'm never going to be the gal who jumps out of bed in the morning singing to the blue birds. But I have found that a morning routing helps me to be more productive and get to spend more time with my family.

If a night owl routine works for you then that's great and you should stick with it. But if you aren't as productive as you should be during the hours of darkness, consider switching to a day schedule. It's honestly not too shabby.