Yes, reader, I'm a self-confessed and perpetual time waster. Trust me, I've tried setting early alarms, made countless "To Do" lists, and have even read numerous time management publications in my effort to improve in this area. Please tell me I'm not the only one that sets the alarm for 5am with all good intentions, only to hit snooze six times. I implore you to assure me that I'm not alone when I spend $150 on groceries, then end up bringing home a delicious $5.00 Hot-n-Ready pizza because I didn't plan a meal. There are numerous things that compete for our time each day and because we are limited to just 24 hours, there has to be some well-planned and intentional use of that resource. We can all be better stewards of the time we are allotted each day, so let's make 2015 the year it actually happens!
First, resolve to spend less time on social media, way less time. Because some use of social media is required for my work, I can't cut it out completely. However, it shouldn't be the first thing I check when I wake and the last thing I check before my head hits the pillow. Couldn't you swear that your thumb has become conditioned to automatically open Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest the moment your phone is in your hand.? Excessive use of my devices has robbed my family of my full attention and has been an enormous time waster for me. While these information vehicles can prove to be an excellent resource for getting information and encouraging one another, there must also be a balance. Try setting aside a few minutes once or twice a day to read your favorite sites, preferably before your children are up or after they've gone to bed. Be sure to set a time limit and then put it down!
Second, resolve to plan. This means that we iron clothes, load backpacks, prepare lunches, and check the calendar ALL before going to bed. Whether it's your phone, a chalkboard, or a dry erase calendar on the fridge, choose what works for you and use it. We've all done it. It's "Bring Something Purple" for show-n-tell and the bus arrives in 3 minutes. Suddenly NOTHING in the ENTIRE house is purple except for some shriveled blueberries in the back of the fridge and a broken Blue/Violet crayon. Plan for the next day before you hit the sack and enjoy a much smoother morning. When you're ready, take it a step further by planning simple suppers and grocery shopping from a list each week. Don't forget to check your menu the night before so that you don't get home at 5:30 only to realize that you should have thawed the chicken.
Finally, resolve to get up early. I know...I dread this one the MOST of all, too, but there really is no better time to get things done. Use those quiet hours to exercise, have your quiet time, and get yourself ready from head to toe before getting your kids out of bed. If you exercise after work, consider showering before bed to streamline your morning routine even further. I've read many tips and tricks on getting up early. Here are a few favorites:
1. Set your alarm far away from your bed so you have to get up to turn it off.
2. Sleep in your workout clothes.
3. Get an accountability partner and text each other a wake-up call.
Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit. If you aren't accustomed to rising early, expect it to take some time for your body to adjust to this new time of waking.
So, get up! Right now! Go lay out your clothes for tomorrow, load the backpacks and set your alarm clock on the bathroom sink. 2015 will be our most productive year yet!