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An End to Morning Mayhem

Do you find yourself stressed out when that “magic time” appears that you have to leave the house? How does all that time melt away when you got up so early? Can’t this be easier?

This is a story about one of my clients who is self-employed. Being self-employed, he more often than not has a varying schedule. It’s one of the aspects he loves about his “job”: not being tied to the “8 to 5” routine.

At 6:45 am, he was happily watching YouTube with his children. There was a full 45 minutes before he had to leave with his little one; plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, and get out the door. As the clock struck 7:30, he found himself running around trying to find certain tools he needed for this particular client. He hadn’t needed these types of tools in a while and therefore was not “in the groove” and could not locate them right away. In addition, his preschooler had some last minute needs he had not anticipated: shoe issues, bathroom issues, etc.

“…Why is this so difficult?” he was muttering as he frantically raced around at 7:40 am.

Does this sound familiar? Why do those little people need us at the last second? Why do those tools, directions, lunches, etc., hide themselves JUST AS YOU ARE RUSHING OUT THE DOOR?

The answer, our rational mind knows, is that they don’t. It’s our own lack of pre-planning and leaving more white space in our schedule that causes such angst. Our rational mind knows that; we are intelligent beings? Then why, oh why, do we repeat the scenario above again and again? Why don’t we learn?

  1. Lack of focus on these issues. Once the fire dies down, and we are off and running with our day, week, month,…we simply forget about this little hiccup in our day – as long as it’s not a big hiccup.
  2. Habit. If we are in the habit of waiting until 7:30 to leave at 7:30….it’s likely we are truly leaving at 7:35, or worse, at 7:45. It’s not our preschooler’s fault that daddy did not pack the truck the night before. It’s our own. It’s not the hand of fate that we ran into traffic when we did not allow extra time during rush hour.

How then, do we shift this stressful morning into a calm, peaceful one?

  1. Night before planning: On the night before you have to leave early, think about all materials needed for the next day. Write them down.
  2. Pack ahead of time: Pack any supplies needed in your vehicle the night before. If you need lunch the next day, this should be included in your packing.
  3. Create a launch pad. Near your door, create an area for each person in your home that is their own “grab and go” area. This will minimize forgotten items.
  4. Add a buffer. If you want to truly leave the driveway at 7:30, plan to leave at 7:15. You will be shocked as to how quickly those 15 minutes will melt away. In the worst case, you will arrive a few minutes early, and the people you are meeting will be very impressed at your punctuality.

Utilizing the 4 simple steps above will put you back in control of your mornings. Rather than frantically rushing around in the morning, you can calmly and peacefully start your day and your week, enjoying your children. Please remember though, that it will take weeks or months for the new habits to become a routine. Don’t worry when you falter; it’s normal. Before you know it, you’ll be routinely on time, with all your parts and pieces and smiling all the way.

What a blessing for both you and your family! With the fresh spring air, turn over a fresh leaf of becoming more on-time and in control: one habit at a time.

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