Minimalist Believer

A blog about minimalism and the Christian life

Month: February, 2014

Simplifying Your Morning Routine

I really hate mornings. I am a natural night owl and getting up before 9:00 am is a painful experience.  Surely hell is a place where it is always morning.

However, we live in a culture where a lot happens in the morning, with many starting their business day at 9:00 am, if not earlier. What is a night owl to do?

Since I have to function in the morning, I want my morning routine is be as simple as possible so that I can get through it quickly:

Here are some ways that I simplify my morning routine.

Proper nighttime preparation. This one is huge. A morning that goes well is  dependent on proper preparation the night before. Do as much as possible before the morning even begins. Pick out clothes the night before. Make sure you have what you need. Morning is not the time to discover that you have no clean underwear. Check these things at night and plan accordingly. Take your shower at night so that there will be one less thing to do in the morning.

This also includes packing your bag or backpack, or your kids’ backpacks. Have all the books and papers you will need packed away and have that bag waiting for you in the morning.

Get to bed on time. Most people don’t factor this into their morning. However, if you don’t get to bed on time you are more likely to oversleep which will wreak havoc on your morning routine. Everything will be rushed, and most likely, less efficient.

Leave the TV off. When I was growing up my mother would allow me to watch TV in the morning. If I was taking too long though, she would turn it off. I couldn’t focus on the task at hand with the TV on.

Though I have grown up nothing has changed. I cannot be effective with the TV on. The TV is very distracting. It compels you to watch it. Often you get so caught up in a program or the news that you sit and watch even when you need to be doing other things. Be proactive. Unless there is inclement weather and you need weather and traffic updates, don’t touch the TV.

Keep everything in one place. This one is key. You shouldn’t spend your morning searching for your face lotion. I have a train case that I keep all my toiletries in. That’s where I go for my facial cleanser, lotion, floss, etc. Keeping everything together minimizes sleepy searching.

Automate breakfast. I try to fix breakfast before bed too. The Yummy Life  has some great recipes for overnight refrigerator oatmeal. If this doesn’t interest you then have something ready on hand that you can make quickly. I like grits and often have them in the morning. Fruit is also a good option.

Plan lunch. Where I work taking lunch is really the only option. Having to fix lunch adds stress to my morning. I try to think about lunch at the previous evening’s dinner and pack some away if necessary. It is great to have some cans of soup on hand to take to work. Bonus points for healthy soup choices!

Simple beauty regimen. Makeup is great for going out on Friday night, but it is out of the question most mornings. I opt for simple hairstyles that won’t take much time. Usually, I only apply lipstick in the morning. If I have extra time I will apply eyeliner and mascara only. This is the extent of my beauty regimen. On weekends I usually have time to do full makeup if I want to look extra cute. I don’t dedicate too much time to makeup.

If you choose to include makeup in your morning routine, be prepared. Have all of your makeup and brushes together. Create a simple look that can be done in only five minutes. Get some key colors that work well together and create a look that can be worn with just about anything. Also, have a default look that you can always rely on just in case you get up late and don’t have time to be creative.

With proper preparation, mornings can be smoothed out. Keeping it simple in the morning decreases my stress level and sets a good tone for the rest of my day. How do you keep it simple in the morning?

Who Do You Want to Become in 2014? (How to do a Life Plan)

This post is a bit of a departure from my normal topics. I decided to write on it because the timing is perfect. We are a month into 2014 and it is a great time to evaluate how we are doing on our goals and visions for the year.

I love Anthony Robbins. Love Anthony Robbins. I feel like he has good insights and he is very motivational. I spoke with an Anthony Robbins life coach at the end of December and he really changed my thinking about how to go about creating the life you want.

I shared my goals with the coach and the first thing that he instructed me to do is focus on what I know. Focusing on what you don’t know is not helpful. If you look at successful people you find that they took action based on what they knew.

The coach urged me to think about the following:

VISION – What do I truly want?

Don’t just give a mechanical answer (write a book, lost 30lbs) for this question. No. Dig deeper. What will these mechanical things give you? Take some time and meditate on this. Think about what you really want in life.

PURPOSE – Why do I want this?

Once you know what you want, you need to know why. If you don’t know, you won’t follow through. There must be a BIG why. This is called leverage. Why do I value this? What will my life look like when I have this?

ACTIONS

What are the actions I need to take to make this happen? Determine 2-3 action steps. Any more will overwhelm you. Make your actions steps reasonable.

GOALS

In order to be successful, you need a mile marker. You need to know in 30 or 90 days that you are on track. These are your goals. Is your goal to pare your wardrobe down to 50 items in 30 days, complete a manuscript in 3 months, or lose 30 lbs in the next 6 months? Your progress lets you know whether your actions have been effective.

Most focus on the bottom two: actions and goals. That makes a glorified To Do list. The majority of your efforts should go to Vision and Purpose.

The actions and goals change as you go along. Vision and purpose rarely change.

Putting the four areas together is the process of creating a life plan. This is something that you will use every day.

In order to make your dreams reality, you need to make a decision. You need to draw a line in the sand and say “I am going to do this – with everything I have.” If you’re not willing to do that, then you need to get a new vision.

So far, I haven’t had much success in 2014. I have been writing, but I haven’t been eating well or exercising (due to injury). I was thinking about this as I wandered around Target this weekend. I am not hitting my goals because I haven’t been taking action. I haven’t been taking action because I haven’t been using my life plan. That is the key: keeping the vision in front of you.

If you haven’t thought about your life and goals this way I urge you to try it. Take some time and really create a life plan that reflects what you want.

Tell me about some elements of your life plan in the comments.