Friday, June 28, 2013

ideal day progress.

Okay, y'all.  Let's talk ideal day.

I wrote a little about my ideal day back in March after I attended the Making Things Happen intensive.  The concept of the ideal day has been one of the biggest take-aways for me.  Once I actually spent time thinking about and working towards my ideal day, I became fiercely passionate about it and protective over it.  So, let's talk a little about what mine looks like and how you can start figuring yours out too.

Before I even begin to talk about mine, I want to make sure you understand that everyone's ideal day is going to be totally different.  There may be aspects of other people's that you imitate but it is okay for yours to be completely different.  It should be what works for you.  Not what looks good.  Or what someone else's looks like.  I had to decide that from the beginning.  To do what was going to work for me.  Even if it didn't look as glamorous or "ideal" as someone else's.  

The second thing that I've learned is that it's totally a work in progress.  Your ideal day will change depending on the season of life you're in.  And, a major part of that for me stems from the fact that I've got young kiddos.  I learned very quickly that when you finally figure out what schedule works for your babies, you have about a week (or less) before that schedule no longer works.  So you adjust and spend some trial-and-error days before you finally figure out what works.  You enjoy that for a few days or weeks and then you start over again.  It's an endless cycle.  I know this will get better as my kids get older but for now, our "normal" changes so often that my ideal day will continue to change and adapt to what my responsibilities and requirements are as Mom.  I've had to remind myself of this often in order to not become frustrated with myself on the days where my ideal day isn't so...ideal.

All that to say, I really haven't even figured out my ideal day completely.  I've figured out my ideal morning.  And part of my ideal night.  But during the day, I'm still in the trial-and-error phase.  So, it's funny that I'm even coming here to share this with you now, since I haven't gotten it figured out.  But, even having a few ideal hours per day makes SUCH A DIFFERENCE.  So, I want to encourage you to start figuring it out.  Even if you only figure out a part of your ideal day.  Write it down.  Try it for a few days.  Work out the kinks.  Then move on to working on a few more hours of your ideal day.  I'm telling you, once you start reaping the benefits of the few ideal hours you DO make, you'll become addicted.  You'll want to live your whole day like this.  Not just parts of it.  I'm there now.  Protective of what I've figured out so far and anxious to figure out the next part.  And so, I'm writing this post now to encourage you to start somewhere and because a few people have said, "Okay, so I liked reading about how important your ideal day is but what does it actually look like?".  I had that same question until I heard what other people do during MTH.

Here's my ideal morning:

6:40 a.m. --  Wake up. 

To my alarm going off in my bathroom.  This is important.  I moved my phone from my bedroom.  I don't fall asleep looking at it.  And I am forced to get out of the bed when it goes off.  No snoozing for me.

I would love to move this to 6:00 or 6:15.  But, I had to start somewhere.  In fact, I think I started at 7 a.m. and I've moved it back over time.  I am more productive in the mornings so I need to get up early rather than stay up late.  And, when I use the boys as my alarm clock, I am not excited to start my day.  I always wish they would sleep a little longer so I could sleep a little longer.  Instead, I now get up and start my day.  Then, when they wake up, I am excited to hear their little laughs and them "talking" to each other.  I can go in and excitedly greet them for the day.

6:50 a.m. --  Workout.

This does not work for everyone.  And I didn't think it would work for me.  But, I've learned it's the easiest thing to skip on my to do list if I don't get it checked off before the boys wake up.  I've also realized this is what gives me enough energy for each day.  When I started working on my ideal day, I was doing my bible study first thing.  But, I couldn't focus.  And, I found that I can fit in my bible study during other times in the day.  Where it's not as easy to fit in my workout.  

I also figured out I need to get the best bang for my buck...time.  I was super excited about doing the Insanity workouts.  I have looked forward to getting the dvds for a long time.  Thankfully, a friend let me borrow a few of the workouts before I made the investment.  They are SO good.  But, they are typically about 45 minutes.  45 minutes used to be a short workout.  But, during this season of life, with all that I want to accomplish each day, that is not feasible.  I need to be able to work out hard for 25-30 minutes every morning and move on to the next thing.  So, I started doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred again.  I alternate that with running.  I am able to go out for a run in the mornings because Jordan doesn't have to leave for work until 7:40.  I used to going for a run with the boys and I loved it.  But, it's nice to leave the house without anyone.  Just go out and run all by myself.  It's also faster because I don't have to load up the babes and deal with the stroller.  Plus, it's not so hot at 6:50 in the morning!  So I do this a 1-2 days per week and I do a workout dvd the other 4-5 days.  I recently got the Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 workout video.  I will do a review of that dvd next week.  But it's also quick and hard.

I try to start my mornings this way 6 days per week but I am happy with at least 5 days.  Giving myself a day of rest and a "grace day" if I'm not able to do it an additional day that week.  We spend lots of weekends out of town and for some reason, I find it more difficult to get up and workout when we're out of town.  I'm trying to get better about that.

7:30 a.m. -- Bible Study/Bible Reading

Like I said earlier, initially I tried doing this first.  But, I learned that I am much more successful at this after I've been up for a little while.  During the school year I go to BSF on Thursday mornings so I have questions and a passage to read each day.  In April I started a plan to read through the Bible in a year.  I have started these plans multiple times but have yet to finish one.  I heard an incredible sermon during revival at my parent's church about discipline and I have spent a lot of time since thinking about discipline and the importance it has in all aspects of my life.  One of the things that stemmed from this sermon was my decision to read through the Bible in a year.  Each morning I read three chapters in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.  Some days this takes less time and some days it takes a little while longer.  But, typically it's 20-30 minutes.

8:00/8:30 a.m. -- Shower and get ready

This is the part where having kids forces my ideal day to be flexible.  If the boys are still asleep, which most days they are, I take a shower and get ready for the day.  This typically does not take long at all.  I've learned how to utilize the time they are asleep and quick showers are crucial.  I don't spend very much time getting ready each day because I can get so much done while they are asleep!

I shower quickly, throw on an outfit  [typically shorts and a tank top - it's my uniform all summer.  a plain target tank and a different color of j. crew shorts - always buy them on clearance!  they're inexpensive and they're a staple item - you'll wear them for years!  i threw in that little tip for free.  you're welcome :)].  I add some mascara and comb through my hair.  Then, I'm ready for the day.  No drying my hair or putting on lots of makeup.  By the end of the day I will be sweaty (we spend a ton of time outside), my hair will be in a ponytail and my clothes will be stained with a little snot or milk or bananas or even poop on the bad days.  It is what it is.  I don't feel like I'm using my time wisely when I spend tons of time getting ready.  But, when I know we will be going somewhere that I need to be a little more dressy, I will wear something different and put on a little extra makeup.  But, I've learned to do it all really fast.

If the boys are awake and not content to play in their cribs for an additional 5 minutes while I shower, I will forgo the shower.  It will happen later in the day.  During their nap, when Jordan gets home, or after they're in bed.  Not a huge deal.  I didn't mind showering while they were awake when they were tiny and sat in a bouncy seat or laid on a play mat.  But now, they are either throwing the video monitor and sippy cups in the toilet (ahem...thank you, Crews) or trying to pull the shower curtain open and push all the shampoo and body wash bottles in the tub, getting themselves and the bathroom floor soaked all at the same time.  It's just not worth it.  I'll be dirty for a few extra hours.

8:30/9:00 a.m --  Breakfast and unload the dishwasher

This is where my ideal day gets a little hazy.  Once the boys get up, we play for a few minutes.  I make a point to sit down in the playroom floor and let the boys wake up slowly.  They bring me books to read and lavish me with slobbery kisses.  It's a favorite part of my day.  I'm always sad when we're in a rush in the mornings.  I LOVE slow mornings with them.  And, I'm bad to miss out on those opportunities if I don't make a point to just sit and let them run around in the playroom. Being down on their level.  They love it and I love it.

Then, we eat breakfast.  While the boys eat, I fix my coffee.  I don't want coffee when I finish working out because I'm hot but after my shower I've cooled down enough to be ready for a hot cup of coffee!  So, I fix my coffee and breakfast and typically I unload the dishwasher while they eat.  It's so much easier to unload it while they are stuck in their highchairs.  They like to "help" me unload the dishwasher but really it takes ten times longer and I say no to them five thousand times because they try to grab knives and pull the racks completely out of the dishwasher.  It's chaos.   But, I realized that if my dishwasher gets unloaded in the morning, my kitchen stays much cleaner throughout the day.  It's easy to throw our dishes in there after breakfast and lunch and it's nice to start supper when the sink is cleaned out and I know I can throw the dishes into the dishwasher as I cook.  If not, they just pile up throughout the day and it's such a chore to clean the kitchen at the end of the day.  I've learned that the state of my kitchen sets the tone for the rest of the house.  When it's clean, I'm able and willing to keep the rest of the house clean.  When it gets too dirty, it's over.  Nothing else stays clean either.


After this, my days are all different.  When I first came home from MTH the boys were still taking 2 - two hour naps per day.  So I had four hours a day to work on things.  Then, we dropped their morning nap.  I held tight to their morning nap as long as I could because I had FOUR HOURS to be productive every day.  When we dropped their first nap, their second nap shortened to an hour and a half.  It made it super difficult!  To go from four hours to work on photography and Moxie Made and house stuff to only an hour and a half...major difference!  But, slowly they built back up to 2  hour nap.  Even 2.5 hours some days!  I'm hoping that we make it to a solid 2.5-3 hour nap each day!  A girl can hope, right?

Because I keep getting stuck in figuring out the middle of my day, I decided to start working backwards.  I am now focusing on getting my ideal night worked out.  Then, I'm going to work on the middle.

And really, there are only a few things I've figured out for night time.

First, that preparation is key.  It has become so apparent that when I go to bed with my house in order, I wake up with my mind in order.  Sounds crazy, right?  But when the laundry is put away and the dishwasher is running and the playroom has been picked up, I am able to wake up and enjoy the morning.  I don't start out feeling behind.  I know the boys will have the playroom destroyed again as soon as they wake up.  I'll probably find my strainer in the bathtub and my shoes in with the baking sheets.  But, for the couple of hours I'm awake after they're in bed and the couple of hours I'm awake before they wake up, I can enjoy it.  So, it's worth it!

Speaking of preparation, supper time is also a night time activity I've had to work on.  It is so important to me to cook for my family.  Ideally I would cook every night and maybe go out one weekend night only.  This is hard for me.  Partly because I'm not a super great cook and don't really, really enjoy it.  But also because I don't prepare.  It is so much easier when I am prepared.  So, I've started making it a priority to plan a menu and shop from that (which is not my normal...).  Instead of just trying to pull a meal together last minute I know that morning what I am going to cook and I can spend a few minutes during nap time prepping for supper so it's not as easy to skip out on cooking and suggest Chickfila for the third night in a week.  So, part of my ideal plan is to cook for my family each night.  But, I'm still working out the kinks and getting more disciplined in this area.

Lastly, I LOVE SLEEP.  I don't function well without sleep.  I've always been much more productive in the morning. So, if I'm going to get up early, I have to go to bed early.  If I stay up late, I end up just sitting on the couch - watching television, reading blogs and eating a bowl of apple jacks.  I'm not kidding.  Then, I don't want to get up in the mornings.  So, I've set my bedtime for 10 p.m.  Ideally, I will get ready for bed at 9:30 and spend a few minutes reading before I go to sleep.  I started out very strict about this and I've slowly become more relaxed about it.  And I've noticed a difference.  It's much harder to get up in the mornings and be excited to work out.  I have to talk myself into it.  So, I've got to get serious about this again.  There will be nights when I go to coffee with a girlfriend or spend the night at my parent's house (where everyone is a night owl and stays up playing games).  But, I need to adjust for that.  Going to bed early (like 9 pm) the next night to make up for it.  If not, it catches up with me.  Then I'm frustrated.  Because I'm tired and unproductive and more easily aggravated.  It's not a good combo.

Okay, so that's all I've got so far.  I know that was super long.  But, I'm also super passionate about this.  The concept of an ideal day has rocked my world.  I know it could change yours drastically.

One of the things Lara suggested when she was talking about the ideal day was closing your eyes and thinking about living the first five minutes of your ideal day.  Think about how it makes you feel.  Then, think about living the first hour of your ideal day.  Then the whole day.  Then, think about living a week of ideal days.  Then think about that becoming your normal.  Your every day.

You will be breathing deeper and sitting with a smile on your face before you even finish thinking about living the first five minutes.  By the end of thinking through all of that, YOU WILL BE FIRED UP.

So, what is stopping you?

Start with five minutes!  Knowing that you'll breathe deeper.  And that you'll have a smile on your face.  And then, build from there.  It is so worth it, y'all.


  1. Love this encouraging for so many! and the boys...well, they are kinda cute too! :)