What’s Your Morning Plan?
We’ve talked before about the importance of routine when it comes to a productive week: that day-after-day, no-surprises, ideal slog that helps us get stuff done.
[See Mapping Your Ideal Week]
But I get it: there is no such thing as a routine week. Interruptions happen. Emergencies arise. New projects take precedence. But if there’s a secret weapon in clawing our way towards a routine and getting stuff done in spite of surprises, it’s the morning plan.
The morning plan is simply (wait for it…this is a huge plot twist) how you set up your morning, from the time your alarm goes off until the time you break for lunch. In my ideal world, mornings are reserved for heads-down alone time, “Big Rocks” work, and creative thinking. I try to avoid meetings before lunch if I can (and for the record, at the time of writing this week boasts a whopping three days’ worth of before-lunch meetings…ouch).
But if half of morning plan consists of morning, the other half consists of a plan. (I told you this was a plot twist.)
Just to give you an example (that you certainly don’t have to follow), here’s what my morning plan consists of. Your mileage may vary:
- 5:00: wake up (early and on time) and get ready. This is super-important. I do my best to be a consistent member of the 5 a.m. Club. This is a key weapon in the battle, because if I’m up well before the rest of my house, there are fewer distractions.
- 5:30: quiet time. Bible reading, prayer, and sometimes other devotional reading.
- 6:15: quick web check in. I’m one of those who has to glance at the news and scan a few daily sites before the day gets going. (Admittedly, this can be an Achilles heel if something catches my attention and gets me off track.)
- 6:30: writing. I try to spend an hour cranking out a blog post or other writing project.
- 7:30: school help / coffee refill / breakfast break. By this point, my daughter is up and eating breakfast. I’ll usually take 15-30 minutes to check in with her, make sure she’s logged in to school (this post was written in the middle of the pandemic), straighten the kitchen and living room, top off my coffee cup, and maybe grab some breakfast.
- 8:00: email. I get it. Many productivity experts will tell you not to check email in the morning because it disrupts creativity. But I find I’m way less distracted if I go ahead and knock it out. Plus, if I’ve gotten to inbox zero the day before, there’s usually very little to deal with.
- ~8:15 or 8:30: small administrative tasks. Double checking the calendar and the to-do list, and making sure all my priorities are prioritized. (I tend to have an every-Monday list, an every-Tuesday list, etc.)
- ~8:45 or 9:00: big rocks. This is anywhere from a two to three hour block of time where I’m focusing on one or two big things: an upcoming project(s) or event(s) that must be planned for. And that’ll take me right up to noon.
Part of a successful morning plan starts with a night-before plan: setting the coffeemaker, reviewing your schedule, figuring out your pandemic sweatpants situation, etc. And by all means: go the heck to sleep. I’ve had many a morning plan derailed because just. one. more. episode of Earth to Ned (don’t hate) kept me awake, which kept me asleep, which blew everything apart.
Do you have a morning plan? If not, there’s no better time to sketch one out than right now. I’ve created a free pdf download that you can print and doodle on to your heart’s content.