I’m that person you love to hate; the one who can roll out of bed on the first alarm and be ready to seize the day. My wake up time? 4:30 AM.
I’ve been asked a few times, “when does one need to go to bed to wake up at 4:30?” Between 8:30 – 9:30 PM.
While 4:30 AM certainly is early, I’ve acclimated myself to this wake up time for roughly eight years now. Before kids, that’s when I’d wake up to hit the gym before work. When the twins were born, a 4:30 AM alarm allowed myself enough time to get ready for work and breastfeed and/or pump. Even during COVID when I started working from home, not knowing if and when we’d return to the office, I continued to wake up early to maintain my routine.
Now that I permanently work from home, I have the luxury of sleeping in until the last minute if desired; however, I notice a significant difference when I can’t or don’t do my morning rituals. I love my morning routine because…
- it makes me feel accomplished;
- it makes me feel productive;
- I get my workout done and out of the way for the day without sacrificing time with my family;
- it helps me better manage stress
My morning routine
4:30 AM – Wake up and workout
Since starting my new job one year ago, I had to train myself to transition from evening workouts back to first-thing-in-the-morning workouts. My last job I worked 7-4, would make dinner, workout, and still have time to spend with the kids before bed. My new job’s hours are 8:30-5:30, which took a bit to adjust to. My home office doubles as my home gym though, and the last thing I wanted to do was lock myself away from my kids in the same room I spend so much time in to begin with. Working from home is awesome, but I’ve learned you also need to set boundaries.
So 5 AM workouts it is! It helps that my husband also sets his alarm for 4:30, but chooses to snooze for an entire hour before actually getting up. So unless I want to suffer through his multiple alarms for 60 minutes, I hop my butt out of bed, change into workout clothes, and head to my office / gym.
I typically follow a workout plan (currently following Breanne Freeman’s BFit), so I know what workout to expect. My workouts range anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
5:30 AM – Get ready and/or computer work
After my workout I’ll make myself a cup of coffee. If I have on-camera meetings or somewhere to be that day, I’ll do my hair and makeup while enjoying my coffee and listening to a podcast. Otherwise I’ll head back to my office and check emails, do bills, and/or work on programming until the kids wake up.
Even if I have no reason to get ready, being able to listen to a podcast while going through the motions brings me joy. I no longer have an hour commute to listen to my podcasts or audio books, so during glam or while cleaning is my only time to catch up these days.
7:00 AM – Morning chores
Once the kids wake up, we attend to all the animals (dogs, chickens, fish), and get started on our day. I don’t start work until 8:30 AM, so I have plenty of time to make beds, do laundry, unload the dishwasher, and cook a hot breakfast. Knocking these chores out before work eliminates them as distractions during the day, allowing me to be more productive at work.
Tips on establishing a morning routine
1. Determine what’s important
Why do you want to wake up early? I think as a parent especially, just like your children need quiet time, it’s nice to have your own quiet time. I wake up early to get my workout in and set myself up for a successful day. On the mornings I snooze and say, “I’ll workout later,” work tends to get hectic, and guess what? My workout doesn’t happen. I then stress thinking about when I can workout since I failed to do it first thing in the morning. Snoozing can have a real a domino effect on my day.
2. Baby steps
Acclimate yourself to waking up earlier by setting your alarm 15 minutes before your usual time. Slowly increase this as it becomes a habit. Remember though, you’ll need to go to bed earlier to compensate. I recommend buying a blackout sleeping mask to help with earlier bed times (I have this one).
3. Stay consistent even on the weekends
Although you might not be obligated to wake up at a certain time, set your alarm for 8 hours after you go to bed and wake up just because. We only need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sometimes when you sleep too long ironically you end up feeling more tired.
Ultimately establishing a morning routine is a combination of consistency and habit stacking. Different chapters of life will also throw you for a loop. For example, I’m publishing this post the summer before my twins start kindergarten. Soon I’ll have less freedom to sleep in as I’ll have to adjust my routine to incorporate waking them up in time to get dressed, do their hair, brush teeth, eat breakfast, and see them on the bus.
Just like anything in life, give yourself grace. Work towards consistency, not perfection.
I’d love to hear your morning routine in the comments. 👇