6-Minute Miracle Morning Routine

I’ve been working on a new morning routine lately. 

I recently went to a Junior League training event on the “6-Minute Miracle Morning”. 

This was based on the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, who has a really, really inspiring story! 

The event was super helpful as far as just knowing WHAT to do in the mornings to set yourself up for success! And while brushing your teeth and getting dressed will certainly set you up for success, the 6-minute morning really focused on preparing your mind for the day ahead. 

Hal used the acronym Life “SAVERS” to help us remember the categories. 

Here is what they stand for:

Silence (meditation)- 5-10 minutes of silent meditation each morning. There are plenty of meditation apps out there, if you need help getting through it. However, thanks to the fact that we’ve pretty much all been to yoga at some point in our lives, this shouldn’t seem to crazy. Simply focus on breathing in and out for 5-10 minutes and deflect any distractions!

Affirmations– 10 minutes of repeating affirmations to yourself. The example that the presenter gave was Muhammad Ali. He is almost as famous for his affirmations as he is for his boxing. He told himself that he was the greatest every day… and he became the greatest!

Visualization– 10 minutes of visualizing yourself achieving your goals. I actually just used this to visualize myself having a productive and organized day… but it can also be used for long term goals, too! 

Exercise– 10-20 minutes of exercise. Tone It Up has a morning “Booty Call” on their website and app. These are quick morning workouts that really do boost your energy throughout the entire day!

Reading– 10 minutes of reading. Probably not a Gone Girl-esque novel, but something a little more uplifting, like a book on positivity or a daily devotional. 

Scribing (journaling)- 10 minutes of writing. 

In order to turn this into a 6-minute morning routine, simply shorten the time of each activity to 1 minute! 

I started this routine this morning and, since it was my first day, I spent 5 minutes each instead of 1 or 10. I wanted to make sure I felt like I accomplished a lot, but also got through everything in time to still look decent for work 🙂

Do you have a morning routine? Or have you ever tried the Morning Miracle? If so, tell me about it in the comment section! 

Dream On Wakeup Routine

I get asked pretty frequently about my different routines. So I thought I’d start sharing little rundowns of the different ones that I do throughout the days. Starting with (you guessed it) waking up! 
Oh, what’s that? You hate mornings?
Believe me, I know how tough they can be! But I’ve also learned that the way to deal with their tough-ness is with a good, old fashioned routine!

Don’t believe me? Just adapt this “Dream On” wakeup routine to fit your own schedule, try it for a few days, and see if it helps! 
From my experience, structure in the morning really has a positive impact on the rest of the day!
If I wake up late, wander around aimlessly for a couple of hours, blah, blah, blah… it’s hard for me to stay going or feel that productivity vibe later on in the day.

Have you had a similar experience?

So, here’s a quick run through of my morning routine! 
1 | Wake up with alarm: This is a big one! Waking up on time can make or break your productivity! When the alarm goes off, just jump up before you even have time to think about hitting snooze. I immediately start the coffee!

2 | Make coffee / Brush teeth / Wash face: These are super self-explanatory. On a good morning, I’ll do squats or leg lifts while I brush my teeth to make the time go by faster! On a rough morning, I’ll sit on the floor and try not to fall back asleep. 

3 | Drink coffee: Please. Just try to stop us.

4 | Read Jesus Calling: I have struggled and struggled to find a way to do a morning devotional. It can be tough to focus in the morning and that’s why this book is SO perfect! Each day is only 2 paragraphs and 2 verses… Yes, I CAN do that at 6 AM!

5 | Meditate: I either do 2, 5, or 10 minutes, depending on how much time I have. The Happify app is a great guide through the meditation process, if you’re just starting! Ashley Turner (my favorite!) also has one now, too! (Giam I think?)

6 | Happify Activity: So, that brings me to my next activity. The Happify app has tons of fast and free activities and they’re the perfect way to start out in a good mood! 1-2 minutes and you’re done!

7 | Read The Skimm & Eat Breakfast: The Skimm is just the best! Working with tiny children all day can make it difficult to keep up with news and current events. However, when they’re skimmed for me, wittily paraphrased, and sent straight to my inbox, I can catch up in the time it takes me to eat breakfast (which is always greek yogurt and honey, btw)!

So that’s how I start my mornings! You can screenshot and use this routine… adapt it into one of your own. Or just laugh at it.
How do you start your day? Is there anything you would like to add or improve about your own routine? What tricks do you use to get going in the morning? 

5 Ways to Start a New Routine Today!

I love routines. You know why? Because routines eventually turn into habits. And habits can make or break your productivity. Over the years, I have discovered that my morning habits typically indicate my day. 

If I wake up on time, ready to go, and hit the ground running (but not literally because running in the morning is my worst nightmare) then I already feel so accomplished by 9:00! 

If I wake up late, lounge around, waste hours a little time online, then I feel blah.

The other great thing about routines is this: They boost productivity

Oh, what’s that? You love productivity? Me, too!  

OR maybe you’re someone who’s having a hard time creating or sticking to a daily routine. I have the hardest time with this whenever something in my life changes (like a work schedule, class schedule, or moving to a new home). 

Start your new routine: Take the following 5 steps today!

Write down your daily routine and post it near your workspace

You didn’t think I’d post that without a new printable did you?! Please. Yesterday, I released two new routine planner printables in Organized Charm’s Etsy shop! One for daily routines and one for weekly routines. This should make it easier to keep you on track throughout your work day or to keep up with your class schedule in the coming up semester! You might even find that you have time to throw an extra yoga class into the mix! Namaste.

Write down your weekly routine to remind you of changes

Weekly routines are the ones that are most challenging for me. If I’m doing something daily, then great! I’m doing it daily! But once a week? That’s harder. What day does the trash run again? When do I need to leave for church to make sure I don’t miss more than half of it? Posting a weekly routine can really help you out with those annoying1-2 times a week tasks! And luckily, I know just where you can find one

Clear to Neutral every time you leave a space

How does this help you get into a routine? Because it is one! CTN basically just means leaving every space the way you found it (or the way you should have found it). Clean spaces boost productivity! Plus by doing this, you’re training your brain to get into several small routines throughout the day!

Create a Time Management System

I love this system and I’ll keep preaching on it until the day I die (or at least until the day I stop writing this blog). Your life is under YOUR control (mostly) so it’s your responsibility to make sure that you have time to do all of the things you said you would do. (and to do them well). So grab a stack of index cards or Post-It’s and start writing!

Sign up for The Skimm

I can’t even tell you how many times I get online so innocently in the morning just to “catch up on the news”. 4 hours and 500 Facebook posts later, I realize that (somewhere along the way) I must have gotten distracted. The Skimm solves that problem, it sends you a Skimm’dversion of the biggest worldwide stories (aka you’ll finish reading it before you finish your first cup of coffee). Witty summaries of current events in 5 minutes or less? #yesplease

The biggest thing to remember about starting any new routine is that it requires a certain amount of discipline: eating healthier means saying no to doughnuts at the office, earning better grades means saying no to late nights during the week, and saving money means saying no to Target’s dollar spot (queue: me bursting into tears).

We will all make it to the productivity mountaintop together! 

Baby steps, my dears! Baby steps. 🙂 

Do you have any advice for starting a new habit/routine? Do you prefer to add one tiny task at a time or to just jump right in with a whole new routine? And of course, tell me what’s worked for you in the past!

Guest Post: Jumpstart Your Day in 15 Minutes!

Mornings are tough. Can I get an Amen? But they’re also a completely undeniable part of adult life (and college life. Sorry.) so ANYTIME that I hear some good advice on how to get going in the mornings, I listen intently! Recently, Kiki (aka my mom) shared her routine.

( Learn more about her and her crazy ways here: 10 Things I Learned from My Mom )

As she rambled through this routine while we sipped mimosas on Beale before a Memphis Tiger game, I was so impressed with just how much of a habit this was for her. She didn’t once have to stop to think about what came next. 

This was so much a part of her daily life that she almost seemed bored as she explained it to me. So, now she’s here to share it with you! Take what you can from it, adapt it to work for you and your morning and start trying to build your own morning habit!  
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By Michelle, Pen & Hive

You know how your morning gets away from youand by the time you get to school or work or the kids wake up it’s just on for the rest of the day? Well, a few years ago I created a solution for that. It’s a 15 minute morning routine that helps me feel that no matter what else happens I’ve done some really good stuff for myself before I even sit down for coffee. 

The reason for this little routine is that just as bad things like smoking or drinking diet soda are bad for you over time (the key word is cumulative) good things in small doses over a long period are also going to pay off.

Here’s the 15 minute breakdown:

– I have dogs so the minute my feet hit the floor I go into the kitchen and feed them.

– While they eat I brush my teeth, wash my face, and moisturize. Use a moisturizer with a sunscreen. 30 years from now you’ll be so glad you did!

– Back to the kitchen to let them out, then I drink 16 oz.of filtered water and take my daily vitamins.

– I start the coffee maker (doing it before now or having it ready when I get up means I might skip the next step).

– While the coffee is brewing (notice I set myself up to be hanging around waiting for the coffee) I do a 7 minute yoga/stretch routine that I’ve developed over the years. The point of it is to stretch out all the big muscle groups and flood my body with oxygen which helps me wake up.

– While stretching and breathing I do not think about my day. I take deep breaths and think how grateful I am that I can move. 

– Now the coffee is done. I let the dogs in, pour my coffee and head to a cozy chair to work a quick crossword puzzle to wake up my brain and read something spiritual to get centered for the day. 

– I don’t finish the puzzle or the reading within the 15 minutes but the point is to get there. Once you are there with your coffee or tea and a few quiet minutes to yourself you can spend as much or as little time as you need. 

(You can also use this time to pray, meditate, say your affirmations or whatever makes you feel centered.)

By the time you finish your coffee or tea you are hydrated, oxygenated, energized, and ready to face your day! 

I do this every single day.  A couple of years ago I got a chance to test it during a difficult time. Because it was a habit I did this routine on autopilot once I got up. Some days hold exciting and fun things you look forward to. You’ll be in a better frame of mind to enjoy them if you jump-start your day. Make your routine a habit and all you have to do is put your feet on the floor. Then you find yourself doing the next thing and the next thing and so on.

You may not be able to face your whole day but you can face the first 15 minutes. It’s much easier if you have a plan in place. After this you are ready to go about your morning by having breakfast, checking your calendar, and getting ready. And just preparing to be fabulous and amazing for the rest of the day!

Do you have a morning routine? Have you developed a way to feel focused (instead of flustered) in the mornings? If you’re having trouble getting started in the mornings, do you think that any of these tips could help YOU?

Daily To-Do Pages

I was recently asked about how I organize my daily to-do pages. This was a great question because I have probably been trying for years to figure out an effective way to organize an efficient day! Last semester, I finally came up with a system that totally and completely works for me! Maybe it will work for you, too! I use a daily to-do page! Remember in a post a few weeks ago when I said that we should only be doing about 5 big things with our lives?

The very first one I ever made for myself!

Well, this to-do page works perfectly for that because it has 5 “categories” out to the side for jotting down quick task lists or recording notes. Last semester, I used my categories like this: work, school, blog, workouts, cleaning. Sometimes I switched out cleaning for errands or social for workouts. (Different seasons of life call for different categories!) This was the most helpful because it allowed me to list a MANAGEABLE number of tasks per category! 

This is the version available in the Etsy shop!

Out to the left side, I just wrote my schedule for the day! If you color code the events in your life like I do, you could even use those colors to identify the time of day you’ll work on those projects! This was also super helpful to me because it really allowed me to create a concrete time management plan for myself. I have an easy time starting projects, but I have a reeeallly difficult time making myself STOP working on them! (or remembering to eat, drink…) 

The 2.0 version

So, I use those time slots to force myself to say “hey, this is good enough” and move on to the next task! It has been a really helpful system for me! And so, of course, it’s available in Organized Charm’s Etsy shop for you to use, too! I would suggest printing out several days at a time and putting them into a notebook. Take a piece of notebook paper and write down every single thing weighing on your mind, then disperse those tasks throughout the days!

If you have long term tentative plans, you can use Post-It’s to show when you’ll be out for certain events (like meetings, appointments, etc) until they become “confirmed” plans! I also really love to use Washi tape on the edge of mine to add some color, and give me a space to write motivational quotes or decorate! For a while, I was even using the blank space at the bottom of the page to write down good things that happened each day! 

(I should probably start doing that again)

Do you have a system for getting through your task list each day? What kind of planner/ notebook/ list do you use? How do you organize your planner/list to show the different “categories” of your life? 

8 Ways to Start This Month ORGANIZED

  • Check out your entryway/front door area. 
    • Gather up all of the things that tend to linger in this area. 
    • If it’s by the front door because it needs to go somewhere, then put it in a bag to grab the next time you’re walking out the door! 
    • And speaking of bags, take a minute (or 10) to clean out your purse / laptop bag / backpack / etc. No need to carry around a bunch of excess junk in this new month! 
  • Move on to your bedside table. 
    • For me, this is always a place where random tiny things accumulate. 
    • I’m talking 39 bobby pins and ponytail holders. 
    • Take a second to remove anything that doesn’t belong there, so that you can go to sleep and wake up to a simple and streamlined space!
  • Make the bed. 
    • And I mean really make the bed. 
    • Use all of your decorative pillows, throws, whatever you need to do to make it look/feel like a hotel bed! 
    • You’ll thank yourself when you go to get in it tonight!
  • Make sure your “getting ready space” is in order.
    • Make sure that every hairbrush, bottle of nail polish, tube of mascara has a home. 
    • I bought 3 bins at Target’s Dollar Spot to keep under my sink: 
      • 1 for nail polish, nail polish remover, cotton balls, etc. 
      • 1 for skin care related things like lotion and face wash. 
      • 1 for toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss. 
    • Everything doesn’t need to be arranged perfectly, but it does need to be categorized in a way that’s easy enough to follow every day! 
  • Round up all of your clothes. 
    • Here is the simple rule for clothes, every item of clothing should either be…
      • …clean and hanging in the closet or folded in a dresser
      • …dirty and spinning in the washing machine
      • …unneeded and in a bag to donate / sell
  • Round up all of your towels.
    • They should either be…
      • …clean and ready to use
      • …dirty and ready to wash
      • …old and ready to toss
Almost done!
  • Now, let’s move to the kitchen! 
    • Really clean out the coffeemaker 
    • Wipe down the counters
    • Wash ALL dirty dishes (either in the dishwasher or by hand)
    • Spray and wipe out your newly-empty sink
  • Deal with every piece of paper in your home.
    • Either recycle or toss all unneeded paper
    • File and organize every piece of important paper
    • If a piece of paper has been lingering around for a while because it requires some type of action, go ahead and take that action so that you can file or toss the paper!
And hell-o to a fabulously organized start to February! 🙂

Do you have any suggestions or tips to help start a cleaner and more organized new month?! Add them in the comments below!

15 Quick Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

So, school has pretty much started back everywhere at this point! 

Which means… mornings. And waking up early during mornings. 

And even worse, being expected to show up to places on time during those mornings. 

I’m pretty sure that getting the day started has always and will always be a difficult thing for people to deal with. 

First of all, 48% of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep

And second of all (and my personal problem with waking up), this is winter.

And it’s cold outside.

But I do have to say that the worst ever at waking up in the morning is my dear, sweet husband. Here is our interaction in the morning: I bring him coffee in bed and stay out of his way. 

All those typical morning words like “cranky” and “grumpy” and “moody” don’t even begin to describe his level of disdain for waking up in the morning. But since I have to be up anyway, I did some research on how to create the best ever morning routine!

There are actually tons of articles (and opinions) out there about how to start your day off the best way possible. But you know, that’s something that each person really has to decide for themselves. SO I gathered all of my 15 absolute faves and listed them below! 

Just scroll through the list and choose a few that would work well for you! Oh, and one thing that was pretty consistent throughout every article: 

NO PHONE for the first hour of your day! (you know why)

2 minutes of meditation. By now, we all know that meditation is beyond-beneficial for us. But we still picture it taking place in a dark and silent room… which probably seems a little unattainable for most of us! Just do your best to clear your mind for a couple of minutes each morning.

Clean 1 thing you don’t want to. For me, it’s the dishes in the sink that have to be washed by hand for some reason or another. BUT I’ve found that if I go ahead and knock that thing out before I even have time to dread it, the rest of my day seems to be just a little more productive. It’s kind of like saying, “Hey, Procrastination! Don’t mess with me today.

Drink green tea/juice/water. 8 hours is a long time to go without drinking anything… plus morning is a super easy time to remind yourself to drink more since you’re probably already in the kitchen!

Eat breakfast. Of course, when we picture breakfast we picture all those sugar-filled and indulgent brunch foods (Belgian waffles? Yes, please!) but the best way to start the day is with something hydrating like fruit or something high in protein such as greek yogurt. Save the good sweet stuff for weekend brunch!

Listen to music. I am a huge, huge fan of starting mornings this way! And for mornings, I really love instrumental genre stations rather than anything with lyrics. It’s just easier to keep a clear mind that way! This post from last year may have just the perfect station go get your morning started!

List 10 things you’re thankful for. This is one thing that I definitely do pretty much every morning. I also do it if I get in a bad mood throughout the day. Aaaand I also make encourage people around me do it when they’re stressed, too. It really is the easiest way to boost your happiness right away!

Make the bed. This is an easy option. It’s quick. It’s not time-consuming. And it makes a huge impact on your space immediately! Plus, it acts as a barrier to keep you from getting back into bed! 

Read. Now, I have to admit that (for me) writing “read” on my morning routine list would be straight-up dangerous because 98% of my reading is done on electronics. Electronics = internet connection. And internet connection = access to social media (as you know, it’s always downhill from there). BUT if you are the kind of person who reads books the old-fashioned way, then this may be a good idea for you! Just try to make sure it’s something encouraging and inspiring so that positivity can flow over into the rest of your day!

Repeat a personal mantra. I actually created one of these and said it to myself every morning last summer. Something about how I was the most productive person in the world and I moved quickly from task to task accomplishing things with confidence. Also, you could go the Blair Waldorf route: I am Grace Kelley; Grace Kelley is me. Either way, it’s totally effective!

Review your goals for the day. One of the habits I’m trying to get back into (after Christmas break totally demolished ALL of my good habits) is planning each day the night before… what to do, what to wear, etc. That way, each morning all I have to do is review the goals I’ve already set for the day and get started!

Smile for 1 minute. Yes, like a crazy person. I do this all the time when I get stressed while driving. Smiling relaxes you and basically forces you into happiness. And hey, forced happiness is still happiness, right?

Turn on all of the lights. I can feel my husband cringing as he reads that. He (and all men, apparently) are allergic to “wasting” energy. But science says that lights = productivity… so turn ’em on!

Visualize your day. There are so many ways to do this, but one thing I’ve started doing is choosing 3 ways that I can simplify the tasks ahead of me. For example, “I will simplify my drive to work by leaving 30 minutes early“, “I will simplify dinnertime by deciding now what I will make“, and “I will simplify my lesson planning by organizing my classroom materials ahead of time“. By the way, my husband would call this “doing less”… and he would wonder why anyone would have to remind themselves to do that.

Write in a journal. Nothing long or poetic or brilliant. 1 page. Or even just 1 sentence. Write about something that annoyed you yesterday and let it go. Or write about the awesome day ahead of you! Or all of the things you’re grateful for. Or about the crazy dream you had. Literally, anything is on limits!

Yoga. This = my favorite thing of all time ever (mimosas and Target excluded). I have recently started doing 6:40 AM yoga and it’s been a great way to start the day. For me, yoga is just so much easier in the morning before I check my e-mail or get stuck in traffic or do any of the other 34,000 things that try really hard to stress us out and ruin our days. Plus, when those things DO happen, I probably handle it a little better than I would have otherwise!

How we spend our morning is probably a good indication of how we’ll spend our day… 
so let’s make sure to start it out right! 🙂 

What are some of your favorite ways to greet the day? Do you have any additional tips for a better/ healthier/ more-centered morning routine?