My #1 Tool to Maximize My Mornings

Ask anyone who has been with me in the first hour after I wake up and they will tell you: I am NOT a morning person. From my parents, to college roommates, to my husband, they all know how it goes. Anything involving light, sound or human interaction is off limits for the first couple hours after waking up, no matter how late I've slept in. 

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In my college years, however, I learned that this reality had to change. My painting class was always scheduled at the same time: Monday & Wednesday, 9am - 11:50am. Three hours of morning studio time. Three hours to be productive and get the work done. At first this was difficult to adjust to. You mean I have to get my most important work done this early in the morning? I have to be my most inspired just after waking up?

I soon started to develop what is now the most important, and honestly, my most favorite part of the day: my morning routine. While the specifics of it have changed with the rhythms of life, establishing a routine helps put my mind in the right space to make the most of my morning, as well as the rest of my day.

These days you will find my alarm set in the 5 o’clock hour so that I can get my at-home morning routine in early enough in order to squeeze in every morning studio hour that I can. I have the gift of solitude for most of my morning hours. Austin leaves for work, and most of my studio mates don’t get in until well after I’m gone. There is something about the pre-noon hours that cater to my most productive self. My mind is fresh, with the space to address each studio task with clarity and purpose. Also, the earlier I get in, the more time I have before heading to work at Hurley House in the afternoon.

There is definitely a mood to early mornings, and I feel a sense of ownership over my day. There’s something about early hours that make me feel like I have the place to myself. Whether "the place" is a store, my studio, the road - it feels like its all mine. The world is quieter and calmer. The sunlight is soft and cool as it sheds light on a new day. There is a sense of freshness, and the promise of making something great out of the day. Instead of waking up in the midst of the madness, I beat the madness, and get my stuff done before the madness begins.

My mornings now are something I cherish and value greatly. I know that once I have a family, this luxury of a long, slow and quiet morning will be a thing of the past. But for now, I’ll soak up every quiet moment of solitude, making the most of it. That, and I'll also probably pour myself another cup of coffee.