Last month I went back to a super-early morning routine to help me manage my work/life balance and combat the ever-growing imposter syndrome in my gut. On the weekdays I’m up by 5:45 AM, at my desk by 6, and cramming whatever work I can in before my kid wakes up at 9:00 AM. If you’re someone who frequents the KBK blog, you’ll know I wrote a post a few months ago about whether waking up early is productive, so feel free to check it out when you’re done here.

Today I figured I’d share my new schedule with you, why I’ve made this switch, and whether or not it’s helping.

But first… check out my free eBook: 

The Imposter Syndrome Survival Guide

I’ve spent most of 2021 working on it, and it’s finally ready to share! So if you’d like to check out some of my easy tips to help recognize, combat, and cope with Imposter Syndrome, click here to download it- it’s totally free!

Alright, back to the DITL…

Why I’ve Swapped To A New Early AM Schedule

I’m now on this early morning kick because my toddler son is turning 2, and he’s requiring a LOT more of my undivided attention than before (not that I’m complaining <3.)

two red pandas playing

However, it does mean that I can no longer juggle working and mothering at the same time. The only way for me to rectify this was by swapping schedules to work around Jake without forcing me to grind into the late evening hours. In all reality, this schedule allows me to have MORE personal time, and VASTLY lower my stress levels.

I was feeling really anxious and overwhelmed with how tough it’s gotten to multi-task, and Jake always comes first… so this was the easiest option. So here’s how my day looks right now.

5:45-6:00 AM

I wake up by 5:45 AM, and I use the next fifteen minutes to get dressed, do my skincare, and make myself a cup of tea. I try to get a headstart on my health and hydration, as much as work. So far, I’ve been pretty good at staying on time, and I sit down at my desk by 6:00 AM

6:00 AM – 9:00 AM

I start my workday by journaling, reading affirmations, and learning something new. All of these steps are critical to my routine, as it helps me get in the right mindset for work. My journal is right at my desk, I keep my affirmations on my Notion dashboard, and I use a free app that shares 1 new and random fact each day. Very simple, usually takes me all of twenty minutes, and then I move on to actual projects tasks for my day.

Ideally, I use the next 2.5 hours to accomplish my main 3 “needle-moving” tasks. These are the (almost) nonnegotiable projects for the day. As long as I get those done, nothing else really matters.

I get a decent amount of work done, and my day flows much more calmly this way.

9:00AM – 12:30 PM

This time slot is devoted entirely to Jake and household chores time. Jake and I enjoy breakfast together, we tidy up the house, spend time outside… whatever he wants to do. And because I’ve already got a headstart on my work, I can be present during this time and not stress as much.

The end of this slot culminates in feeding Jakey his lunch (usually myself, too), and laying him down for his afternoon nap.

12:30 PM- 2:30 PM

While Jake naps, I finish up and lingering projects or tasks, I’m usually done for the day around 2:30-3:00 PM, but if I have more work to do, my husband usually gets home from his job by 3:30, so I’ll have a bit of extra time if needed.

However, I never work through dinner time, and I try very hard not to work after dinner time. Jake goes to bed around 7, so we spend that time together as a family ONLY. If I DO have any lingering work that JUST CAN’T wait until the next day, I’ll do it after he goes to bed.

But since I started this new schedule, I haven’t had to do that, and get to enjoy my evenings and do some personal things that I enjoy or allow me to take care of myself.

Is This Working How I Planned?

Yes, surprisingly well so far. Most importantly, my anxiety is MUCH LOWER. I feel very in control, I enjoy the guilt-free time to focus, and I LOVE that I get to enjoy guilt-free time with Jake, even if all we do for most of our 9-12 window is watch Danial Tiger lol.

Daniel Tiger with the caption "Grr-IFIC!"

It allows me to be fully present in whatever I’m doing and practically eliminates distractions from either direction. And my kid never has to miss out, because he’s sawing logs.

And hey, if I get my work done a little earlier than normal, sometimes I get some extra time to myself in the afternoon to enjoy a coffee and sit on my porch until my little guy wakes up re-energized and ready to play.

I’m not even that tired throughout the day, which is nice. I actually tend to have a bit more energy because I’m hydrated and not exhausting myself with stress (again, if this sounds familiar, download my free Imposter Syndrome Survival Guide.)

How Am I Maintaining This Schedule As A Notoriously NOT morning person?

I just remind myself what my day is like when I DON’T get up early. I think about how I FEEL on those days- and how frustrated both Jake and I are.

That’s a really good inspiration. I also enjoy my peaceful little morning ritual of skincare, tea-drinking, and journaling, so that’s motivational as well.

I also don’t beat myself up too bad if I DO need some extra zzz, after all… we’re just humans and sometimes we don’t feel well.

Gary the snail from Spongebob Squarepant's crawling into a cat bed. Text reads: "I need to sleep for three years. Like a snail."

Additionally, I don’t get up ultra early EVERY DAY. My husband is home Tuesday and Wednesday, so I get up at 7:00 AM since he’ll be around most of the day spending time with Jake. Monday, Thursday, and Friday are my early days, so I get a little “break” in between. Sometimes I’ll get up earlier if I want more time to spend with my boys, or we have something planned.

Will This Last Forever?

Who knows, I’m not going to imprison myself to this schedule if I find next month, next year- tomorrow that it’s not accomplishing the goal I created it to accomplish in the first place.

Alleviate stress.

frog peacefully laying on a lily pad

If this schedule starts to add to my anxiety, then things will change immediately. I’ve already pushed my limits really bad once, and it ended in a really bad burnout that took WAY TOO LONG to recover from.

After all, creating schedules is meant to add to our lives in a positive way, and if they’re not doing that… then it’s not actually a productive or effective schedule.

Don’t forget to check out my free blogging checklist!

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