I don’t know about you, but there’s a few things I don’t want to wake up to. A dirty kitchen is one. Piles of laundry is another. Then there is the day packed to the rim with things I have to do. Not fun things. Days like that are never fun. It’s even harder when I’m dragging my kids along with me.
I’ve had many days like this. I wake up with all the things I have to do in the day running through my mind … and I groan. How am I going to get it all down and have peace? I wonder.
Thankfully, over time, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for creating a better day—a better tomorrow. Simple choices make all the difference.
In some ways my days are just as busy as before, and that’s to be expected. John and I have adopted seven children in the last seven years. Yet even with a house FULL of children my life is more peaceful, more joyful than I’ve ever experienced. Here’s how you can do that too:
1. Cut everything that you are doing because of guilt or because you didn’t want to say no. What things popped in your mind when you read the last sentence? Yeah, cut those.
For me it was volunteering cleaning the church and cooking for their Wednesday night meals. People asked me to volunteer and I didn’t want to disappoint them, so I agreed. Yet, while both of those things are important, it was hard on my family. I was dragging my kids along and expecting them to behave and stay out of trouble. My husband reminded me that it wasn’t the right season for those things. Cutting them cleared of a bit of my schedule, and I didn’t have to dread waking up to volunteer. Instead, I continue to volunteer in areas that fill me with joy, like mentoring teen moms. Now I wake up excited about where I’ve volunteering.
2. Cut all the activities your kids are doing because you think “this is a good opportunity” or “all the other kids are doing it.” For years my kids played sports and took classes for things they didn’t even like playing or doing. I’d signed them up because that’s what all my other friends were doing with their kids. When I asked my kids if they wanted to keep going or not they were thrilled they had a choice, and they were happy to step away from activities that they didn’t enjoy. My kids then helped pick out other things they really enjoyed. Now I wake up seeing my kids finding happiness in the very few activities they do. Also, I’m not spending all my time running around, taking them to activities no one really cared about. All of us have more peace.
3. Choose moments that will feed your soul during the day. We often schedule our hours full of work, but make sure you take time to fill slots with things that nurture you and bring you joy. I know this is hard (I have seven kids at home, remember?), but I’ve discovered when I take time for these moments my whole day is better. For me this means waking up before everyone else and spending time with my Bible, my journal and a cup of tea. I have so much more joy through the day when I meet with God first. I also take time to read good fiction, even if it’s for 10-15 minutes. And I always reach out to a good friend through a phone call or my Voxer app. Connecting with another real person, and talking through life, makes me happy.
4. Plan ahead for the next day before you go to sleep. Do you hate getting to 5:00 p.m. and not knowing what’s for dinner? Does it frustrate you when you wake up and don’t know what to do first because everything is so pressing? Take a few minutes to plan before you head to bed. Think about what you want to make for dinner. (And you still have time to pull something out to defrost!) Also, think about your to-do list and plan the one thing you want to do first. Those little decisions make your whole day run easier after you wake up, and you already start the day ahead.
Want to wake up to a great day tomorrow? You can!
Also, what about you? What do you do today to make sure your tomorrow is off to a great start?