The REAL 10 Ways To Improve Your Morning Routine – WITH KIDS


goundhog day clock

This morning, after dropping my kids off at school I stole a quick glance at Facebook before heading out into a day of crisscrossing the very flooded city of Tampa. There in my news feed, courtesy of my friends at Epic Launch, was this little gem of “go get ’em” advice:

10 Ways To Improve Your Morning Routine, by Carly Okyle

Now, I’m a sucker for click-bait for entrepreneurs and I’m also obsessed with making my day more efficient so that I can be a better outside sales rep during the day and get more writing done at night (I’m writing this during lunch at Panera Bread between stops, and I’ll finish and edit it this evening.) So, naturally I clicked to find out what I was doing wrong with my morning routine. Obviously, Carly Okyle (clearly a much more Irish version of my Kile heritage), has her morning figured out because she’s paid to write for and I’m the guy who clicks on it, so I offer my commentary with overflowing respect for her work. (I encourage your to click on the link to her article so that you can see the photos of bliss that accompany each item.)

The REAL 10 Ways To Improve Your Morning Routine, WITH KIDS

Number 1: Stretch. Sounds great. When I wake up on our king size Sleep Number bed, I feel like I’ve been sleeping in the trunk of a Honda Civic. That’s because somewhere between the hours of 2 and 5am, two children have found space to sleep between me and my wife, where my arms and shoulders used to go. On a good night I have the where-with-all to move to my daughters twin bed, where my feet dangle off by a foot. So, if by “stretching” she means, get up and carry a two year-old down the stairs while feeling like I just got off the redeye to Paris, then I guess I do get to stretch.

Number 2: Start the day with protein instead of dairy. I actually do this. I used to eat cereal with milk every morning and I’d be starving by 10:00, which means I’ll end up eating Wendy’s by 11:30. If I eat protein, I’m good until noon and I tend to make better choices. But I don’t like to eat the same thing for breakfast every day. Some days it’s grits with a fried egg and cheese, some days it’s an egg sandwich, other’s it’s yogurt with fruit and granola. On top of that I make my son toast and soysage or fruit, and my daughter will usually eat what I eat. (So… I make 3 breakfasts and eat 1.) About this time, my lovely wife cruises down after actually stretching and pours herself a bowl a cereal.

Number 3: Start your morning the night before. Good advice. For 10 year’s I’ve set up the coffee maker the night before. My clothes are hanging, ready from the dry cleaner, and if we’re lucky we’ve made the kids’ lunches. Of course, there are two other small people to dress, comb hair, brush teeth, in the midst of major and minor conflicts related to “don’t touch me,” “don’t look at me,” and “can I play on the iPad?”

Number 4: Let there be light. According to Carly Okyle, and another article, light sends a signal to the brain to wake up and produce melatonin. This is easy for us because we moved in December and still don’t have window coverings in our bedroom. On the flip side, I basically can’t get out of bed until the sun is making an appearance. I am NOT a 5 a.m.-er. I read a book about the “5 O’clock Club,” or some nonsense, and I know people who get up at 5. They all live out west, and I chalk it up to East Coast Markets and their earlier sunrise. I go to sleep at midnight, because the kids go to sleep at 9.

Number 5: Work Out. Yeah right. For a spell I was getting up in in the morning and running. Then I stopped for no good reason. I wonder how many calories I burn carrying a toddler, taking the occasional paddle on our local waters, and hauling the kids around on bikes. I hope it counts as a workout, but I’m guessing it’s just shortening my life.

Number 6: Banish the snooze button. She cites something about how it screws up your REM cycle and your body’s rhythm. Fine. I haven’t set an alarm since having kids (barring an early flight to catch.) On no occasion has my child slept longer than I wanted to. Not. Once.

And don't forget your booties 'cause it's COLD out there!

And don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s COLD out there!

Number 7: Wake up with pleasantness. What? Okay, Carly, this was a throw-away because “9 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine” just didn’t have the same ring to it. She encourages us to use a pleasant alarm sound. I don’t have the luxury of sleeping until an alarm awakes me, so pleasantness is in the eye of the beholder. I wake up in a nice house in a great neighborhood with the heels of two small, beautiful children, lodged into my spleen. That’s pleasantness in my world.

Number 8: Drink water. Wait? No vodka? After I had a bout of gastritis, someone gave me a little pamphlet on how drinking a glass of room temperature water jumpstarts your organs, blah blah blah. And I do it. I always drink a glass of water before my coffee because of that winkled up pamphlet. So far, I’m still here.

Number 9: Get in a positive mindset. You mean shouting, “Find your other shoe now!” isn’t setting a positive mood for the day?

Number 10: Use technology for some extra help. Okyle suggests sleep tracking apps and recipe sites to bring the magic home. Hmmm… do I really need to tell Google/Apple when I sleep too? Don’t they already know?

Don’t get me wrong, these are all healthy habits that I’m sure would make anyone’s day better. If I were single in my twenties, I’d probably have time to do all of these things and do none of them because I’d have no idea what real stress is.

But, rather than just snark at Carly Okyle’s work, I’m going to try it. Now, I don’t know if I’ll knock all ten of these out every day, but I’m going to put this to work and I’ll report back and how my life has been transformed. In related news, tell my wife I’ll be staying at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel during this experiment. I’m sure she won’t mind.

-Jonathan Kile

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3 thoughts on “The REAL 10 Ways To Improve Your Morning Routine – WITH KIDS

  1. So, I won’t argue that your two small people make your morning tougher than mine. No doubt. But I will say this: Try being a morning person who needs coffee who lives with a non-morning person who doesn’t. It’s an evil combination. Will I trade you? NEVER. But I will take another cup of coffee, because apparently “wine breakfast meeting” is never appropriate.

  2. Joe

    I had to come read this again and chuckle to myself before I fall asleep here shortly. Thank you for putting this in a parent’s perspective. I now have a new found respect for all of the parents out there who manage and conquer their lives with children!

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