Unlocking Balance: A Practical Guide to Crafting Your Morning Routine Block


November 23, 2023

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As I was considering this post on the morning routine block, I took a moment to reflect, realizing it’s been a while since we delved into the fundamentals of the five-block method. Maintaining wellness, especially in the corporate world or when juggling entrepreneurship and working from home, hinges on avoiding overwhelm and fostering balance. Without balance, things tend to get chaotic—something I personally grappled with in my corporate days and found doesn’t necessarily get easier as an entrepreneur. The five-block method I teach is the key to finding that equilibrium.

Your framework and time blocks should seamlessly align with your life. As each new season unfolds, your time blocks will naturally adapt—that’s the essence of my entire system.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

Unlocking the Power: Morning Routine vs. Morning Routine Block Explained

Let’s begin at the starting line. Today, I won’t delve into the entire framework. Instead, I want to focus on a key aspect—the morning routine block. But before we dive in, let’s understand why having a morning routine block matters.

Let’s clear up a common question: morning routine versus morning routine block. While it might seem like we’re splitting hairs, there’s a crucial distinction in how I approach productivity. In my world, a routine is a series of activities that stack within a designated block of time. This approach prevents the risk of having unproductive gaps in your day. Your morning routine, as commonly understood, could technically be a time block. However, let’s delve deeper into what distinguishes a routine from a block of time. In my definition—and one that resonates with many—there’s a specific time block in the morning, from waking up until you attend to your kids or dive into work emails.

Crafting Your Day: Unveiling the Magic of a Morning Routine Block

Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘I’m already knee-deep in emails, attending to family, pets, and the entire household the moment I wake up.’ I get it, and that’s precisely why you need this blogpost. The key is to kickstart your day with a morning routine block. Within this block, yes, you’ll have your traditional morning routine, but it could encompass a few other activities as well. Some might define the entire block as their morning routine, and that’s perfectly fine. For others, it might involve not only a morning routine but also a power hour of work—answering emails, handling text messages, some phone time, and even a quick house tidy-up, like unloading the dishwasher from the overnight run while they slept.

So, to break it down, you’d have three distinct components within your morning routine block: the morning routine itself, a dedicated power hour for work (handling emails, texts, etc.), and a tidy-up session, that I call a Tidy Q. While these three components aren’t standalone morning routines, they seamlessly stack on top of each other within the morning routine block.

Setting the First Domino: The Transformative Power of the Morning Routine Block

Now that you’ve got a handle on Chelsea Jo’s five-block time-blocking method, it’s time to implement it into the first block of your day. Think of this initial block as the domino that tips your entire day, setting the tone for the hours ahead. Picture your day like a series of dominoes, and as a mom, your role is to know which dominoes to set up and how to arrange them to achieve the best outcome for your family. Without this clarity, your day becomes a jumble of scattered pieces, and making it flow becomes an exhausting challenge.

Imagine setting up dominoes; once you tip the first one, your day automates itself. Embracing this approach is like strategically placing dominoes around your house. I vividly recall my best friend’s son, obsessed with dominoes, meticulously setting them up throughout the house. It was a fascinating sight as he strategically placed each one. Much like us moms, he knew the importance of knowing the pieces and how to stack them. When a curveball disrupted the flow and a domino didn’t tip, he simply walked over and tipped the next one. This playful analogy beautifully captures the essence of creating an organized and intentional structure for your day.

Implementing my five-block method is like setting up a sequence of dominoes for your day. The magic begins with tipping the first domino – your morning routine block. Transforming how you manage your time and craft a schedule is a gradual process, built one time block at a time. Establishing this foundation is essential for creating a day that flows seamlessly, just like a set of perfectly aligned dominoes.

Smooth Transitions: Navigating the Shift to Time Blocking

As you embark on the journey of transitioning from a loose schedule or a lack thereof to a structured time-blocking approach, there are crucial factors to bear in mind. Whether you’re revamping your scheduling strategy or moving from a spontaneous approach, here are key considerations to guide your transition:

Consistency holds the key to success in establishing a morning routine that truly works for you. By maintaining a regular practice, you set the stage for positive outcomes. Another crucial aspect is data collection—don’t be disheartened if your initial attempt doesn’t span the intended duration. Instead, view it as an opportunity to gather insights. Analyze what hindered your progress and what facilitated success during the days you did adhere to the routine. Data collection is a significant tool in refining your approach.

Progress Over Perfection: My Approach to Embracing Imperfection in Creating the Morning Routine Block

Furthermore, emphasize progress over perfection. Acknowledge that imperfection is part of the process. Celebrate the progress you make, learning and adjusting along the way. This mindset shift is essential to realizing that achieving perfection is an unrealistic expectation. Embrace the journey, make notes in bold, add a touch of creativity—whatever it takes to underscore the importance of prioritizing progress in your time-blocking endeavors. Remember, no one executes this flawlessly, and that’s perfectly okay.

I cannot emphasize enough that the reason I’ve developed these systems is because, like everyone else, I have my shortcomings. These frameworks serve as my anchor, preventing me from feeling overwhelmed and disorganized while navigating the challenges of motherhood and striving for financial stability through a business. Even when I worked outside the home, the struggle was real. This system is precisely what I implemented to bring order to the chaos. Understanding that progress, not immediate perfection, is paramount to achieving what you want. Recognize that expecting flawless execution from the start is unrealistic. The journey toward your goals is a gradual process, and embracing this reality is crucial.

“Understanding that progress, not immediate perfection, is paramount to achieving what you want.”

Starting Small: Tips for Gradual Progress in Crafting Your Morning Routine Block

Lastly, a crucial aspect to consider during this transition is to begin small and progressively increase as you become more consistent. As we delve into the four tips in the remainder of this episode, it’s paramount to be comfortable with incremental gains in productivity. Some days may feel like a significant step forward, while others might not. Starting with a short morning routine block, perhaps just 15 minutes, allows you to gradually extend it to two hours if that aligns with your preferences and proves effective. I’ve experienced times with both extremes—a two-hour morning routine block during peak productivity and a 15-minute one during busier periods. The key is flexibility and adapting to what works best for you at any given time.

Tip #1: Begin Small

Now, let’s delve into the four tips to help you establish and maintain a morning routine block that suits you. Starting with the first tip—begin small. There’s no need for your morning routine to be Instagram-worthy, Pinterest-perfect, or TikTok-fabulous. Honestly, dedicating just 15 minutes of intentional time to start your day is ample. Here’s even better news—if you struggle to detach from your phone upon waking and find yourself immediately immersed in its demands, you can kickstart this process with just five minutes. Yes, seriously, five to 10 minutes can be remarkably effective. While 15 minutes is an excellent target, if you’re finding it challenging due to smartphone addiction, starting with a brief five-minute commitment can make a significant impact. It’s about setting achievable goals and building from there.

Tip #2: Keep Your Phone Away From Your Bed

Moving on to tip number two—distance your phone from your bedside. If you’re a dedicated listener and have absorbed all my podcast episodes, this may sound familiar, but it’s worth revisiting because of its immense impact. I even went as far as having an additional outlet installed in my master closet for two specific reasons. First, I anticipated continuing to record podcasts in my closet for superior sound quality, which I still do. Second, I wanted a designated spot to charge my phone within my master bedroom that wouldn’t tempt me to stay in bed. The key takeaway here is that your phone doesn’t have to double as your alarm clock right next to you. There are alternative arrangements that can significantly contribute to a more intentional morning routine.

However, if you find yourself battling the snooze button and struggling to get up promptly with your alarm, consider this tip a game-changer. By placing your phone at a distance, it not only helps break the snoozing habit but also serves as a powerful catalyst for starting your day on the right note. The physical act of getting out of bed to turn off your alarm, without your phone in hand, can set a positive tone for the rest of your morning—a small yet impactful shift that can make a significant difference in your daily routine.

Tip #3: Hitting the Sack On Time to Keep a Consistent Morning Routine Block

The third tip revolves around the importance of going to bed on time. Ensuring an adequate amount of rest each night is crucial for waking up at your desired time and feeling motivated to carry out your morning routine. A straightforward approach involves some basic math—subtracting your desired sleep duration from your intended wake-up time. Typically, adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep, so determining your specific needs is key.

Let’s consider an example: If you aim to start your day at 6:30 am and factor in time for morning preparations, answering emails, breakfast, attending to the kids and the dog, etc., you may find it beneficial to wake up by 6:15 am. This allows for a peaceful transition into the day, perhaps with a cup of coffee and a moment of silence to prepare your mind. It’s essential to create a buffer before diving into the more hectic aspects of your morning routine at 6:30 am. If you can expand this preparatory time even further, it’s a fantastic opportunity to enhance your morning experience. Remember, the key is simplicity and aligning your bedtime with your wake-up goals, removing unnecessary complexities from the equation.

Tip #4: Crafting Consistency: How to Build a Resilient Morning Routine Block

Number four on our list involves a powerful strategy: documenting both your ideal morning routine and a condensed, quick version. This technique has become a favorite among my students, proving highly effective in creating a morning routine that not only sticks but also provides consistent support. The goal here is to establish a routine that serves as a dependable domino, not just for you but for your entire family.

By crafting both an ideal morning routine (the longer version) and a quick morning routine, you eliminate the all-or-nothing mentality, significantly boosting your chances of success—by up to 90%. The beauty of having two versions lies in the flexibility it offers. Life can be unpredictable, and there may be mornings when time is limited. In such situations, having a quick routine ensures that you still engage in some positive habits, maintaining the momentum.

Personally, I’ve found this approach incredibly effective. When faced with the choice between a short and long routine, or a combination of both, I consistently accomplish one of the options each morning. This adaptability is key to building a resilient morning routine that aligns with the ebbs and flows of daily life.

Strategic Planning: How to Document and Adapt Your Morning Routine for Seamless Implementation

Let’s break down how to practically implement this strategy, whether in your paper planner, on a whiteboard, or a sheet of paper conveniently placed on your nightstand (where your phone used to be). Begin by outlining your ideal morning routine—detailing the activities you aim to include.

Next, craft a condensed version, your quick morning routine. This is your contingency plan for busier mornings, ensuring you can still engage in positive habits even when time is limited. If your ideal routine spans 15 minutes, outline what a 5-minute version might look like. Similarly, if you’ve allocated an hour, define your 15-minute version. This adaptable approach caters to varying time constraints, allowing you to seamlessly integrate your morning routine into any schedule.

Embracing your morning routine as well as knowing the back of your hand is a journey that evolves over time. Initially, consider jotting down your routines. While I periodically rewrite mine for refocusing, intentional shifts, or simply to introduce variety, this documentation becomes your guiding light on the nightstand. With this tool in place, navigate your mornings seamlessly, choosing between routines based on the pace of your day. Whether it’s a quick refresher or a more extensive engagement, your morning routine becomes a flexible ally in your daily rhythm.

Tailoring Your Morning Routine Block: The Short Version

Let’s delve into some examples quickly. Keep in mind that there’s no definitive right or wrong way to craft a morning routine block. I touched upon this earlier, but let’s revisit it.

Consider a morning routine block spanning from 6:30 to 7:30 am. At 6:30 am, you’ve just woken up, and at 7:30 am, your AM block kicks in for daily responsibilities. You now have a full hour to structure, but reality sets in—juggling family, household duties, and the myriad of digital notifications. A lavish and extensive morning routine might seem like a distant dream for many moms. So, how can you shape this one-hour block effectively? Here’s a potential scenario.

Scenario #1:

Within this hour, you might choose to embrace a quick morning routine, which could also be termed your coffee routine, spiritual routine, meditation routine, or journaling routine—whatever resonates with you. Starting at 6:30 a.m., you grab your coffee and engage in a brief journaling session or a meditation practice, fostering an emotional connection to set a positive tone for your heart and mind. This mindful start takes about 15 minutes.

Moving along, at 6:45 a.m., it’s time to transition into getting ready for the day. However, this step is adaptable based on your needs. If you’re prioritizing more sleep, you might opt for the short version of your routine. In this case, it might entail a quick makeup touch-up and a more straightforward approach to hairstyling. On average, the shorter version takes about 30 minutes, bringing you to around 7:15 a.m.

Next up, at 7:15 a.m., you could shift into a brief tidy-up routine. This involves unloading the dishwasher, rinsing your coffee cup, and tending to any quick household tasks. Following this, it’s time to wake up the kids and feed the dog, preparing for the official start of your AM block at 7:30 a.m. This transition marks the shift into the next phase, where all hands are on deck for the morning rush—ensuring the dog is fed, the kids are up and ready, and everyone is set for the day ahead.

Tailoring Your Morning Routine Block: The Long Version

Let’s explore another example to demonstrate the versatility of a morning routine block. In this scenario, you’ve allocated time from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., extending it by an additional 30 minutes. This provides a broader window for various activities. Suppose you decide to make this your longer routine, incorporating a workout. Here’s how it could unfold:

Scenario #2:

Starting at 6:00 a.m., you wake up and initiate your routine with a cup of coffee, followed by a quick journaling session to set positive intentions for the day. By 6:15 a.m., you seamlessly transition into a workout session, utilizing this extended block to prioritize physical activity. At 6:45 a.m., you begin getting ready, ensuring a smooth transition into the next phase. By 7:00 a.m., a tidy-up routine helps maintain a clutter-free environment, setting a positive tone for the day.

Now, if you’re an early bird with a commitment to leave the house by 7:00 a.m., there’s room to squeeze in a power hour of work. This is particularly beneficial for those who thrive on an early start and can manage a 5:00 a.m. wake-up time. In this variation, you proceed with your morning essentials, incorporating a power hour of work after your initial rituals, seamlessly reconnecting with your tidy-up routine.

Crafting Your Morning Routine Block: A Journey Toward Reclaiming Balance in Your Life

As we’ve explored different examples and tips, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The beauty lies in the flexibility and personalization this method offers. Starting small, detaching from your phone, prioritizing adequate sleep, and creating both ideal and quick routines are key steps in this transformative process. Embrace the uniqueness of your mornings, and enjoy the fulfilling adventure of unlocking a more intentional and balanced life. Trust me; it’s the easiest and most enjoyable gift you can give yourself.

Resources To Implement Creating Your Own Morning Routine Block:

So please go have a great time with it and make sure that you’re over inside of our Facebook group. If you are inside of our Facebook group, you’ll get a time blocking workbook. There is a button there that you can click on to download files straight from our Facebook group and it’s free. So grab that workbook and have at it. It’s going to help support you build out this routine and the community is going to help support you while you do it. Thanks for being here. Hope to see you in the Facebook group.

Unlocking-Balance-A- Practical-Guide-to-Crafting-Your-Morning-Routine-Block-ChelsiJo

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