Of all the questions I am asked on the regular, my daily routine is (hands down) the most frequent. And oh, how I get it. Daily routines are the structure for everything we do, every habit we establish, every ritual we keep. I believe in routines wholeheartedly, that a good one is as close as we can get to a good life.
My mornings have shifted with every season, but currently, it’s the oddest (loveliest) by far. When talking with a friend last week, I admit to the hour in which it begins – 3am – and she looks at me dead in the eyes, a wash of disgust on her face: Erin, that is not morning. That is night.
And so, whether you call it a nightly routine or a morning routine, it is mine and it is here and it is ever beloved:
Depending on when my head hits the pillow the night prior (my aim is generally 6p), the weekday alarm rings between 2 and 3 am and I pad out to the kitchen for coffee and words. (Currently, I’ve succumbed to the superfluous step of butter coffee, which means lugging the blender into the laundry room, shutting the door quietly behind me, turning on the exhaust fan and powering it on among the white noise so as to ensure the littles don’t wake up. It feels very indulgent, all this sneaking around in the dark.)
For the record, no, I do not believe in the Snooze button. I’m an unapologetic morning person, likely forever will be. There’s just something merciful about the hours in which you are unneeded, the hours in which the rest of the world sleeps, the hours in which you dream.
It is dark. It is quiet. It is bliss.
And so, my time begins here and ends once the kids are awake. My only rule is that I must write first, answer email second. Space is reserved for a bit of reading (Exodus, still), a bit of thinking, a whole lot of prayer. On particularly warm mornings, I refill my water and step outside to watch the sun rise over the pines.
There are mornings I am ever-excited to hop out of bed and jump-start a particular project, and there are mornings I am not. Still, the alarm, the coffee, the writing, the sunrise.
It’s the best ritual I’ve got.
Once the kids are up and at ’em, once I hear footsteps down the hallway or a screech from the monitor, the laptop is closed and books are stacked away. I grieve over small things like unfinished chapters or unmet tasks, but the feeling passes swiftly, cured in bearing witness to a glorious case of bedhead, or an outlandish dream.
Then: banana pancakes, a dash of cinnamon. Fielding questions about the lifespan of toads, setting afternoon schemes into motion.
I will pause here to say that Bee and I have grown into a beautiful little rhythm of planning our days together. I’ve never been one to stick to a daily planner or printed calendar for long, mostly because I couldn’t quite find the right fit. I need plenty of space and margin for the day ahead, but ample room for intentions and habits. I wanted something that encompassed every part of my routine: family, home, wellness. I wanted equal parts day planner and journal, memory keeper and visual reminder. A home to track habits, a net to catch noticings.
And so, we made it ourselves. Bee offered input, suggesting each day offer space for a particular song (yesterday: Little Red Corvette) and time spent outdoors. We added the non-negotiable habits of two chores, one hot meal (in our home, it’s fridge-foraging until dinnertime), water intake. There’s space to track the book we’re reading, the prayer we’re whispering, the dreams we’re dreaming. Room for memorization of the day – a quote, a poem, a verse.
It’s simple and sweet and just what we need. (If you’d like to jump start your own summer rhythm, I’ve bundled our plans into a printable version for you here, along with a few other surprises for purchase. Enjoy!)
I’m often asked how one can train themselves to become a morning person, and I suppose the answer is that you can’t. There is a morning offered inside every new day, and it’s not necessarily the hour of the tradition. Ken has a brain that switches into overdrive no sooner than 11pm, the midnight hour a jolt of caffeine to his system. And well? I’d call that a sunrise if ever there was one.
For the rest of us, our sunrise is this: chipmunk searches, coffee runs, James & the Giant Peach on the sofa. A backyard swing, a front yard chase. Porch sweeping. High praise for a new day. (High hopes for a solid afternoon nap.)
Tell me: what’s your morning routine? I’d love to hear!
Edit: Thank you for your kind words — and for so many planner downloads already! I hope each of you find this simple system so, so helpful in your many mornings ahead.