Jenny Brown with text "Real-world insights from AADOM Authors" with the AADOM logo presenting on creating a morning routine.

It all starts with a morning routine… Do you slap snooze 3-4 times before you actually get up?

Are you one to wake up running, jumping to throw on your clothes to get out the door?

If so, listen up!

Many times, we blame being late or feeling rushed on not being “a morning person.”

Well, guess what. I’m not either!

I love to sleep. But, you know that moment when you wake up, the birds are chirping, the sun shines through the windows, and you realize you slept through your alarm? The time changed, and you’re late!

Although there are no quick fixes for being a morning person, habits take time. Here are some tips to give you “extra time” in the mornings.

How to create a morning routine

Yes, I am a millennial. I use my phone for EVERYTHING! Calculator, note taker, recorder, videographer, photographer, my reminder, my planner, it does it all.

Even my alarm clock. But I still have to put my alarm clear across the room so that I have to physically get up out of bed and walk across the room to turn it off. If not, I would press snooze.

I also automatically make my bed to keep myself from crawling back into it.

If you have too many alarms and alerts, you get used to them. You quit thinking of them as alerts, and they become the norm. Consider switching your alarm weekly or monthly to a different song.

Hey, this even helps with my kids. It gets them up, motivated, and excited.

Once you set up your alarm, figure out the amount of time your body needs for sleep, then carve out ten minutes for you. If you need more time, that’s fine. But use these ten minutes to pray, read a daily devotion, thought for the day, or reflect on what your day will bring.

Finally, you’re ready to hit the road!

Often, I get sidetracked. I may spend too much time on my makeup, get caught up with twenty questions with my kids, or, of course, it’s social media.

Well, remember when I said I use my phone for everything?

It is also my inner mom to yell at me to “get in the car!” Even when my kids hear it, they say, “it’s time to go, hurry, get your shoes!” I actually set the alert 10-15 minutes before I need to because I know it takes that long for my kids to actually get in the car.

The weekly plan

At the end of the week, do you conquer it, or does it conquer you?

We all face the challenges of “not having the time.” When it comes to good habits, we have to embrace how we manage our time. We have to forget about doing everything at once or all in the same day.

Does it really have to be done before we leave? Some things, yes, but others go into your weekly plan.

As a dental practice manager, we’re given several tasks.

I’ve had to learn to prioritize them to give the time and devotion they deserve. Some are more time consuming or crucial than others, but they all deserve our devotion.

The best way to manage them is to write down what you do each day. Even a task that’s as simple as checking your email or voicemail put it on a daily task sheet.

Once you’ve mastered that, start with a weekly one, then bridge to monthly.

For instance, I know I have to do month-end, quarterly, and annual reports that I send to my physicians on a regular basis. It’s always better to give myself a buffer date in case of illnesses or other projects that may come into play. After the big annual report is done, I reward myself with a personal day.

Mondays are always an open day. A day to catch up on phone calls, emails, projects, or with my staff. Remember, if their job is smooth, it makes yours that way too.

Happy staff, happy patient, happy doctor, happy life!

Tuesdays are for payroll and anything finance. I block time in the mornings to focus on accounts receivable, refunds, anything billing related.

Wednesdays are usually the best days for meetings that need to take place.

Thursdays are the hot spot; these are things I need to finalize or get out before the weekend.

Days are different for each practice, so find what’s best for you. You do you, just keep it productive.

It’s ok to shut your door to focus on a project. Let your staff and physician know your schedule as well.

Consistency is key.

Laying out your daily, weekly, monthly tasks allow you to prioritize and not get so overwhelmed. It doesn’t all have to be done today. It’s Monday. You still have Tuesday through Friday to recover.

The nightly ritual

Ever since we adopted our two girls, nightly rituals have become their favorite. I remember singing “You Are my Sunshine,” we would read a story, and say our prayers. We would alternate different nursery rhymes or Disney songs.

This went on for a few years. Now that they are older, they have their own nightly rituals.

As we grow, our lives make changes, all of which start with a small ritual. There are plenty of simple things we can do to get a better night’s sleep, such as music, journaling, yoga, or a warm cup of tea curled up with a good book. Whatever helps us unwind.

After a hectic day at the office and a thirty-minute workout, we have dinner, I get the kids bathed, ready for bed, and then I finally get to see my husband.

We talk about our day, and both start our nightly rituals: a cup of chamomile tea, a book for him, journaling for me, and soft music to help drown out all the noise in our heads.

Nightly rituals don’t have to be complicated.

They can be a group effort if you have kids.

Allow your kids to help you pick out their clothes for the next day, pack their lunches, and spend this time talking to them. These small things help your morning go a lot smoother.

Do the same for yourself.

If you’re rushing to make coffee, set it out the night before. If you’re too busy and always have to order take out for lunch at the office, make yourself lunch from leftovers at dinner when you make your child’s lunch.

My kids like to leave little “surprises” in mine and my husband’s lunch boxes. It’s the little things that can mean something so big. It’s also the little things that can make a great impact to your day!

Setting a nightly ritual is the setting for how your morning is going to start out.

We all have worries, stressors, and wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow. Don’t let tomorrow’s worries get a hold of you. Just reflect on the day at hand, relax, and prepare to be rejuvenated for what will come next.


Meet the Author

AADOM Member and Author, Jenny BrownJenny Brown is the founding president of the Tennessee Valley Chapter, AADOM, and a lifetime AADOM member.

In 2017, Jenny received her Fellowship (FAADOM). That same year, she was awarded the Women of Distinction Honors.

Jenny is a 2010 graduate of East Tennessee State University with a degree in Public Health.

As a practice manager for East Brainerd Oral Surgery, she manages two offices, four surgeons, and has over 25 employees.

During her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, blogging, traveling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband Robby adopted their two daughters in 2018.

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