It's 3:32am. The Sleep Cycle alarm goes off supposedly waking you up during the "lightest phase of your sleep cycle." It's anything but. You've been up four times the night prior with your 15-month-old. Each cycle looks like this: baby cries, you wake up, you search frantically for a sippy cup with something in it, hand it to baby, check the diaper--it's always sopping, try to change the diaper while shushing the baby--trying not to wake up your partner in the process, turn on the computer next to the bed to play the Baby Einstein Lullaby episode, try to snuggle with the baby to get her back to sleep. Momming and Dadding is no easy task, even when you have a full-time stay-at-home-partner helping you. (And, I only have ONE baby and a helpful 12-year-old girl.) Hats off to all you moms and dads with more than one child under the age of 5!
And I often get asked, "Why are you getting up at 3:32am—wouldn't you rather sleep?" My answer: if I want any time to myself for professional or personal development, I've got to get a jumpstart on the day. I also have a very supportive partner, who has agreed to take care of the baby if s/he wakes up during my Happy Time. :)
Choose your best Happy Time slot--and block it out.
Wouldn't I be happier if I slept in another 2-3 hours instead of getting up that early? On some mornings, yes. I am human and sometimes need to catch up on sleep if I've been under extra stress, am working too hard or doing a lot of strenuous workouts. But on most days, I do feel that I'm happier and more content with my life when I do get up ultra-early. Even just getting 30-40 minutes to split between reading an inspirational book and doing some Headspace meditation allows me to center myself for the day, though my daily intention is to shoot for a full hour, following the full Miracle Morning protocol. Not every day turns out that way, and THAT's okay.
For some of you night owls out there, staying up late is a better option. Once you put the kids to bed, you can work on your creative projects, watch that TV episode you've added to your Watchlist on Netflix or even do a Miracle Evening protocol. If evenings are better for you, than just stay up late.
Fill that time with 2-3 activities you enjoy.
At first, this was difficult for me to figure out. I read several self-help books to figure out which centering activities work best for me. I figured out my ideal combination and sequence for these activities and tweak them when needed.
Here are some ideas to get you started: meditation, yoga stretches, reading, silence, visualization, affirmations, light exercise, writing, watching something inspirational.
Figure out when you're going to get your responsibilities done.
This is also an important part of the process. If you're not already using a system like Getting Things Done, Eat That Frog or some other type of productivity system, you need to figure out how to get things done. Create a system that works for you: it could be as simple as making a To-Do List. If you don't do this, you'll spend the majority of your Happy Time fretting about what you "should be doing" rather than relishing the activities you enjoy.
In this process, you may discover that you're doing too much and end up feeling like you're racing through your day and still not getting everything done. If this sounds like you, then you need to solve that problem first.
[Tweet "How do you fit your Happy Time into an already packed schedule...and what do you actually DO?"]
Your Turn: Do you schedule your daily Happy Time or do you prefer to take it when you can get it? I’m curious to know what activities or things make you happy and why. Shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me!