est. 2008

becoming a morning person

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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I have discovered that becoming a morning person is something I have to do. It’s a necessity born out of the fact that I have a one year old and I run my own business working primarily from home. Are any moms out there cringing at that thought? I wouldn’t mind, because honestly it’s hard. In order to feel even the slightest bit on top of what’s going on, I need to have a schedule and plan for the day. Blocks of time to actually clear my mind and accomplish real work (not the interrupted social media kind) is one of the most precious commodities in my life… the other is spending equally focused time with my family.

This past month I have attempted to re-make my mornings. Sure, having a baby quickly turned me into a any-time-of-the-day-owl or whenever-you-get-up-bird but it’s one thing to wake up to sounds of your baby crying to get up and eat breakfast, and a completely different thing to sit quietly reading / working / drinking coffee and hear a rustle from her waking up. I should probably pause at this point and address the fact that yes, I am trying to have it all. I want to be a stay at home mom that works, a working mom that stays at home. I do however, have regular help with the baby so it’s not as though I am literally doing it all. One of the reasons I chose this job, and have stuck with it, is for the very fact that it is flexible and I like being a regular part of my daughter’s day. For me it’s a matter of defining the time that I have at work and at home and really that starts with the morning.

There are a few different morning routines I tried in the past few weeks, and they are : getting up early to run, getting up early to pray / read the Bible, and sleeping in. I have not been able to stick with one yet… or even get up at the same time each day, but that’s bound to happen when you daughter is getting molars, you have food poisoning, you are gone to shoot a wedding for 12 hours. So I’m going to start aiming for 3-4 mornings a week to be the same. I time tracked for three weeks which I found incredibly helpful. Not only was I more aware of how I was wasting my time but I could set goals for completing and working on tasks more readily. Below you can see what two different days looked like below (view larger here)- both early mornings where I did get up, one where I primarily work and the other where I primarily took care of my daughter – as well as an ideal work day.


As I mentioned, I know that every day is not going to look the same for me. On wedding days, I’m gone for at least 10 hours and sometimes I spend a weekend away. For days more focused on family I would like to accomplish a few tasks but not feel like I’m getting behind in work. Biggest of all, I’d like to take a Sabbath each week and really rest and recover. The key to all of this, in my opinion, is structuring your day so that you have time to plan ahead… and for me that starts with a good morning. So, all you experience early birds, I would love to hear if you have regular sleep in day, if you spend one day a month planning your meals, if you turn your phone off each day at 8pm. If you want to re-make your mornings I highly recommend reading this book that I just finished and time tracking for a few weeks (download this 1-Week-Hour-Log from the book’s author). Here’s to starting off the week right!

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