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7 Steps to Create a Morning Routine that is Peaceful, Powerful and Perfect for YOU

Creating a Morning Routine can be TOUGH!!


Having a morning routine has made my life run smoother and I'm happier in my day to day life. Gretchen Rubin writes in 'Better Than Before' her book on habits that she wants us create an :

"...everyday life in Utopia. Everyday life with deep, loving relationships and productive, satisfying work; everyday life with energy, health, and productivity; everyday life with fun, enthusiasm, and engagement, with as little regret, guilt, or anger as possible."

There are so many experts out there telling you to create a morning routine, which sounds a lot easier to do than it actually is. I've been there many times, creating and recreating my morning routine and now I'm here to help you create your own morning routine! And I have a free workbook to help you do it! It seems to be the biggest trend right now, there are lots of tips on what to include (meditating at 4:30 anyone? no? ok.), but not a lot of help in actually creating one that suits your unique life and how to implement it.

Most of those morning routines consist of getting up at 5:15, doing an hour of yoga, reading a spiritual book and then meditating. Now, I'm not knocking all of this stuff, I even do some of it myself, just not at 5:15 in the morning. The problem with this routine is that it would just not work for me! And it probably won't work for most of you. Most other people's routines won't work for me or anyone else. We must create our own morning routine that is as unique as we are.

The key is to create a routine that flows easily for you, that makes your life easier and to do the things you want to accomplish. The goal is not to try and cram as many things into the shortest period of time, you don't want to be a slave to a constaining, demanding schedule. It should serve you and make your day run smoothly.

Here's my rountine that I shared a few weeks ago. 


I absolutely LOVE this routine, but I'm sure it would NOT work for everyone! Or even ANYone else. Heck, it may not even work for me in 6 months' time ;)


Let's create a personalised routine for you shall we?

Here are 7 steps to create your perfect MORNING ROUTINE. It doesn't matter if you work from home like me, or outside the home of if you don't work at all. These steps will work for everyone. We are going to set the first 3 hours of your morning so that you can get your day off on the right foot to make the rest of it run smoother.

  1. Look at what you are already doing in the mornings. We are going to start slow and work on the first 3 hours after waking up. If you have a rough base of a morning routine already, then feel free to build a longer rountine, but if you are starting from scratch, don't go over 3 hours. If there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to what you are doing in the morning that's ok! That's what we are going to fix!

  2. Analyse the good and the bad, in other words, what you want to keep and what you want to change. One thing I highly suggest is getting up at the same time everyday, even on the weekends (give or take an hour)!  It will set your internal clock and you'll get more consistent sleep and feel a lot better. My Dad doesn't need an alarm clock because he's gotten up at the same time everyday for years. I wake up at 5:45 on weekdays and about 6:30 on weekends. I honestly cannot sleep later unless we have been out really late the night before. You can get up at 9am or 4am, it's all up to you, but just make it consistent throughout the week and weekend.

  3. Make a list of the things you would like to do in the morning. Estimate the amount of time you need or would like to spend on each task. Some of the tasks will be things that need to get done and already take a certain set amount of time. ex: shower, breakfast dishes or the drive to work/school etc., so allot the time needed to finish those tasks.

  4. Look at this list realistically and compare it to what you are already doing and want to keep. (from step 2). How much of it is actually doable first thing in the morning? Can you tweak the timings so that it'll work? If you have to cross some things off of this list, it doesn't mean that you can't add it in a few months from now or that you can't do them later in the day. It just means that they don't fit into your morning routine right now. That's ok!

  5. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and write your tentative schedule. Leave some space to write in edits and tweaks as you live with this schedule.

  6. Live with the schedule for some time to see if it is working well for you, I suggest 3 weeks. Feel free to tweak and change things as you see whether they are working or not. Give yourself some grace in the beginning. It's hard to change old habits. Don't worry about sticking to the schedule to the minute, this isn't the military! However, if you find that you are always 15-20 minutes late for the next step, ask yourself why and maybe tweak the schedule.

  7. After you've been able to follow the schedule to a T, with no more tweaks, for about a week, then you are probably ready to set it in stone... or at least in your planner! D

Ok, that is a LOT to tackle right? Well, no worries!! I've got a free workbook that walks you through the steps!

Click Here to get your Morning Routine Workbook!

Here are a few extra tips and tricks!

*If you have children, I highly suggest that you wake up before them. There is nothing worse than a child with endless energy bounding into your bed to wake you up. You will be bleary eyed and still sleepy and his energy will be a dramatic contrast, making you cranky and reluctant to cater to his needs first thing in the morning. Instead if you are awake even 5 minutes before his arrival, then you are ready to meet him with love and kindness instead of dread and resistance. Ideally, I like to be up and dressed before I greet them, because then I'm fully awake and ready for hugs and cuddles.

*If you want to get up earlier on a regular basis, give yourself some grace, it may be hard to do at first. Make sure you are going to bed at a decent hour to get the sleep you need. If you are finding the shift difficlut then maybe setting the alarm 15 mins earlier each week until you reach your desired time might be a kinder way on your body.

*Remember that you are the boss, this routine is supposed to help you start your day off right. If you feel like you are a slave to your schedule, and that it's the routine that is ruling you, then that's a sign that something is not right and needs to be tweaked. Are you rushing to finish all the tasks in the allotted times? Then give more time for each one. 

 *As you learn to live with this new routine, give yourself grace and don't expect to be able to follow your routine every single day. There will always be exceptions, appointments, emergency calls, last minute costumes to finish, etc. This past week, for example, I had something come up every day and I wasn't once able to complete my routine, that's ok! I did what I could and next week my routine will still be there. The point is to be as consistant as possible to get your day started on the right foot. 

I told someone just the other day, that my whole day feels off if I don't get those first 3 hours of my morning routine done.

Remember that this routine can work well for you now but, life changes and evolves so don't feel like you need to stick to your routine longer than it is working for you. 

Download this worksheet right now, to help create a Morning Routine of your own!


Click Here to get your Morning Routine Workbook!


Here is an example of the Morning Routine worksheet filled out. This lady, let's call her Abigail, decided to try this method to come up with her own morning routine and this is her workbook:


hmmm, she seems to have similar handwriting to mine and the same Cyberman mug as I do ;)

In this video, I walk through a blank version and then the one that's been filled out:

After a while your morning routine will become second nature and you'll simply do it without thinking.

Right now, the second  half of my morning routine is still pretty new to me, so I've got it listed in my planner reminding me to keep up with it. As you can see in my planner perfect planbook here, I remind myself each day to check it and crank it out. 


I've got a quick video walking through my thought process of decorating these pages (which you can also use to decorate your morning routine page or any planner page).

Or there is this video, where I decorate my morning routine.

You can also check out the blog post from a couple of weeks ago where I walk you through the evolution of my current morning routine:

2 Lessons I Learned from Being Jealous Over an Instagram Post

Once you are settled into the first 3 hours of your day, feel free to add to your morning routine. Then, you can move on to evening and afternoon routines. Don't be worried if these are different for each day depending of activities, just try for as much consistancy as you can. Let me know how you are getting along! Feel free to email me pix of your worksheets and routines at [email protected]. You can also email me if you have any questions at all. If you post your Routines, please use the hastag #hootmorning on IG and tag me @caravincens. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Where will you be in 2018? How to get where you want to be.

Let me tell you a story.


It's about two women, named Mandy and Eliza. They are the same age, each have 3 young children and work full time jobs. This past January, without knowing, they set themselves identical New Year's resolutions:

  1. Lose 20 lbs
  2. Redecorate the Living Room
  3. Sleep and eat better
  4. Knit and scrapbook more


Come February, this is their progress:

Mandy has set herself a plan for her resolutions. She know that life is busy so she's given herself some grace and decided slow and steady is better than nothing. She realised that 20lbs in a year is less than 2 lbs a month and if Rome wasn't built in a day then the living room redecorating could take a few months too. 

In January, she realised that she had a few too many brownies after school with her children as they recounted their day to her and decided to cut back.  She has made a Pinterest board of ideas for her living room make-over. She decided to go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night and so far it isn't happening most nights, but she has made it once or twice a week. She is also paying attention to where she is wasting time and where she can sneak in some crafting instead.

Eliza on the other hand has lost her list of resolutions. She started off the year by deciding that she would only eat salads. She lasted 3 days, and she was starving so she ate 3/4 of a pan of brownies, declared her diet a failure and now that she's eaten all those brownies feels like it's too late. She started browsing online for living room makeover ideas, but quickly got sidetracted down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest. She thought to herself 'Oh I really should go back to the Living room ideas' but Buzzfeed quizzes were calling and instead she found out that she is Pheobe from Friends, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones and Miss Piggy.  Taking all these quizzes in her bed, she's stay up way too late... again! She clicks over to Facebook and writes a grumbling post, complaining that she's always tired.


March is in like a lion and Mandy is still chugging away at her goals, slowly, but steadily.

Mandy has started doing yoga for 20 minutes, twice a week, while her baby naps. She has found and ordered new light fixtures for her living room. She is consistently going to bed 15 minutes earlier, give or take a night here and there. She's able to do this by cutting back on Facebook and instead doubling up and watching one episode of The Crown on Netflix with her husband while knitting on the couch or scrapbooking on the nights he is away on business. 

Eliza on the other had has completely forgotten all about her resolutions.  She complains about her ugly, dated living room on Facebook and then scrolls through her feed many times a day watching cat videos and then posts again saying that she wishes she could find time to scrapbook. Then she stays up until 1am binge watching The Crown on Netflix.


By April Mandy has lost 3 lbs, has installed the new lights in her living room and added some new cushions and a pretty new tray. She is trying to go to bed another 15 minutes earlier and has knitted a hat for her daughter. Nevermind that it's too warm to wear it now, it turned out a bit big, so it'll be perfect for next fall and winter. She has also scrapbooked 4 pages.

Poor Eliza has gained 3 lbs, her sons were jumping on her couch and have ripped it, so she just turned the cushion over. On Instagram, she posted a photo of the new scrapbooking supplies she bought while late night online shopping early in the month, however they are still in a bag on the floor in the corner of her bedroom where she crafts. 


These months will pass whether you plan them or not.

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."  -Earl Nightingale

Mandy went slow and didn't do things perfectly. It's not about perfection, it's about progress! Because of her commitment and planning, come December, Mandy will have made a big dent in her resolutions if she hasn't nailed them completely. She can then make new resolutions for 2018 while poor Eliza will repeat the same resolutions only to fail at them once again. 

Continuously failing at resolutions really eats away at our self esteem. A lot of people no longer set them, which I do find a lot healthier than setting random resolutions that feel more like fantasy then something that's actually do-able.  You don't need January 1 to set yourself some resolutions. Instead, set yourself a plan of action, make those resolutions into goals and chip away at them when you have the time and energy so that they will come true.

"What matters is to be moving in the right direction. There's a great satisfaction in knowing that we've made good use of our days, that we've lived up to oue expectations of ourselves." -Gretchen Rubin

If you want some help with your dreams, goals and resolutions check out my class at Big Picture Classes Plan Your Dreams. You’ll learn how to figure out what your goals actually are (big ones and small) and how to break them down into manageable steps. My tips and tricks will help you work these steps into your schedule and get you on the right track to achieving your dreams!

In this video I walk you through how I've decorated the insert where I put my dreams, goals and plans for 2017. This book stays in my traveller's notebook all year long and having a pretty book like this cheers me up everytime I open it and motivates me to open it often to review and plan. 

Don't forget to pop over to Plan Your Dreams if you want some guidance in making 2017 the year where you cross those resolutions of off your list!

2 Lessons I Learned from Being Jealous Over an Instagram Post

Jealousy is an ugly thing. I'm not a jealous person by nature. Really I'm not. I love my life and I'm not one to look at someone's else's purse with envy, or wish my home looked like the neighbours' or keep up with the Joneses and in any way. I know that I love the purse I have, it's pretty and the inside is organised the way I like it. I know my home is decorated in a style I love, even if it will rarely be tidy with 6 children at home.

I also know that when true feelings of jealousy crop up, it goes deeper than just wanting a new handbag.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 14.20.09photo by April Bowles Olin

So, when I saw this fantastic photo on Instagram that April from Blackburg Belle posted the week before last, I got a big wave of envy. I couldn't even bring myself to like the picture and instead I clicked my phone off in a huff, not even sure why I was feeling so crappy.

This photo stayed on my mind, though, and I realised I was jealous. So I went back to look at it and I asked myself what about it made me so jealous. I knew it wasn't the pretty handwriting or the awesome bullet journal because I like my pretty handwriting and my own bullet journal. I knew I wasn't jealous of April herself, even if she is pretty awesome! If we swtiched lives her dogs would suffer because I hate going for walks and I love ice cream too much to give up dairy ;)  There was something else that way bugging me, something bigger. 

I soon figured out that I was jealous of her schedule!

Not her specific schedule, but the fact that she had one that was so clear are organised. My own daily schedule had been getting realy fuzzy around the edges lately and I was already feeling out of sorts before I saw April's picture, it only brought everything to the surface. For the past few months, I've only been doing what needs to done, going from event to event, deadline to deadline. Putting out fires if you will. Prepping for Christmas takes soooo much time for me. Then, I got sick in January. Now that things are settling back into normal days, I have a lot less on my plate. Eventhough I have more time and lots that I'd like to do, I found that I wasn't actually accomplishing any thing at all.


I sat down last Saturday and really worked out what I wanted February to look like, what I wanted to accomplish and what I wanted to feel. And I set myself a new schedule... in pencil. I've been using that pencilled out schedule for the past week and a half to see if it was actually do-able. I did a little tweaking and I'm feeling pretty great about it now. I know that all of these things won't happen everyday, if I have an appointment or some other thing that needs doing I won't be able to stick to the schedule. and thanks OK!  Even in the few days that I've been following it, I've gotten a lot more accomplished than I imagined when I set out last weekend.

In this video, watch me as I decorate my morning schedule. I keep the style light and spacious to reflect the feeling of calm I want to have in my mornings. I also pull in a touch of April's style to remind me of her inspiration. I'll add it to my Traveller's Notebook to have on hand until it becomes second nature. 

Because I sat down and took the time to work it all out, my days run much smoother and my heart is grateful and no longer jealous. I LOVE that!


So, what are those 2 lessons that I learned? 

Here they are:

  1. If you are jealous of something, ask yourself why. I'm sure there is a deeper reason than 'their purse is prettier'. If it is a handbag you are envying, for example, maybe it could be because money is tight for you right now and you'd like to be able to afford a new purse. If it's because their purse is small and minimal while yours is stocked full of diapers and toys, maybe you are just looking for a little break and an outing on your own where you won't need to take snacks and diapers. Knowing why you are jealous may not lead you to be able to fix your problems immediately. Maybe with a little work, you can improve it, like I did, maybe not. However, simply knowing what is deep in your heart can relieve that looming feeling and set your heart a bit at ease.

  2. If your schedule isn't working for you, even if 6 months ago it was completely perfect, set aside some time to figure out why it's not working. What's missing? What is too much, right now? And what do you really want your day to look and feel like? It's more than ok to tweak your schedule or change it completely. If you are starting with a fresh new schedule, know that it will take quite awhile for you to adjust to these new habits so give yourself some grace and some time.

 I've created a new post on the topic of schedules, the popular morning routine, in particular. Everyone says that you NEED a morning routine, and I'm here to help you figure out how to find one that works for you. No worries, there's no getting up at 5:15 for yoga and meditation if that's not your thing! And if it is, well, then, I've got you covered too! Pop on over to this post to not only learn how to create your own peaceful, yet powerful morning routine, but also to get a free workbook to help you along the way.

7 Steps to Create a Morning Routine that is Peaceful, Powerful and Perfect for YOU

Happy Planning!

Sting like a Bee, Plan like a Butterfly

I adore butterflies and always have.


 My wedding dress has butterflies all over it and my signature is even a butterfly.  After I started dating the hot French exchange student at my university, he told me that most people in France had some sort of scribbly-scrabbly thing as their signature instead of writing out their full name. My cousin helped me combine my initials C.B. at the time to form a butterfly and then I added antennae to add a V. after I married that hot French exchange student.


See! I told you he was hot!!

Butterflies are elegant and graceful and inspire hope. They often represent beauty, femininity and transformation. Who doesn't like butterflies?

I really feel that butterflies are reflected in my style. I use them a lot in my designs but I feel that my style of organising and planning can also be compared to butterflies. Some people may see my method as a little bit scattered, I see it like a mass of butterflies taking off... there is beauty in my day when you look closely even if the whole seems turbulant and busy.

Even my personality could be compared to a butterfly, I'm a hopeful, glass half-full kind of girl who can be a little bit 'flighty' at times :D

Since I love butterflies so much, I try to make as many projects as I can using butterflies, like this 2 sided dashboard in the video tutorial below:

Another thing people think of when they think of butterflies is the transformation they go through in thier cocoon. They also represent change in 'the butterfly effect, which is the concept that small causes can have large effects. Initially, it was used with weather prediction but later the term became a metaphor used in and out of science.' Wikipedia

I like to think that we all have the ability to set off the same sort of ripple effect. That every little action we do can have a big effect.

Right now, I'm doing some big changes back stage, I'm revamping my Practically Perfect Planners course. I want it t be even better and more helpful for women to find a planner that truly works for them. If I have to transform the class completely I will. 

If you have anything that you would like to see in the class, please let me know in the comments. What are you looking for from a paper planner?

Happy Planning!