Welcome to the 7 Day Lazy Morning Challenge where we set up our week up ahead of time to wake up 2 hours earlier than we need to before work to spend 30 minutes minimum working on a particular project! My project being painting!
Welp! This morning was a huge success! Not only, did I get up on time, work on my daily project for 45 minutes, and feel good, but I worked on a painting that last week I was not happy with how it was turning out.
The last couple of times that I worked on it, I didn’t feel like I was painting it, just going back and re-doing areas I was unhappy with over and over.
I considered giving up and starting over- but then suddenly I got a lot of encouraging comments on Instagram from the process photos of this painting- so I decided to keep at it.
As if by magic, everything about this painting came together for me. Everything I was having trouble with I just suddenly knew how to do!
Welcome to Day 1 of the 7 Day Lazy Morning Challenge: Where the goal is to wake up at 5 am to work on a project for 30 minutes after having set the week up ahead of time to allow yourself to be as lazy as possible.
I spent 30 minutes on my oil painting, Ascension (still not done yet, still a work in progress). I made this painting based on a dream I had which also served as encouragement in a time where I was so stressed out, I managed to get sick.
How did this first morning go?
This first morning went very well! I had one handicap: I forgot to set my alarm for 5am, so I woke up at 6 am instead. That kind of stressed me awake. Like that feeling you get where you’re super motivated to get up because you’re late for a final exam.
Not the best feeling, but at least it woke you up faster than the blackest cup of coffee.
Even so, thanks to the fact that I had breakfast (yogurt parfait) set up ahead of time, my clothes set out, coffee already made with clean mugs already set up, AND I already knew what project I would work on with all the materials laid out, I was able to spend 30 minutes on my project and have some time leftover to blog about it.
All in all, not a bad deal. In fact, given how well this morning went even though it started late, I’m seriously considering spending an hour on the next projects in the work mornings with 30 minutes being the minimum.
So, I didn’t think I’d be doing this again so soon, but the 7 Day Lazy Challenge was such a huge personal success, that I couldn’t wait to start again.
I’m a huge believer in doing anything new twice. This probably isn’t the best way to go about life, but generally when trying anything new, I generally wing it, suck at it, learn from it, then do it better a second time.
What is the 7 Day Lazy Morning Challenge?
In short: It’s a challenge to wake up at 5 am every day for 7 days and spend 30 minutes minimum on a project- while being as lazy as possible.
Prior to Day 1, you set up your week so that you are able to accomplish this with as little effort as possible. This means having breakfasts set up ahead of time, having your wardrobe already planned and ready to go, and having your work space already set up and planned out so that you can. Another important aspect is eliminating as many distractions as possible- are you working on your project, or playing on your phone?
Last week, for example, I made 14 hardboiled eggs so that I could wake up and start the day with a quick, healthy breakfast without cooking or dishes taking up time. Since my project is art, I made sure that I had a space set up with my sketchbook, drawing utensils, and drawing references. As a result, I’ve been leaving the house earlier for my day job, starting the day less stressed, and feeling more focused and in a better mood overall.
This week, I’m adding a few tweaks.
The name “7 Day Lazy Challenge” is now “7 Day Lazy Morning Challenge.”
Wardrobe is now taken into consideration
Minor Adjustments to the kitchen routine.
More emphasis on workspace set-up
Day 0: Setting Up
My alarm is the app, Alarmy. It is set so that the noise doesn’t go off until I take a picture of the coffee maker. The purpose being that I can smell the coffee (which was Delay set the night before to brew 15 minutes before I’m actually supposed to be up).
I decided to go a little fancier with the breakfast this time. I made multiple yogurt parfaits using plastic cups my husband and I still had left over from our wedding.
Basically, it’s a fruit preserve (in our case, blackberry, strawberry, and apricot), plain yogurt, and granola. I made one for every day of the week.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What if one day I decide I really want to set time aside to fry up bacon, waffles, or pancakes instead? After all, I have extra time now!” Not to worry! You can pack up your “quick breakfast” and take it with you to work to have with your lunch or as a snack! This is simply made as a time saver and will make you very happy when you’re too groggy to make a proper breakfast!
I also attempted to set aside 14 coffee mugs -7 for me and 7 for my spouse- so that they’re just right there. No looking around and finding one or washing one if there’s only dirty ones. Turns out, we don’t have 14 coffee mugs (because we’re not insane). But that’s okay. It’s not good to have dirty mugs pile up anyway.
3. Wardrobe Set Up
For a more in-depth look into Wardrobe set up, I recommend reading Who What Wear’s article, I Tried Planning My Outfits by Gina Marinelli.
It’s really weird how much of a difference your wardrobe makes. One factor of morning stress is trying to think about and throw together an outfit the morning before going work.
One thing I’m adding for this week that will save a few minutes: setting up the wardrobe. On Day 0, do your laundry make sure you have 7 outfits. set up ahead of time. A really easy way to do this is to have a Capsule Wardrobe. Where you don’t have a lot of pieces of an outfit, but the few you have are the some color pallet and all the tops, bottoms, socks, etc go with each other perfectly.
For extra measure, I put my outfits in a laundry basket in my art studio. The intention being I’ll paint for 30 minutes, then turn around and put an outfit on. This guarantees that I’ll actually go into my art studio to paint since the clothes I need to wear for the day are in there.
Don’t worry, they’re on the opposite end of the room, so they won’t get paint on them… I hope…
4. Workspace Set Up/ Project Planning
Having your workspace all ready to go will save time and stress. In my art studio, I have fresh, new turpentine, clean brushes, and a blank pallet for my paints (if I wanted to take it a step further, I would have set up my color pallet ahead of time as oils don’t dry overnight).
Another thing: Instead of being completely lazy, and just drawing on the couch with my references, I have a plan as to what I will do every day this week for my paintings.
Ascension (the angel painting pictured above)
Portrait of my husband
Under drawing of a portrait of my sister
Under painting of the portrait of my sister
Merchantman (1 hour)
Portrait of my husband (1 hour)
Theotokos (1 hour)
The last three will be for one hour instead of 30 minutes because I don’t have those days.
Since I’ve already planned what I will do ahead of time, I won’t sit in my studio wondering what painting to work on. If I feel inspired to work on a different painting, that’s fine, at least I planned out what I intend to do for the next 7 days.
5. Limit Distractions
I’ve been using the app, Forest, which grows a virtual tree on your phone that prevents you from looking at social media for a set period of time until the tree has grown. You can even look at your progress in the form of a virtual forest that has grown over the past day, week, and even year. It’s not perfect. You can still look at email, texting, and YouTube, but it’s still fun.
Another thing I want to add is a music playlist or podcast. I remember when I was in highschool and I would waste so much time putting together the perfect playlist for my schoolwork instead of doing my actual schoolwork. If you can have that set up the week before, whether that be a Spotify playlist (note: If you have Forest and Spotify on at the same time, your tunes will still play, but Forest will prevent you from looking at Spotify to skip or make changes), a daily podcast, etc. Have that set up the week before so that you don’t have to waste time worrying about it in the morning.
Today was a much rougher start in comparison to yesterday. Even though this time I got an extra hour of sleep, it was difficult to wake up, and when I did, I was very slow and groggy. I woke up in a middle of a terrifying dream, so I guess it wasn’t all bad waking up when I did.
The coffee also wasn’t ready so while I waited, I ate my hard boiled eggs, I drew up some abstract shapes and sketches in preparation for a future painting. I did not start the timer at this time, this was more of a warm-up.
Instead of getting to work on my art, my body was trying to do everything BUT that- cleaning, playing on my phone, looking at art on Instagram (which I’m supposed to do every day anyway, but not right at that moment).
Spending 30 minutes on art felt daunting to me, so I instead split my time into two 15-minute increments. This was significantly less daunting.
As a result, this morning felt very productive. I didn’t have the attention span to sit down and do a drawing for 30 minutes, so instead, I worked on some of my paintings.
After spending 15 minutes on my husband’s painting, I varnished the Springtime (or Young Couple on a Swing) painting:
The varnishing did not take as long as I thought it would, I still had about 9 minutes left on the timer, so I worked a little bit on the painting in my portrait series.
And since I’m using the Forest app as my timer/motivation/distraction killer, here is a screenshot of my “forest” for the past two days since I started this challenge. It’s not much, but it’s nice to see that forest as an extra tangible sense of accomplishment:
If I didn’t have a quick and easy breakfast set up on Day 0, a set-up workspace, the Alarmy app, and the Forest app, I don’t think there’s any way I could have gotten through this morning.
Another thing was that instead of working on one big thing, I opted to work on a bunch of quick, little things-which is good- because really that’s all a big project is, just a series a little increments put together. I finished one painting, am really close to finishing another, and making progress on a third. Even though I spent the same amount of time than yesterday, I feel a bigger sense of accomplishment today.