It is commonly said that in order to be productive you need a morning routine. While I don’t deny that’s true, it’s easier for some than others. For morning people, a routine comes easily and quite naturally. However, for those of us who are not morning people, it can be a struggle to shift to this thinking of being productive right after waking. Like many aspects of life, these routines are not a one-size-fits-all scenario. There is no rule that says you must wake up at 4 am to have a successful day – though many people will be adamant that’s the only way to start a day. Or that you need to start with a yoga session. But if that’s what you wish to do, then, by all means, go for it. Creating a morning routine takes time, as you need to adapt it to your needs, but once you have a set routine, it will make your life easier.
Creating a morning routine
A morning routine is, in my opinion, not what takes up your entire morning but are tasks you need to complete in the first thirty minutes to an hour after waking up. By focusing on this smaller bracket of time, you will be able to create a solid routine that gets you up, starts your day without being overwhelming.
How to make the most of your morning routine
As strange as it may sound, the best way to make the most of your morning routine is to keep it as simple as possible. Pick only a few things to do right after waking up. What these tasks are will vary greatly from person to person.
Plan out your morning the night before
The best way to tackle the day is to plan it out the night before. Set out your clothes, set the alarm, makes notes of what needs to get done, and double-check your planner for any important tasks that will need your attention. If you are someone who needs to get to school or work, set out your breakfast as well – except for those parts that need to be refrigerated. Don’t forget to make and pack lunches as well.
Set a wake-up time
No one enjoys the sound of an alarm, but it is key to getting up at a decent hour and starting your day – without hitting the snooze button a dozen times. I know without an alarm I can easily sleep half the day away and then I’m scrambling. What time you set your alarm will depend on several factors including a work schedule, kid’s school, or any other daily tasks that need to be accounted for. It will also depend on how late you stay up.
If you absolutely hate the sound of a traditional alarm, try using your phone instead. You can set the alarm tone to something you will actually want to hear. On days when I need to wake up earlier than normal, I used my phone and set the alarm tone to the 80’s She-Ra: Princess of Power opening theme. Something about hearing that particular song makes me want to get up and go.
It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, but getting a glass of water shortly after waking up is a great way to start the day. Most people reach for coffee first thing after waking up, but if you can, try to get some water first.
Do what’s most important
There is no one perfect morning routine that will work for everyone. We all have different lives and needs. Perhaps you have kids that need to get ready for school or work emails that need attention or this is your quiet creative time. This is why making notes of what needs your attention first the night before makes a huge difference.
My history with mornings
I am not a morning person. Though as a child, I more often than not woke up early. No, it wasn’t for morning cartoons – though I certainly enjoyed those. In fact, I woke up to watch Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness. That show set me down the path of becoming obsessed with nature documentaries – something I still love to watch to this day. But I digress.
As a teen, I loved the nighttime. I worked the night shift in highschool and it just felt so natural to be awake late at night. In my year of university, I quickly shifted from a daytime routine into one of a full-time night owl. This meant going to bed as the sun came up and not waking until early evening. Looking back on it, this was not conducive for learning – no wonder I only lasted a year at university.
My adult years have consisted of bouncing between being a night owl and trying to wake at a decent time – mostly because I had to get my son to school. In my heart, I know I’m still a night owl and probably always will be. However, I have recently started to make the shift to being a morning person. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s downright unpleasant most days. However, this transition has been made easier by creating a morning routine.
What my mourning routine looks like
After working on this for several months, I have found a morning routine that works well for me. I will admit that this is a weekday routine, as I still like to sleep in on the weekends. While I still accomplish these tasks on the weekend, they tend to happen much later in the morning.
At 7:05 am my alarm goes off. Why this specific time? Honestly, because 7 am feels too early, but 7:05 is acceptable. I drink some water and then I make my bed. These two simple tasks help to wake me up and get ready for the next step.
Next up, I grab my journal. I usually write for about 20 minutes but it could be more or less depending on what’s on the day’s schedule and what I had been doing the day before. For the most part, my journal is more of a brain dump and may cover the previous day’s activities, how I’m feeling or what I have to do this day. On occasion, this will lead to making notes on a current or upcoming writing project – especially around NaNoWriMo time.
Head to the computer
Most of my time during the day is spent at the computer. This is where I write, do blog work, watch entertaining shows, and play video games. Once it’s on, I do a quick email and social media check. If anything needs my attention right away, I do this now.
Next, I find a short YouTube video to watch. Usually, these videos are around 20 minutes long and are often about homesteading or writing. While I watch this I do some weight lifting. I find this little workout session helps to get the blood flowing and it’s the key to helping me reach a state of wakefulness.
Check my planner
Now that I’m fully awake, I take a moment to go over my planner. This is mostly used for keeping track of my blog work, but I also keep notes in here and any event that may be coming up that I need to know about. If I have something written in here that’s coming up, I will make that my first priority of the day.
I recently got some flashcards gifted to me by a friend to help me learn Japanese. I take a couple of minutes to go over these to help reinforce my knowledge of Hiragana and Katakana. It has already made a huge difference in my reading and writing comprehension.
Feed the dog and wake the boy
This is the last bit of my morning routine. Now that I have taken care of what I need to do and enjoyed a bit of quiet time to myself, it’s time to turn my attention to the others. Since my husband has already left for work, I get busy feeding Penny and ensuring the boy gets up. From this point on, I shift into the rest of my day.
As you can see, my morning routine is simple but gets me up and out of bed so I’m not tempted to take an early morning nap. All told this routine takes less than an hour, sometimes a bit longer but it helps to set me on the path for a productive day ahead.
Do you have a morning routine? What’s your favorite part of it?