Creating a morning routine for a better day

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.

Drink water

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.

Wake up

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.

Journal

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.

Japanese flashcards

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?

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Wow! Very good idea to lift weights while watching a YouTube video, and you do it all before getting your son out of bed. You always accomplish so much in your days. Thanks for sharing your morning routine!

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      Author

      Yeah, it’s a good way to kill two birds with one stone. Why sit and watch YouTube when I can be moving. Granted my son does wake up somewhat late due to doing at-home learning, but it did take me a while to get into this routine. Getting as much done as I do in a day has taken months to get to that point but I am happy with what I can accomplish. Thank you.

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      Author

      Thank you.

  2. Avatar

    You’re so productive! I need my morning routine to somewhat function. I’m not really a morning person either but I have to be up early for the kids. Love how you get in a morning workout and do some journaling– I just don’t have the discipline!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thank you. I wasn’t always this productive, it took months if not a couple of years to really settle into a good daily routine. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my son, I would still likely sleep until noon most days, haha. You may not feel like you have the discipline for such things in the morning but neither did I, I had to work to get to where I was today so maybe give it a try and see how it works out after a few weeks or months of doing it.

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    So true – 7:05 is acceptable, 7:00 is ridiculously early ๐Ÿ˜€

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      Author

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way.

  4. Avatar

    Great tips, one thing I’m trying to work on is drinking more water before bed and making sure it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. And I love that you included your own routine, great inspiration for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    1. Avatar
      Author

      That’s a great thing to work towards. I have to be careful about how much I drink before bedtime or I will be getting up several times over the night. I find having a bottle of water ready for when I get up helps me to get that water in first thing. Thank you, I’m glad I could inspire you.

  5. Avatar

    Iโ€™m not a morning person either but I know that I function better if I wake up earlier rather than later. It helps to do a few stretches or a yoga flow before my first cup of coffee.

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      Author

      I agree that I work better when I use my morning routine even though I would love to just spend that time sleeping. That’s great that you get in a bit of a workout before you get to that cup of coffee.

  6. Avatar

    I really wish I could nail down a morning routine. They’re so tricky for me because it’s the time when my chronic illness flares up the worst. So usually, even though I wake up around 6:30-7, I stay in bed until somewhere between 10-11 doing my work. At least I’m productive, but I know it’s not the best way to begin my day. Hopefully one of these days, things will become a little more simple and purposeful!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Ah, yeah that would be tough. I guess my suggestion would be to start easy, pick on a little thing you want and need to get done first thing and stick with that for a month or two before adding a second task to the list. That way you aren’t pushing yourself too much right off the bat but still making a bit of progress. And of course, remember that it’s okay to skip that routine if you really need to. There are days I don’t get my routine done but the next day I do my best to get back into it. Being productive from your bed is great. You gotta find the routine that works best for you and your situation.

  7. Avatar

    These are awesome tips. I strongly believe in morning routines. That is a good way to make the best use of your time.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thank you. I certainly believe in morning routines now and wish I had taken them more seriously years ago.

  8. Avatar

    I am a morning person, and I do have a morning routine. It sets the tone for how the rest of my day will be! I’m so keen on your Japanese cards!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I agree it really does set the tone for the rest of the day, as on occasions when I don’t do my morning routine the rest of my day feels a bit wonky.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I can understand how your morning can differ based on your mood. As long as you do what works for you, that’s what’s important.

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