Do you find your mornings
a bit completely rushed? Is the feeling of running late all-too-familiar? Do you scramble out the door with your hands full, a giant travel mug of coffee balanced precariously in the crook of your elbow, and a half-eaten bagel in your mouth? (Perhaps you’re lucky to have even toasted that bagel at all…) If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…you might need a morning routine.
Alternatively, do you have a difficult time getting started in the morning? Do you ever feel unmotivated or disinterested? Are you missing that “get up and go” drive? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…you might need a morning routine.
In fact, I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining a consistent morning routine; alongside getting a restful night of sleep, following a morning routine is critical to ensuring a productive day.
Really. It makes all the difference.
Why you should have a morning routine:
Put yourself first
When you establish a morning routine filled with things that you value, you’re putting yourself first. You’re making time for what’s important to you before the rest of the day gets in the way. (As I’m sure you’re well aware, when the day progresses, “me time” often dwindles.)
By beginning your day with things you enjoy, be it gentle stretching, taking a hot shower, going for a run, or sipping coffee from your favorite mug, you’re starting your day on a positive note.
And the benefits don’t stop there!
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Following a morning routine sets you up for a day of peak productivity. How?
When you follow a morning routine, you accomplish several tasks before the “real day” even begins. This feeling of achievement first thing in the morning strengthens your motivation and gears you up for your day ahead.
Need proof? How about this – one of the reasons soldiers make their bed each morning is because it provides the opportunity for a small achievement before the day even starts.
As former Navy SEAL Admiral William H. McRaven explained during his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin :
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
Let’s think about this for a minute. If simply making your bed creates a small sense of pride, which leads to bigger and bigger accomplishments, just think how great you will feel after completing your daily morning routine. Heck, you’ll be ready to take on the world!
[bctt tweet=”Hey world, I’ve finished my morning routine… bring. it. on. #TimeManagement #MorningRoutine #SelfCare” username=”BusyBeingPaula”]
What kind of morning routine do I need?
Now, I am well aware that morning routines differ widely from one person to the next. A stay-at-home-mom of 11-month twins has a much different morning schedule than a senior in college finishing her student teaching. And both of those women have a markedly different routine from the doctor at Children’s Hospital with two kids in high school.
So rather than simply sharing with you my morning routine (I’m sure many of you would pass on the 4:20 wake up anyway…) I’m providing you with the tools to develop your own ideal morning routine. I’ve created a free worksheet that guides you through the process, and I’ve offered several different suggestions for activities you might include.
Are you ready to start your day off right? Great! Then read on.
Establish your morning routine
If you only take away two points of information from this post today…remember these two guidelines:
First, start your day well-rested.
You won’t enjoy your morning routine if you have to trudge through each step bleary-eyed and half asleep. (If you have trouble getting in those important 7-8 hours a night, this post on establishing a bedtime routine might help!)
Believe me, I know getting enough sleep is a challenge for many people – I’m often struggling to get in the hours myself. But it’s amazing how much better your day is when you’re well rested. So guideline number one, push yourself to get to bed on time as often as possible.
I’m working toward that goal right there with you.
Second, leave yourself more than enough time to complete your routine.
Another major benefit of following a morning routine is that you’re taking time first thing in the morning to do what’s important to you. If you don’t leave yourself enough time, however, those once-enjoyable activities will feel more like tasks on a “to-do” list. This completely defeats the purpose. By overestimating the time you need by about 10 minutes, you have a little wiggle room for when the unexpected (inevitably) arises.
p.s. using my FREE worksheet will help ensure that you manage your time well.
Three important questions:
As you sit down to plan your morning routine, start by asking yourself these three important questions:
- “What type of morning person am I, and what type of routine do I need?”
Are you a person who wants a peaceful, relaxing wake up with gentle meditation, 10 minutes of reading while sipping a cup of coffee, followed by some light stretching? Or are you a person who wants to jump out of bed directly into your gym clothes, head straight to your early morning class, and follow up with a hot shower, a fresh cup of coffee, a bowl of oatmeal, and 15 minutes of blogging? (That’s my routine, by the way).By answering this very basic question, you are on your way to creating a routine that’s perfect for you. There’s no sense in forcing a routine that doesn’t add value to your day, because then you’re just wasting time. Think about what you want to start your day off right.
- Fill in the blank: “If I just had 10-20 more minutes in the day, I would absolutely do ____.”
It’s often those little moments of “me time” – reading, journaling, meditation, yoga – that are the first to go when your day fills up with “must-dos.” What do you miss the most on those busy days/weeks/months? What would add value to your life if you did them again? Choose 2-3 things, and include them in your routine.
- “Realistically, how much time can I allow for my morning routine?”
If your normal morning is a 30-minute frenzy packed from the moment you get out of bed to the moment you get in the car, you probably shouldn’t create a morning routine that’s an additional 30-40 minutes long. It’s just unrealistic. Keep the time frame reasonable so you actually fit it in.
Once you’ve answered the above three questions, then start planning your morning routine!
First, make a list of things you need to include (getting ready for the day, eating breakfast, getting the kids ready for school, letting out the dog, etc.) and the things you want to include (a 30 minute run, 10 minutes of journaling, reading the newspaper, sitting down for an actual breakfast etc.)
Next, figure out how long each of these activities will take.
Then, working backward from the time you need to “begin the day,” decide what time you need to wake up.
Finally, add an extra 10 minutes for wiggle room.
Are you looking for ideas to include in your morning routine? Don’t worry, I have you covered! Here are 25 ideas, divided into five categories, including: waking up, mindfulness, organize, physical activity, and nourishment.
So tell me, what’s on your morning routine? Let me know below!