There was a time when I wasn’t a fan of rules or schedules and loved living without them. But then I grew up and realized adults and smart people actually live better because of rules… rules that work for them. Having rules that work for us make our lives less chaotic and more focused.
Martha Stewart nailed it when she said, life is too complicated not to be orderly.
Without structure and rules, I became more vulnerable to procrastination. I was often running late and forgetting to bring things I needed or wanted to do like pack healthy snacks, bring a book I need to return, bring my camera that I want to take to the repair shop during lunch, etc. Rules and routines helped change everything for me and helped me be more orderly.
Morning routines help everyone function better
You may see people on social media bragging about morning routines that look nothing like what you want to do, and think, “posers” but lighten up on them. Everyday people, especially moms and young entrepreneurs are using morning routines as one of their productivity hacks. That’s because morning routines benefit almost everyone. They help us save time, build self-discipline and lower stress. They also set us up for more intentional living.
Morning routines and willpower
This thing we call willpower can be fickle but there’s one thing we know, it’s most reliable in the mornings. Willpower wanes as the day goes on and clocks out around 3 pm so we have to be strategic and utilize that time well. We should be trying to get our healthy habits done in the morning and other important things (work and life-related) done by 3 pm.
In the mornings then, is when we should be doing those things that require the most willpower.
Plan your morning routine in two parts
Sixty minutes is the average time for morning routines so I’m using that as the total routine time in our example here. I’m splitting the time in half for each part, but of course, you should adjust according to your schedule and preference. If you don’t need 30 minutes for the first part of your routine, make that a shorter time. The point though is to break your routine into two parts. Part One is exclusively for you.
PART 1: THE FIRST 30 MINUTES
Think about the best way for YOU to spend the first 30 minutes of your bright spanking new day. To make the start to your day personal and beneficial to you, do tasks that make it worth it to get out of bed. I suggest adding at least one uplifting item to this part of your morning.
Here are some habits to consider doing in the first 30 minutes of getting up
- Do the no-brainers… Just go ahead and get simple beneficial wins out of the way, especially if it’s something that takes just a moment to do.
- If part of your routine takes place in bed, obviously do that during the first part of your routine.
- Do any new habit you’re still working into your lifestyle. The “first-things-first” approach will help to strengthen your commitment and increase the likelihood of you sticking to that habit for good.
- Do something sacred or uplifting–an affirmation, meditation or prayer.
- Do something physical–a 5-minute stretch, a 15-minute walk outside or time spent with your furry friend.
Part 1 Habit Suggestions:
- A no-brainer I do and highly recommend is to have a glass of water with lemon or ACV. This jump starts our body systems and gives us a little pep of energy.
- Getting outside for 10-15 minutes is helpful if you suffer from any mood disorder like anxiety or depression, if you have cortisol imbalance, or if making exercise a habit is crucial to your health in any way. I have an underactive thyroid and don’t take prescription meds so exercise is a crucial part of my thyroid health regimen.
- Meditate or do something else that’s spiritual or affirming for you. If you’re not a fan of meditation (or prefer to do yours at night), a walk in the morning is a great time to contemplate the day.
- Journal or read for 5 minutes.
- If you’re working on being more organized, stick an organized habit like making the bed or tidying up in this part of your routine.
- Start to get the next phase of your morning started… put eggs to boil, start coffee, apply facial, etc.
What you shouldn’t do within the first 30 minutes of waking up. Almost no one ever needs to check their phone or social media feed within the first 30 minutes of their day. The first few minutes after we wake up is when we’re most connected to our genius, intuition and most open for clear thinking. You miss all that good stuff if you jump into the world instead of tapping into you.
PART 2: THE NEXT 30 MINUTES
Even if you work from home, getting dressed should be part of the next phase of your morning routine. Here are ten things organized by benefits that you can add to your morning routine to make your day the best it can be.
Part 2 Habit Suggestions:
For physical energy
- Have something to eat, ideally a piece of protein or a wake-me-up smoothie.
- Have your cup of coffee. Limit your day to 2 cups and try to cut down to one for life.
- Exercise. People who work out in the mornings are less likely to skip it during the day when willpower wanes and your schedule may be dictated by responsibilities. If you can’t get your workout in first thing, try to do it before 12noon — maybe right before lunch?
- Take your vitamins.
For your emotional life
- Repeat an affirmation or your chosen mantra.
- Journal for 5 minutes or spend it with a pet or person.
- Read the funnies.
For mental edge
- Make your bed. It leaves you with an immediate sense of accomplishment and is one of those little-known habits of successful people.
- Think about the most important things you want to accomplish today and envision yourself doing them. As you’re brushing your teeth, in the shower, applying makeup or getting dressed, think about how you want to feel.
- Check your handbag, pack lunch and/or healthy snacks (nuts, a banana or apple, seaweed crips, a yogurt).
Breaking the routine in two separate parts keep one sacred and the other practical. There are many benefits to crafting your routine in 2 parts but the most obvious is the habit of centering yourself.
With morning routines, we get more of the important stuff done and we’re less stressed as we prepare to meet the day. Here’s to you having more successful days.