Martha Stewart nailed it when she said… Life is too complicated not to be orderly.
Without structure and rules, I for one, am more vulnerable to procrastination. Until I started many of my productivity hacks and morning routine, I was running late all the time. I would forget to pack healthy snacks for the road or a book I wanted to loan someone. If I wanted to practice photography on my lunch break, I might forget to bring my camera because it was in the closet (out of sight). Routines are helping me to be more orderly, more productive and to check off more of the important stuff on my to-do list.
Everyday people, especially moms and young entrepreneurs are using morning routines as a productivity tool, and so can you no matter what you do.
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. What you learn as you become more productive is that you have to be strategic in how you use your time. You and I should be trying to get our healthy habits done in the morning and other important tasks (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.
With that said, let me share a 2-part way to structure (or plan) your morning routine. Part 1 should be sacred and Part 2 is when you do the practical must-dos. This delineation reminds you to take care of yourself first. Deciding how much time to dedicate to each part of your routine is up to you but for the purposes of my example, I’m splitting a 60-minute routine into two 30-minute parts.
PART ONE: THE FIRST 30 MINUTES
The purpose of the first part of your routine is to center yourself and get your mind right. Think about the best way for YOU to do that. How would you like to spend the first part of your bright spanking new day? What things would help get you and your day humming.
Anything that you do in bed: Think meditation, journaling, reading, sex… If you do it in bed, obviously you want to do that first.
No-brainers: You want to get simple quick wins out of the way. My glass of water with lemon or ACV is one example. I do that within 10 minutes of getting out of bed because it’s muy importante and I don’t want to forget to do it.
New habits: If you’re still integrating a new habit into your life, give it priority by doing it “first thing.” Working on being more organized? Make your bed. Working on eating better? Set out your meals.
Sacred or uplifting practices: An affirmation, meditation or prayer can be a powerful practice to set your mind right.
Physical habits: Some physical habits are hugely beneficial to our health others may help to wake up. By doing these first, you get the energy boost to start your day. Examples are a 5-minute yoga stretch or a 10-minute walk outside with your furry friend if you have one.
What you shouldn’t do within the first 30 minutes of waking up.
The first few minutes after we wake up is when we’re most connected to our genius, intuition and have the clearest thinking. Never check your phone first thing. You miss all that good stuff if you jump into the world instead of tapping into you.
PART TWO: THE NEXT 30 MINUTES
Here are ten things, organized by benefits, that you can add to the second part of your routine to make your day the best it can be. You’ll notice some activity overlap with Part one. That’s because the same activity can have a different meaning for different people. We’re all organizing our mornings according to what makes sense for us.
For physical energy
1. Have something to eat, ideally a piece of protein or a smoothie.
2. Have coffee. Limit to 2 cups and try to cut down to one for life.
3. Exercise. People who work out in the mornings are less likely to skip it during the day when willpower wanes and schedules may be dictated by responsibilities.
4. Take your vitamins.
For your emotional life
5. Repeat an affirmation or your chosen mantra.
6. Journal for 5 minutes or spend it with a pet or person.
7. Read the funnies.
For mental edge
8. Make your bed. It leaves you with an immediate sense of accomplishment.
9. Visualization. Think about the most important things you want to accomplish today and envision yourself doing them. As you’re brushing your teeth, taking a shower, applying makeup or getting dressed, envision how you want to feel and perform all day.
10. Pack lunch and healthy snacks.
Here’s wishing you have more successful days!