Martha Stewart nailed it when she said… Life is too complicated not to be orderly. And there are few lifestyle habits that can help us to be orderly and productive as having a morning routine can.
Without structure and rules, I for one, am more vulnerable to procrastination and my old unhelpful habits can take over. Until I started many of my productivity hacks and morning routine, I was all over the place. 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 at work. Let’s just say, I was forever apologizing and splaining.
Routines are one of the things that helped me to be more orderly, more productive, and to check off more of the important stuff on my to-do list. If you have a lot going on, or want to want to stress less, having one can help you too.
It’s not just CEOs, high-performance athletes, and organization experts who are using morning routines to help them perform at a higher level. Everyday people, especially moms and young entrepreneurs are using morning routines to help them run their lives better.
Morning routines and willpower
Tip: In the mornings is when we should be doing those things that require the most willpower.
This thing we call willpower is most reliable in the mornings and since my willpower (and most people’s) clocks out around 3 pm, I try to do the two things that help me the most, exercise and meditation, in the morning.
I have a 90-minute morning routine that I’ve refined over the years, but if this is your first time setting one up, I recommend you start with a morning routine that’s 60-minutes or less. I also highly recommend breaking up your routine into 2-parts. As you’re starting out, you may be tempted to give up the whole thing if your routine is too long or complicated. In two parts, you treat part one as the must-dos… the habits that you’ll work first to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Think of these as the minimum that you do every day.
PART ONE: THE FIRST 30 MINUTES
The purpose of the first part of your routine is to center yourself and to get your mind right. It can take 30 minutes or less, but for this illustration, I’m using 30 minutes. In this first section, look for the most impactful habits to start your day with, look for easy-wins, and habits that can transform you from the inside out.
Suggestions for the first part of your morning routine:
Anything that you do in bed: If you do it in bed, obviously you want to do that first. Think meditation, journaling, reading, sex.
No-brainers: Get those simple quick wins out of the way before or soon after you get out of bed. My glass of water with lemon or ACV is one example. I do that within 10 minutes of getting out of bed because trainers and dieticians tell me it fires up your metabolism… after 8 hours without drinking any (while we’re sleeping), our bodies have become dehydrated.
New habits: If you’re still integrating a new habit into your life, make it a priority by doing it “first thing.” Are you working on being more organized? Make your bed or write your to-do list for the day. Working on eating better? Set out your meals.
Sacred and introspective practices: Do your affirmations, meditation or prayer to set your mind right.
Physical habits: Exercise gives me an energy boost in the morning and helps to keep me more alert during the day. I do at least 45 minutes because I need to, but a 5-minute yoga stretch or a 10-minute walk outside with your furry friend can be just as beneficial to you.
Focus on making this part of your routine stick. You can add part two later, or right away, but consider these, energy-builders the second step in leveling up.
PART TWO: THE NEXT 30 MINUTES
Morning routines shouldn’t be a set of rigid tasks to better yourself, the best ones help us out. I looked at what I’m wanting most, more energy, and created my morning routine around that. And more energy is what so many of us are looking for. It’s no wonder why drinking coffee is the number one habit in most people’s morning routines.
Here are some other energy-builders you should consider adding to your routine. Just by focusing on habits that build energy, you can ensure that your whole day runs better.
For physical energy
1. Have something to eat, ideally a piece of protein or a smoothie.
2. Have coffee.
3. Exercise. People who work out in the mornings are less likely to skip it during the day when life and their responsibilities take over.
4. Take your vitamins.
For mental and emotional energy
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.
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.
If you’re wanting to build confidence, your morning routines should have plenty of activities to help you do that. In your routine, you might set aside 30 minutes to write your book or work on your side hustle. Or it might include working on a hobby, a skill, or exercises to transform your limiting belief.
We become who we want to be and get to levels where we know we belong by prioritizing and making sure the things and steps to help us get there, are getting done. Left until the afternoon or the end of the day, these really important things never get done.
Here’s wishing you less stressful mornings and more successful days!
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. Using systems, routines, and some psychological trickery, she can help almost anyone hack their mind and life for greater productivity. Email email@example.com to find out if she's available for one-on-one work.