The surprising thing your morning routine should include.
Do you start your day in chaos and end it feeling unaccomplished? Or do you start your day reacting to other people's needs before addressing your own, only to realize that you run out of time and on top of it are too burnt out to focus on yourself?
You're not alone. With the increase in demand from our instant gratification culture and the addictive nature of social media — it can feel like you're swimming against the current just to stay afloat day to day. So what is my secret tool to combat the distraction and unpredictability? Having a morning routine.
Gets you in a positive mindset.
About a year ago my morning routine was quite different. I would wake up, make coffee, and immediately check my work email. There was rarely anything urgent that it needed to be dealt with at 6:30 in the morning - but I had convinced myself it was better to get a head start on the day. Instead I would get unnecessarily riled up over the tiniest things and I had a hard time letting go. [I recently learned that this is a trademark of the F part of my INFJ personality type]
These days I make a conscious effort to stay away from my email until I absolutely have to. Instead I spend my morning doing breathing exercises and yoga to wake up my body and energize my mind. I listen to professional development podcasts that help me think of creative ways to tackle issues in my day job, or my side job or maybe both. The point is if you start your day with positive energy your day is more likely to have more positive energy.
Helps you to be more productive.
Think of how productive you would be if you tackled your biggest task with our procrastination. It's called Eat That Frog and I am obsessed. Whether it's a work project that I have been dragging my feet on or a blog post I need to finish - I make it the first thing on my list for the day. This is where not checking my phone comes into play the most. For me that's the reward I get for completing that major task. Whatever works for you as a reward, maybe it's coffee or going for a walk.
Save time by eliminating choices.
If you're like me and have difficulty concentrating or gets distracted at the drop of a hat — eliminating choices can be a hefty time saver. For example in the morning I am not at my most creative. So things like picking out my work outfit, deciding what to make for lunch or what workout I want to do are not ideal for mornings. Those decisions are much better made in the evening and then in the morning I just grab and go.
So what is my personal morning routine? Well I have two - depending on it if it's my day to go to work early or my day to care for the dogs. The one thing both have in common? No social media scrolling. Yes that's right I tap into my social apps until I have crossed at least a few things off my to-do list. Ok you may see me posting pics of my pups on my IG stories [guilty] but there is no scrolling.
In fact we don't even keep our phones in the bedroom anymore. Yes - we have a REAL alarm clock. It's hard to get distracted by something that isn't even there. It also makes bedtime more relaxing. I also don't eat breakfast - which I would estimate saves me at least 30 minutes of time every morning.
Early to work day:
6:00 am: Wake up - go to the kitchen and put on the kettle for coffee. Take pre-packed lunches out of the fridge & put on counter for Ralph, pack into backpack for me.
6:05 am: 5 minutes of mindfulness/breathing/strengthing/yoga
6:10 am: Shower, get dressed, apply make up
6:45 am: Leave for work. Listen to podcast on the drive.
7:15 am: Get to work - DO NOT check email - dive right into first major task for the day.
9:00 am: Take a break to post on social media/read comments/read personal email
9:15 am: Back to work
Walk the dogs day:
6am: Wake up - leash up the pups and take them outside.
6:20 am: Feed dogs. Take pre-packed lunches out of the fridge & put on counter for Ralph, pack into backpack for me.
6:30 am: 5 minutes of mindfulness/breathing/strengthing/yoga.
6:35 am: Shower, get dressed, apply make up.
7:10 am: Take dogs for a walk / maybe to the dog park
8:00 am: Back home - post on social media/read comments/read personal email.
8:15 am: Leave for work
Somewhere in that time - MOST days - I do one thing you probably would say is a waste of time. I make my bed. Did you know that people who make their beds are happier and more productive? Truthfully this was never a priority when we had a big house and I could shut my bedroom door upstairs and not see it until the evening. Now that we live in a smaller apartment and the bedroom is always visible there's something relaxing about having the bed made as one of the first steps in my day. Sure you could say that extra five minutes elsewhere but if it starts your day off on a good note and helps you to be more productive why wouldn't you do it?
Now does this routine always go to plan 100% of the time? Heck to the no. Does my day look like this down to the exact minute every single day? Absolutely not. Some mornings I crawl back into bed with the pups for a few more minutes of sleep while I wait for the coffee to brew. I get distracted by my phone. I forget to pick out my outfit the night before and I take far too long standing in front of my closet agonizing over what to wear. I am human.
However on days when I can stick to a routine I find I am more relaxed, more productive, and at the end of the day feel more accomplished. As a result I feel more at ease as my day ends — which leads into a better morning the next day. It all comes full circle.
I hope you find at least one of these tips helpful and can implement them into your own morning routine. Leave a comment and let me know — do you have any of these habits already or which one can you see yourself starting right away?