For a long time, my morning routine was more of a nice idea than a reality.
I wanted to wake up fresh and rested and jump right into a productive whirlwind.
But when I stayed up late (too often!) or woke up stressing about a long to-do list, I just lacked the motivation to jump into a morning routine.
And then one day I realized that the problem wasn’t lack of sleep, or a stressful schedule.
What I really needed was a routine that would help me feel motivated and ready to tackle the day.
A routine that would help me get everything ready, even if I wasn’t feeling it.
After several months, my revised morning schedule is still a work in progress, but I can tell you that I’m so much more focused and on task than I used to be!
If you’re looking for ways to make your morning routine work for you, check out the tips below.
1. Review your goals.
Look at the big picture first. What do you want to accomplish in the morning? Include as many things as you think of – you can narrow your list later. Major goals might look something like this:
- have a quiet cup of coffee and devotion
- take a jog
- get a shower and dress
- fix breakfast
- get kids off to school
Write out your goals in a planner or bullet journal, to keep them top of mind.
2. Take little steps.
Sometimes it’s not the goals themselves that trip us up, but all the little steps it takes to get there.
Keys that are lost. Papers that aren’t signed. Running shoes that are missing.
Once you’ve written out the goals you want to accomplish, break everything down into small steps to make it as manageable as possible.
Would it help to set the table the night before? Check book bags before the kids go to bed? Pick out your reading material and place it by your chair?
Your morning routine should take into account all of the little steps it takes to get the big things done. And if those things can be done easier in advance, that’s even better.
3. Pace yourself.
When there’s a deadline looming, I push myself hard and stay focused until my task is complete. But afterwards, I’m mentally drained, and have to take a break before I move on to the next thing.
Frankly, I’m a lot more efficient when I plan reasonable amounts of time for each activity. Then I transition easily from one project to the next, and get more done, in the long run.
Mornings shouldn’t be a race – at least, not EVERY morning. Build enough time in your morning routine so that you feel good about your day when you’ve finished.
4. Reschedule when it makes sense.
As you consider what you need to do, and how long it takes to do it, look for things that could be re-arranged in your schedule to work better.
For instance, if you unload the dishwasher before going to bed at night, you won’t have to do it in the morning.
If you put dirty dishes in the wash before heading out the door in the morning, you will come home to a cleaner house.
Instead of looking through book bags in the morning before sending the children off to school, consider making that part of a night-time routine.
There are lots of little things that actually could be done at some time other than during the morning rush. Try to keep only the most critical things in your morning routine.
5. Eliminate distractions.
I used to love to watch the news as I had coffee and fixed breakfast. It made me feel like I had a better handle on my world.
I had an epiphany, however, when I realized that it was actually slowing me down.
Those few minutes I was spending focused on current events were stealing even bigger chunks of time from my day, as my creativity was squelched and my attention was diverted.
I still watch the news – I’m not burying my head in the sand – but it’s no longer part of my morning routine. Instead, I save it for later in the day, when my mind is already beginning to lull into a midday slump.
6. Treat your “me” time as a priority.
You’ve probably heard it before: you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
This applies not only to your physical well-being, but to your emotional and spiritual well-being as well.
Be sure to include something in your morning routine that starts your day off with some spiritual and emotional nourishment.
Have morning devotions. Set aside time for yoga. Take a run if that’s what get’s your mind in the right place. Whatever motivates you and feeds your inner soul should be important to you!
7. Build in a few spare minutes.
The best laid plans go awry – it’s the way of the world. Build some extra time into your morning routine, so that you feel comfortable and relaxed, not stressed and overwhelmed.
Some people set their clocks a few minutes ahead – and if that trick works for you, then do it!
I find that what works best for me is to make my target “finish” time a few minutes before the real deadline, that way, if there is a delay, I’m still o.k.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are all human, and there are only so many things we can do with our limited time, energy, and emotional resources.
As long as you are doing your best, and staying focused on things that are most important to you, you’ll do just fine.
Here’s wishing you many happy mornings ahead!