A morning routine helps set the tone for your day. If you hit the snooze button and rush around to leave for work on time, your day will start on a stressful and disorganized note. Why not get up early enough to take your time getting ready, and include some activities that boost your mood and health? Doing so allows you to leave the house in a more peaceful, productive state. If you think you cannot possibly get out of bed any earlier, the good news is you don’t have to. If sleep is a priority, streamline your routine so it takes less time to get out the door.
Everyone has a different idea of the perfect morning routine. Someone with small children and a long commute will have different priorities than someone who is childless with a quick trip on public transit.
Here are some things to consider including in your morning routine: time to sit quietly with a cup of coffee or tea before you start your day, a sit-down breakfast, reading a chapter or two in a book, meditation, writing in a journal. Incorporate options that interest you and leave the ones that don't for after work — or never. Carving out a little time in the morning is often the best way to accomplish something important to you that often falls to the wayside as the day progresses.
Work backward from the time you need to leave the house to determine what time you should wake up. Be realistic when estimating. One of the goals of a morning routine is to remove that feeling of rushing around. If the proposed wake up time seems too early, take a look at your list and modify it. Often, less is more when developing a routine.
Once you decide to build a morning routine, the temptation is to go all-in. To improve your odds of success, though, start slow. It can take 28 days to build a habit. If you are adding something you know you will struggle with, like exercising, you may want to give yourself the full 28 days to really settle into it before adding something new. A smaller habit, such as sitting with your coffee and reading instead of grabbing a cup on your way out the door, may only need a few days.
Set your clothes out, pack your lunch, and make sure the coffee pot is ready to go. If you want to add exercise to your morning routine, have your workout clothes within arms’ reach of your bed. Look at each item on your morning routine and think of any way you can make them easier with some evening prep work.
Some of your new routine activities may not pan out. You may decide to go to the gym after work, find that you are too focused on the day ahead to have much success meditating, or learn that stopping off at your local coffee shop rather than having your coffee at home is a more pleasant start to your day. There is nothing wrong with modifying your routine, but give each activity a chance before scratching it off the list.
Sleep is often a sticking point in a morning routine. Maybe you need to break the snooze habit. Some people just have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. The first step in dealing with this issue is to look at what time you go to bed. Are you giving yourself the seven to nine hours of sleep you need each night? If not, that may be the reason you struggle to get out of bed. Look for ways to move your bedtime earlier. If you just can't part with the cozy covers, consider putting your alarm clock or cellphone across the room so you have to get up to shut off the alarm. This habit can also help you stop looking at your phone in bed.
Once you have an established routine, take the time to consider the activities. Are there some that you look forward to and others that don’t add much value? Assess your morning routine and make sure it works for you. Reclaim the time taken by activities that aren't working and redirect it toward something more beneficial.
You will have mornings you oversleep, don’t manage to fit in exercise, or otherwise "mess up" your routine. It’s normal — don’t let it get you off track. or serve as an excuse to quit. Instead, jump into your routine as best you can, and salvage the morning. If you find yourself routinely struggling to fit everything in that you want to include, it's time to drop some things from your list or wake up a little earlier. Feeling rushed to complete your morning routine defeats the purpose.
Lack of light makes it challenging to wake up during the dark winter months. An alarm clock that mimics increasing levels of sunlight can be a tremendous help.
If you spend more time than you should deciding what to wear, go through your wardrobe. Set aside anything that doesn’t fit or doesn’t make you feel good. Aim for a closet that only has clothes you want to wear.
If lunches are a struggle, prepare them over the weekend. A difficulty working in meditation, reading, or other relaxation activities often comes from feeling distracted or rushed. Moving those to the end of your morning routine, so you have a clear idea of the amount of time you have before leaving the house, may make it easier to focus.
If you find yourself checking the clock because you tend to get lost in one of your morning activities, consider setting a recurring timer or alarm to ensure you put down the book or turn off the music in time to get your shoes on.
One thing to leave out of your morning routine is social media. Starting your day by doomscrolling through Twitter or checking out everyone else’s pictures on Instagram is often not the most productive and mentally refreshing way to start your day. Aside from the fact that it is easy to lose time while online, the content you are consuming will not add much to your morning. Save it for your coffee break or lunch hour.