Humans are creatures of habit, whether we like it or not. It doesn’t matter your age, where you live, stage you are at in life, career field you are pursuing or you’re established in, we all have a routine. We leave for work at a certain time, we eat lunch around a certain time, we watch a favorite show on a specific day, etc…
There is often some variety in life, but the majority of your days or weeks are spent doing much of the same thing. Including that variety is vital to keeping things interesting, but being able to hone down a routine, especially in the morning, can save you some energy, keep the focus high and reinforce to your mind and body that you’re ready for the day.
- Save mental and physical energy for later in the day when you need it
- Include something you want to do along with what you need to do
- Keep making adjustments to find the right balance
What is a Morning Routine?
One of the most common frameworks you see from those who we define as “successful” is a true morning routine. If done correctly, this is the same steps you take each day to set up a positive day ahead of you. You spend little mental and physical energy going through the routine since you know what to expect and are prepared for it. This saves you for later in the day when you are needing to dip into those mental and physical reserves.
A sample morning routine might look something like his:
- 6 a.m. — Wake up with alarm
- 6:15-6:45 a.m. — Morning run or exercise
- 7-7:30 a.m. — Shower and get dressed
- 7:30 a.m. — Coffee and breakfast
- 8 a.m. — Brush teeth, pack a lunch
- 8:30 a.m. — Leave for work
These same steps would be executed every day. You don’t have to think twice about the order of operations, but at the end of the string of events, you’re ready for the day. Finding that balance between the most you can get done while using the least amount of energy and producing the best outcome is the key.
Now, that example is pretty simple. That’s about the core of what a routine would involve, but you can become quite efficient with a routine that allows you to accomplish quite a bit in just a few hours in the morning.
Order of Events
The best route to building a morning routine is to document all the different tasks you need to do and want to do. In my opinion, taking care of the needs is the top priority and then you can work in the other tasks in the remaining time.
There are certainly multiple ways to accomplish the same group of tasks, but developing an order can help keep things smooth. When my son was a year old, I wouldn’t shower until much later in the morning, but now that he gets up at 6:15, I’ve had to adjust the order a bit. The shower was the last thing and now it’s the first.
In my opinion, if you can string tasks together, that will help keep things efficient. Plus, using a logical order also makes sense. Don’t shower and then workout, for example.
Finding the Start Time and Capacity
For years now, I’ve started my day at 5 a.m. I’m a morning person and have found the peace and quiet while the rest of my family sleeps is a very productive time. Not everyone is like this, though. If you’re a night owl, you need to give yourself the proper time to sleep as well. Working late is not an excuse for a bad night’s sleep. If you are a morning person, then you likely shouldn’t work until midnight anyway. Sleep is a topic for another day, but it is important.
Based on your starting time, you also have an end time. This is commonly when you have to leave for work, your first class, or get the kids off to school. This isn’t when work starts, but when your commute begins. Morning preparation is over at that point.
If all you did were items you need to do, you’re not really helping energize yourself for the day ahead. Doing the absolute minimum isn’t exactly the kickstart you’re looking for. I feel it’s important to get in some of those items you want to do. You can easily make time for those once you know how long it might take you.
This could be working out, journaling, sketching, meditation, a walk round the block, or anything that might just help get the mind and body moving.
Weekdays vs. Weekends
My morning routine for weekdays does look a bit different from weekends. There are many similarities, but I certainly don’t force myself into the same steps when the days may be a bit slower. Make some small adjustments so you can still hit the same core tasks, but you can reorder them or spread them out a bit.
Plus, you might be able to add something since it is the weekend. Keep in mind, this isn’t the whole morning. It’s just the main start of everything.
Give it Time
You actually get a chance to refine and work on your morning routine every day. Don’t lock yourself into the same thing right away. Make some decisions, give it a trial, and make adjustments as needed. Don’t be afraid to make smaller changes or to introduce new things. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then reflect on the reasons why it didn’t click and make some adjustments.
This shouldn’t be stressful. It’s just an organized way to get you moving. Need to get the blood flowing, shake off the fog from sleep, and feel good to get the day going. A morning routine limits the amount of energy needed to make decisions and allows you to keep some more in the tank for when it matters most.