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Do you have a morning routine? Does it seem like literally everyone is asking you that question? Well, it’s my turn!
There’s a ton of blog posts and articles out there on why you should have a morning routine and why you should do some arbitrary number of things or it doesn’t count. They’ll include things that they think you should do because they think it’s important, like having breakfast or working out early. (I’ll write later about why telling somebody what they should do is a bad idea.)
The reason everyone and their dog is jostling to tell you about their morning routines and why you should have your own is that they WORK.
The intention of a morning routine (or any routine, really: it can be a nightly routine if you’re not an early bird) is to create consistency in your day so that you know what’s coming, you know what you’re going to do, and you have something familiar to return to if you feel like you’re drowning in chaos. For me, it’s a way to get several things done that I know I won’t be able to concentrate enough on in the evenings or might run out of time to do if I don’t do them first thing.
I get more done.
Specifically, those things are spending ten minutes meditating with Headspace, practicing my Spanish using Duolingo, and reading at least 10 pages (or, usually, a whole chapter) from something that’s NOT Fanfiction. This reading habit has gotten me through several more books than I’ve read in recent years; my favorites have been these:
Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
I feel more productive, and I’m consistently working towards my goals instead of just thinking about them.
So I do other things in the morning too, mostly things to better myself (mindfulness) or my craft (forcing myself to write by turning on Cold Turkey Writer and blocking everything until I write a certain number of words).
It’s helped with how I feel about the day, which is amazing.
Previously unrealized structure has been added to my day.
How I got started with a morning routine was a long process. I never had one in college or high school that I can remember; it was mostly just wake up, eat something, get to class. I became a lot more intentional with my mornings after I lost my first “big girl” job and moved in with my in-laws. At that point, my morning routine was a little shaky, and I didn’t do it consistently.
It lets me get an early start.
Right now, I wake up at 4:45 in the morning. No snooze button used.
If you’d told me two years ago that I would voluntarily get up before 5 AM and not hit snooze, I would have laughed in your face and told you “Yeah right! LOL.”
As a kid, I never would have imagined willingly waking up this early for ANY reason other than an early flight or a skiing trip. But, I do it! And it’s helped my mindset dramatically.
I recognized that while sleeping in felt nice (during the sleeping portion) when I stay in bed past 9 AM my mood just TANKS. I get a headache, feel irritable, and I’m more likely to do nothing all day because my peak time for productivity has passed.
It’s helped me learn to go with the flow and change things up when necessary.
When we adopted Luna, our spastic bean loaf, my morning routine had to shift because I now have a mouthy low-fat muffin to feed. (The vet calls her low-fat muffin because she’s a skinny thing. I call her mouthy because she complains when she doesn’t get let into the office whenever she wants.)
Luna changed some things for a few reasons:
- She likes company when she eats.
- Her food bowls are in the kitchen, not the office.
- If I go to the office right after feeding her, she follows. (See points 1 and 2.)
- Bored kitty is a mischievous kitty, and she likes the cords, so she’s not allowed in the office unsupervised.
- I can’t concentrate on my routine if she’s in the office with me and wants attention, so she’s not allowed in the office in the mornings anymore.
Ergo, I changed my routine to accommodate the little crab cake.
So, this is what my morning routine looks like now:
- Wake at 4:45, shower, & dress
- Feed Luna
- Read something that’s not Fanfiction
- Practice Spanish (2 modules of Duolingo Spanish daily is adding up!)
- Meditate for 10 minutes (ideal)
- Read a daily devotion and skim the news
After that, I take care of miscellanies like going through emails, Facebook, and tracking habits from the previous day.
Then it’s off to my day job!
Having this morning routine in place has really helped me get a better grip on my life. Something to remember though is that you should try different things in your morning routine to make it YOURS. Don’t try to copypasta others’ routines and expect to gain the same amount of satisfaction from it as they do. I have no expectation that you’ll copy my morning routine, or anyone else’s for that matter.
My morning routine works for me because I made it work for me.
If I tried to exercise in the morning, my blood sugar would have a bad time, and I would feel as though my day is ruined.
If I tried to have a big hearty breakfast before I go to work, I wouldn’t feel that great, and I’d have less time to do the things I really want to do. I have breakfast, but it’s in the form of a protein/meal replacement shake and consumed at work. I even stopped having coffee during the week, because that’s what works for my lifestyle now.
But wait, why shouldn’t bloggers tell you what you should do during your morning routine?
They don’t know you. I don’t know you, at least not personally. I know you’re here reading this for a reason, but I don’t want to impose what I think you should do during your morning routine – because I have no idea what works best for you! The key to these morning routine posts is not to take each one as a guide for your life, but taken at face value – as in, it works for someone else, but it might not work for you.
I created a free worksheet to help you build out a morning routine – complete with examples to try out, and space to add your own ideas as well as a space for what you end up with.
Take it as an example, and if you think something will work for you, give it a try!Keep what works and leave the rest. Click To Tweet
So what about you? Do you have a morning (or evening) routine? What’s your favorite part of your routine? Let me know in the comments!