How you start your day can have a big impact on your productivity and mindset. Over the years I have seen my focus and productivity improve when I do my morning routine. In this post, I will share tips to help you create a morning routine. I’ll share my 4 main categories to include and give you some ideas that you can use when you are creating your morning routine.
Do you know that you already have a morning routine? We all have basic routines and rhythms to our day. You might get up, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, get dressed, and have breakfast. While this may not seem like anything too exciting it is a foundation that you can build upon.
How we start our mornings can have a powerful effect on the rest of our day. Don’t worry this post is not about creating some complicated morning routine. In this post, I’ll share tips to help you create a realistic morning routine.
What to include in your Morning Routine
These 4 morning routine categories will help you to create a basic plan that you can add to over time.
The goal of this post is to help you create your own personal morning routine. A short routine that helps you start your days off with self-care, a good mindset, and a plan for your day.
There is one additional thing that I don’t usually include in my morning routine. that is what I like to call, “morning hygiene”. These are very specific to each person and most of us already have a good routine for these things.
Most of us have a basic morning hygiene routine already. Below are some things that I like to include in this section:
- Go to the bathroom
- Brush your teeth
- Wash your face
- Do your morning skin care routine
- Put on contacts
- Do your make up
As I continue this post I will not be including each hygiene item in the morning routine. I will add “morning hygiene” when I’m sharing sample routines.
What to include in your Morning Routine
Your morning self-care might include some of these things:
- Drink a full glass of water
- Quiet Music
- Light a candle
- Scripture reading
- Praying or meditation
Starting your day with exercise can help you have more energy and focus throughout the day.
- Take a short walk outside
- Walk the dog
- Go for a run
Your morning mindset time can include a variety of things. Some mindset items you might want to consider are:
- Write a gratitude list.
- Write out or verbilize your affirmations, “I am… or I can…” statements.
- Put on some uplifting music.
- Reading a non-fiction book.
- Completing a “brain dump” to help clear your mind- Read how I do my daily brain dump here.
Taking a few minutes each morning to plan your day will help you be in control of your day instead of having your day control you.
- List 3 priorities for the day
- Review your calendar to see what commitments you might have
- Review your projects or task list for the day
- Look over your big goals and add an action item to your plan for the day.
- Plan other tasks for the day, consider time blocking to help with this.
Sample 30 minute Morning Routine
- Morning Hygiene (5 minutes )
- Quiet reflection, prayer, or meditation (2 minutes )
- Journaling (3 minutes )
- Yoga (5 minutes )
- Read (10 minutes)
- Planning your day (5 minutes )
Here is an example of my most recent Morning Routine in detail:
Please remember when you read over this example that my morning routine works for me, but I do not do it perfectly every day.
- Morning Hygiene:
- Go to the bathroom
- Brush my teeth
- Wash my face
- Skincare routine – (vitamin C, moisturizer, and sunblock)
- Do my make up
- Get dressed
- Do my hair
- Drink a full glass of water
- Make breakfast and coffee:
- Usually oatmeal or eggs
- Coffee (of course!)
- Look at my phone while breakfast is cooking
- I usually check the weather and news quickly then I check my emails and Instagram for comments or questions.
- Eat Breakfast while reading
- I like to read or listen to a non-fiction book that aligns with my current goals.
- Quiet time.
- Reading a short devotional, prayer, and meditation.
- Brain Dump – I write down all of the things going through my mind in a special notebook.
- Write my affirmations – this is a new practice to me but I’m seeing the benefits the more I do it.
- Planning –
- Review my weekly plan (Maksë Life Planner)
- Review my brain dump
- Review my calendar
- Plan out my day and tasks in my daily planner (from Plum Paper)
- Sometimes I take the dog for a quick walk
You’ll notice I don’t do any morning exercise, I have found that during the school year it is very hard for me to fit in a quick cycle ride or exercise before the kids get up. I sometimes do that when I get home from dropping them off at school or after they get home from school. There are days that I don’t do everything on this list, somedays I skip my brain dump or don’t need to review my calendar. The key is consistency, not perfection.
Creating a special space for your Morning Routine
Decide where you will perform your morning routine. I usually do mine at the dining table unless it is warm enough to go outside on our deck. You may find a cozy spot to do yours. A comfortable chair, couch, or desk is a great place to do this.
I prefer to eat right away so having breakfast and making coffee comes first. I allow myself 2-3 minutes to look at my phone right before I get out of bed (more on this below). I usually do some reading or journaling while having breakfast. I move on to my morning mindfulness practice (this is new to me!) right after.
During the school year, I finish up my morning routine with planning right around 6:45 when the kids are starting to wake up. I try to have my routine finished before the kids come downstairs but sometimes I’m still working on my planning while they eat breakfast.
Simplify your morning routine by preparing the night before
Set out your mug, prepare your coffee, set up your morning journal, bible, or book. Layout your clothes or workout clothes for the next day. Look at your calendar so you know what’s on the schedule tomorrow. Every night I like to get things out for my morning coffee. I also leave my planner out so I’m ready to jump in.
One mindset trick I’ve been using is to visually walk through your morning routine right before I fall asleep. I try to picture waking up getting ready for the day and doing each step of my morning routine. This has really helped me to look forward to the mornings instead of dreading them. This is especially helpful when I have appointments or a very busy day ahead.
Be flexible when creating your morning routine
Your Morning Routine is not written in stone
I try to keep my morning routine time a no-phone zone however, I do allow myself 2-3 minutes to look at my phone first thing in the morning. It’s one of those graces that I allow myself so I don’t feel the need to check my phone while I am in the middle of my morning routine. Allowing myself a little time to indulge has helped me to be more focused during the rest of my morning routine.
If I wake up 30 minutes late I use a shorter version of my morning routine but I try not to skip the most important parts. You may want to write out a shorter version of your routine for mornings like this. If you have little ones who are up early plan to give them an activity to do while you do your routine, or include them if possible (even little children like to go for a morning walk, or mimic mom doing yoga. Compromise is key to keeping up with this new habit.
Resources to help you form the perfect morning routine:
- Brain Dump Trigger List – download and print this list to help you get everything out of your mind and on paper each day.
- Time Blocking 101 – If you are new to planning, using a time blocking calendar might be helpful as you plan your days.
- Deep Work – I mention Cal Newport’s book in my Time Blocking post. His book is a must-have and discusses morning routines, so you might find it helpful.
- Daniel Pink’s book, “When” – this book will help you to better understand when you do your best work. So all of you who say, “I’m not a morning person” you’re not wrong!
Maybe you’re not a morning person
Don’t worry, morning routines don’t have to be done first thing in the morning. I often finish my morning routine after the kids head off to school before I start my workday. There are no rules. The important thing is to take time for YOU. Time for self-care and reflection, time to move your body, set your mind for the day ahead, and create a simple plan. You do not need to wake up at 5 am!
Having trouble starting your morning routine?
Start small. Add one new step to your routine each week. I recommend starting with some kind of quiet time. That might be a time of prayer or meditation. Next, I recommend adding in a time to write. I prefer to do a brain dump first, this allows me to really clear my mind before the day begins and I often use this page to plan my day. Once you are consistent with your newly added task consider adding another.
Download the Ideas for your Perfect Morning Routine List and Morning Routine Tracker
You should receive your download link via e-mail within the hour. Be sure you check your SPAM or Promotions folder if you’re not finding the e-mail. If, after an hour, you have not received your link, please contact me and I’ll help you figure out what happened.
The fine print:
For personal use only. Please do not reproduce or redistribute without written permission. Classroom use is permitted.
I love to be inspired by your ideas too! Leave your morning routine or ideas in the comments below.