I am NOT a morning person at all. My bed is COMFORTABLE. If I could stay in bed until noon and then get back in bed by 4 PM I would.
Who wants to get out of bed when it’s so warm and comfy? You do I’m guessing! That’s why you clicked on this post.
In the professional world, you will find routines everywhere. In businesses, there are opening and closing routines, for event planning, there are routines for setting it up, and daily work routines when you’re self-employed. Having set ways in any process increases productivity and limits mistakes.
For example, you brush your teeth every day in every morning and evening. This is to prevent cavities and keep your gums clean. If you are self-employed with a team under you, you have a Monday meeting every week to check in with your team and make sure issues are resolved.
These examples are routines that produce positive outcomes and minimizes issues along the way. Creating a productive morning routine is essential if you want to increase your productivity and reach your goals.
So how do you have a productive morning routine when all you want to do is stay in bed? I’ve got the answers for you! It’s all about creating a routine that works for you and not sweating it if you don’t always follow it perfectly.
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What Is a Morning Routine?
A morning routine is a set of rituals that you do before “starting your day”. A productive morning routine will look different for everyone because we all have a different definition of “productivity” and different needs.
A morning routine can include anything from journaling to eating breakfast, to stretching.
Why Should You Have a Morning Routine?
Research shows that the early morning can be an optimal time for getting your creative juices flowing.
Also practically, it can be easier to get things down in the morning, before the reality of the day and all the things that you have to do set in.
Think about it, after doing all the things on your to-do list, is getting some journaling time or reading time in a top priority?
Productive Morning Routine Ideas
Journaling is one of my favorite ways to collect my thoughts and reflect. I personally prefer journaling as part of my evening routine, but journaling can just as easily be incorporated into what you do every morning.
Not sure where to start with journaling? I made a post about how to start a journal as well as have even more posts about journaling (with journaling prompts included of course!)
- Journaling Prompts for Mental Health
- Journaling Prompts for Self-Love
- Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery
Give Yourself An Hour
Dedicate at least one hour to focus on your mental health. This can be reading a good book, journaling/writing, meditating, or stretching. This may seem like a lot of time at first but you’ll see how beneficial taking one hour is for your mental health.
I love and it is one of the things that I feel like I don’t do enough of, especially reading for just pure pleasure. If reading is something that you’d like to do more of, make it a part of your morning routine.
You can read for pleasure, personal, or professional development. I prefer to read physical books because I like to write in them, but you can use ebooks (like with Kindle) or audiobooks (through a service like Audible).
Don’t forget to check out your local library for books too! Libraries are where my love of reading started.
Start with the Hardest Task First
Once you are ready to start your workday, start with the most difficult task first. Get it out of the way so that it isn’t sitting in your mind and causing you stress. Once you get this task done you will feel more motivated to finish off your tasks successfully.
Meditation is a wonderful practice that can help you start the day calm and centered. If you’re just getting started with meditation, there are many apps and YouTube videos that you can use to help with meditation.
The easiest way to get started with meditation is just to start. Put on a timer for 5 minutes and just sit with your thoughts.
Many people believe that you need to have an absolutely clear mind to meditate “properly”. That is FAR from the case. Take your thoughts as they come and allow yourself to just be in the moment.
Affirmations are positive statements about yourself or your situation. They usually start with an “I am” statement but can be anything positive that you like.
One of my favorite affirmations is “May I let love in”. I actually have a bracelet that I wear every day to remind me of it.
Some ways that you can use positive affirmations in your morning routine are to write them down in a journal, say them to yourself in the mirror, or record them so you can listen to them.
Below are some more posts about affirmations and how to use them.
Body movement is any way that you’d like to move your body that makes you feel good. For some people, this might be running (not me) or for others, it might be getting on an exercise bike (also not me). It is beneficial to get some body movement, in the mornings. You boost your metabolism and release endorphins to start your day.
Wake Up Earlier
If you usually get up around 6:30, set your alarm for 5 or 5:30 and give yourself extra time to complete a morning routine. If you wake up earlier in the morning, you can get more done without having to rush.
Plan Out Your day
Sit down and write out what you need to do every morning. This can be appointments, workload, or extracurricular activities. When you plan out your day the morning of it increases productivity and allows you to not miss anything as you go throughout the day.
Eat Breakfast (and Drink Water)
Start your morning with a nutritious breakfast. Feeding your body with nutritious food improves your mind and functions. If you try to work on an empty stomach in the morning you can feel the brain fog until you eat. If you eat a high-carb meal at lunch, you feel an afternoon crash. Find which foods improve your productivity, not hinder it.
Start your morning off with a glass of water. Pour it the night before and set it on your nightstand for when you wake up. Drinking a glass as soon as you wake up get your organs functioning correctly for better productivity.
Spend Time With Your Family
This one might be a little more difficult than the rest on this list, depending on where your family is and their schedules. But if you can get some time in with them in the morning, it is worth it!
You don’t want work to consume your time and limit the quality time you need with your family. Set aside time in the morning to eat breakfast together, drink coffee together and be with each other before you all start your day.
Block Emails/Social Media
Out of all the things on this list, blocking emails and social media has been been the best for my productivity. I don’t know about you, but I could spend hour scrolling on Facebook and not get anything done.
Just yesterday I took off one of the limits (10 minutes per hour) on Facebook that I have. Why? Because it was the weekend and I wanted to be on Facebook more.
About 2 hours later I realized that I had just spent the majority of that 2 hours scrolling on Facebook and had gotten nothing that I wanted to do done. I immediately put the limit back on.
I also love blocking emails and social media because, for at least a couple of hours in the morning, you can focus on yourself and what you’re doing, instead of what other people are doing (or want you to do).
If you can’t block everything, you can start with disabling push notifications. If you’re not reminded to check it, you may find yourself using it less.
Listen to Podcasts
Listening to podcasts is one of my favorite ways to be productive in the morning because it’s something I can easily do while doing other things.
I usually listen to podcasts while I’m in the bathroom doing my ~bathroom things~. Sometimes I listen to podcasts for my personal or professional development, but sometimes I listen to ones that are just fun.
If you have any podcast recommendations, I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Here are some of the ones that I’m currently loving (these are all Spotify links by the way, but you can find all of these on your preferred podcast app):
- Light Up the Couch – topics focused on therapy/counseling/mental health
- TedTalks Daily – a variety of interesting topics from thought leaders around the world
- The Clever Girls Know – personal finance
- Why Won’t You Date Me – comedic takes on being single, dating, and relationships
How To Keep Yourself Accountable
Creating a routine sounds great but how can you keep yourself accountable. Your plans won’t work if you don’t implement them consistently.
You need to start with the right mindset. Have your goals and aspirations in mind for this new routine. Why do you want to do this? How will it benefit you? Once you nail why this is important to you, it will be easier to achieve every morning. Let’s face it, it’s hard to wake up early, remember why you are starting.
Get an accountability partner. This can be your family or friends. Have them try the routine with you and accompany you in some routines. For example, work out with your friends so that you have a reason to go. If your partner wants to wake up early, keep each other accountable and don’t allow each other to snooze.
You should also prep the night before. If you know you are going to work out in the morning or write in your journal set those items out before bed the night before. Set out your clothing and put your journal next to them so you remember to keep your routine.
Lastly, start small, don’t try to overload yourself with high expectations. Start smaller accountability and gradually work your way up to a full routine. No one can easily wake up an hour earlier every day and get a workout in. Be patient and set realistic goals.
When you achieve these small steps and stay consistent, reward yourself for keeping up. Grab a special coffee on your way to work, get yourself a new pair of shoes or watch a movie that night. Find ways to reward yourself when you notice consistency.
Once you implement these changes you’ll notice how easier it gets to be consistent and enjoy your new routine.
Sample Productive Morning Routine
Make your morning routine a priority for you daily. You know what works best for you, choose items on this list or off this list to create the perfect routine for you. Think about things you need to do in the mornings such as pack a lunch or work out. Add this to the list for your morning routine.
Now that you have all these ideas of what you could do, you’re probably wondering how exactly to put it all together.
So I’ve created a sample simple morning routine that you can do (or modify it to fit your needs). The best routine is one that you love and that you’ll stick to!
5:30 am – Wake up & drink water
5:45 am – Grab your clothes and get a workout in
6:15 am – Stretch & create a plan for today
6:45 am – Shower and get ready for the day
7:20 am – Eat breakfast with your family
7:45 am – Head to work
This routine is simple but effective. If you notice something you are doing that isn’t working or seems exhausting to do, cut it out. You don’t want anything to cause fatigue or slow you down. Once you create a routine you will feel better and have more energy. If you’ve been feeling unproductive and wanting to fix it, create a routine. It may take a few tries but once you get it right, it may be the key to your success.
Now let’s be completely honest. Do I do this productive morning routine every day?
Why not? Because I’m human. Sometimes I just want to lay in bed for an extra hour (or two) and watch two grown men in their 40s figure out which restaurant serves the best bread.
What do you think about these ideas? Which one would help you feel most productive? Let me know in the comments!
Remember, a good morning routine is one that you will stick to!
Briana Hollis is a licensed social worker and self-care coach. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 and her Master of Education from Tiffin University in 2019. She has spent the last 5 years working in crisis intervention. Her passion for serving others is the heart of this site. She started Learning To Be Free to assist others in bringing freedom to their lives.