I have tried to create many morning routines for myself since becoming a teenager. Not just simple routines (wake up, have breakfast, brush my teeth, pack my bag) but very time-consuming and extreme routines with tons of different morning habits I had to do every day.
These routines were most often inspired by Youtubers or bloggers who would talk about their perfect morning routines, including setting an alarm for 5am, going on a morning run, journaling for half an hour, meditating, making a protein smoothie, going to the gym, reading for half an hour etc. I’m sure you recognise the type of post or video that I’m talking about.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with doing any of these things in the morning, the expectation to fit all of these healthy morning habits into 2-3 hours (assuming that you wake up early enough) seems quite impossible if you work a normal job or go to school. And I would often go into the challenge of creating a “perfect” morning routine feeling really positive and motivated. But after about 3 days of doing this every morning I would lose all motivation because I felt exhausted from not getting enough sleep, my body was aching and it just wasn’t fun anymore.
Recently however, I’ve been thinking about the things that I actually benefit from doing everyday (or most days). I’ve been thinking about the amount of time I have in the mornings and what I can realistically get done in that time.
When coming up with the list for this post, I really tried to ignore all of the “filler habits” that I have tried incorporating into my morning routines in the past that haven’t been very useful for me.
I have gone back to basics and focussed on the fundamentals that I think make for a good morning routine. These tips help to fuel your body and to prepare you for your tasks that you need to get done so that you can have a successful and productive day.
As always, this is not a guide saying that this is the only way you can do things successfully. These tips are simply ideas that you will hopefully find useful when considering your own morning routine. If you don’t feel like you have enough time for all of these things or if you feel like some of them wouldn’t be useful to you then simply don’t include all of them.
- The Sunday Routine That Will Change Your Life
- 8 Productive Things To Do At The End Of Every Month (to prepare for a successful month ahead!)
- 5 Mindful Living Habits You Need to Start Today
1. They plan their day
One of the key elements for having a productive day is to have a plan. Without a plan it’s really easy to put off doing things or to simply forget things that you need to get done.
Write a to-do list
Having a to-do list will help you to make sure that you remember everything you need to get done. To-do lists are also great for motivation because you feel really accomplished when you get to tick something off your list. Therefore, you’ll be more likely to complete your tasks.
You can either have an ongoing to-do list that you add to every day or you can write a new one for each day. It’s up to you! The main thing is that you have one so that you stay accountable.
Prioritise your tasks
The next important step is to prioritise your tasks. It’s very easy to look at your to-do list and just do the small tasks that only take a few minutes. But if you want to be successful you need to tackle your most difficult tasks! These are the tasks that will help you to progress more.
Each morning choose 1-3 important tasks on your list that you will aim to accomplish that day. I usually put a star next to my prioritised tasks so that I remember to focus on these.
Block scheduling is something that I swear by and has been my biggest productivity booster! I briefly mentioned block scheduling in my post 5 Mindful Living Habits You Need To Start Today. Be sure to read that post if you haven’t already!
Block scheduling is when you schedule blocks of time in your calendar to work on specific tasks. This is the system that schools use to schedule lessons and that businesses use to schedule bookings or meetings. This system works because you’re deciding beforehand exactly when you’re going to work on specific tasks.
For example, if you know you need to take some time this weekend to create a monthly budget, you could schedule that in your calendar for say 2-3pm on Saturday. That way it’s in your calendar and you won’t forget about it. You can do this with any task that you need to accomplish.
The only thing you need to be careful about is making sure you don’t underestimate how long your tasks will take. In the beginning when I first used this method I would not allow myself enough time to complete what I needed to do. I was also not scheduling in enough breaks so I’d end up not sticking to my plan. Make sure to leave gaps in your schedule for breaks so that you don’t feel overworked or discouraged.
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2. They wake naturally
Okay, so this habit (like most on this list) is not something that all successful people do. But I was surprised when I read this article from Equities that a lot of successful leaders don’t actually set an alarm. Instead they wake up when their bodies are ready for it.
There are a lot of tips out there on the internet about how to force yourself to wake up earlier. These include “don’t hit snooze” or “place your alarm across the room so you have to get up to turn it off”. Although these tips will wake you up earlier, alarms can often wake you up in the middle of your sleep cycle, leaving you feeling groggy and tired when you do wake up. This isn’t a great start to your day.
Whilst there’s definitely a lot of successful people who set alarms to wake themselves up there’s also a lot who choose to wake naturally when their bodies are ready to. A lot of these people still wake early because their bodies are used to that routine.
How do you naturally wake up earlier?
The only way you’re going to be able to wake up earlier in the morning without setting an alarm is to go to bed earlier.
This is something a lot of people don’t consider when setting early morning alarms. The less you sleep in the morning, the more your body needs to sleep at night. So if you want to wake up an hour earlier than normal you will need to go to bed an hour earlier. In the beginning it might be difficult to make yourself fall asleep earlier. In the transition period you might want to use an alarm just before your body has adjusted to the new bed time.
How do I make sure I don’t wake up too late?
If you don’t trust that your body will wake you up on time for work, there’s an alarm that might work for you.
Sleep Cycle is an app that tracks your sleep. It tracks when you are in light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep. With this app you can set the latest time you want to be awake by. You can also set your wake up phase which is how early before your alarm the app can wake you up (default is 30 minutes). Sleep Cycle uses the data it tracks of your sleep to wake you up when your body is most ready for it. By waking you up when you are in light sleep you should wake up feeling more awake.
3. They eat breakfast
Breakfast is an important meal of the day because it provides our bodies with the energy that we need to stay alert and productive.
According to this article from express.co.uk, 50% of British people are regularly skipping breakfast because of their busy lifestyles. That’s a huge amount of people and the number has significantly increased in recent years.
If you feel like you don’t have enough time in the morning for making healthy breakfasts then you should consider some of these meal prepping options.
Breakfast meal plan options:
- Freeze fruit and veg in zip lock bags to quickly make smoothies in the morning.
- Prepare overnight oats (this post from Life Made Sweeter explains the basics of overnight oats and gives you 8 different recipes to try out)
- Make your own granola bars. There are loads of different recipes online about how to make your own granola bars. Find your favourite and make a batch that will last you 1-2 weeks.
Hopefully these quick breakfast ideas will inspire you to prepare healthy breakfasts.
4. They exercise
Everyone knows that exercising is good for you. Yet for most of us, the thought of going to the gym or putting our running shoes on will make us groan in frustration. After all, no one really likes exercising, do they?
But actually, it’s mostly in the beginning when you’re not used to exercising regularly that exercising feels terrible. Your body isn’t used to the movement, you get tired quicker, you ache more. But as you get more and more used to exercising, you’ll find that with time it will start to feel easier, even when you’re pushing yourself harder.
What if I can’t afford a gym membership?
Your exercise of choice doesn’t have to include going to the gym or going outside for a run. If that’s your thing and you enjoy that then that’s great. However, if you know that having to leave your home is gonna stop you from exercising then consider activities you can do in your home. Youtube has thousands of workout and yoga videos that you can do from your home without any equipment needed. It’s cheap, convenient and will still get you sweating!
If you want something that’s more interactive and competitive then maybe pick up a sport like tennis and see what groups there are in your area.
5. They start their most important task of the day
Finally, one of the most important morning habits of successful people is to start working on a challenging task. Even after following all of the tips above it’s still easy go through the rest of your day and procrastinate doing something that you’ve been putting off.
Whatever your most prioritised task of the day is, make a start on it as part of your morning routine. Usually the most challenging thing about doing a task is to actually start it. Even if it’s just preparing everything you’ll need to complete the task later.
Thank you so much for reading until the end! I hope you feel inspired to add some good morning habits to your daily routine. Let me know in the comments what your most important morning habit is. Don’t forget to share this post on social media if you enjoyed it!
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