3 Tips for Your Morning Routine
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Just write. That’s what I want to do so I’m doing it. It used to come so naturally to me, I was always writing something: a magazine article about the hairstyle I was currently doing, a romantic fiction book about a time-traveling Amish girl, or a cookbook recipe complete with antidotes about my grandparents. Somewhere along the way, life got too busy, my mind got too cluttered, and writing became something out of necessity, a work-skill that got dusted off when the editorial department was too backed up to dole out marketing copy for the newest product build.
And so, I write. 5am, first thing in the morning. The only other allowance I’ve given myself is a pee break and a quick tooth brush. I can hear my little dog in the other room, shaking her head to make the tags on her collar jingle together so I know she wants to go out. I hear you. I’m doing this now. These delicious 30 minutes ticking away on the alarm I’ve set for myself, I feel that kind of excitement and urgency you feel when you’re diving into a good book and don’t want to go to bed just yet. One more page.
I hope this finds you and entertains you, or inspires you, or whatever it is you hoped to get when you clicked on this particular link. I started out by calling this Morning Sessions, but then I realized that sounded like the sophomore album of some indie band I probably listened to in high school. This is not that cool, but establishing a morning routine is one of those “Top Ways to Rule Your Day” to-do’s that a lot of people really struggle with.
Waking up is hard! It truly is. Why would I want to leave the comfortable cocoon of my bed when all there is for me on the other side is a commute and a job that I don’t want to go to? Believe me, I hear you. But part of taking back your day—whether you love your day job or loathe it—is spending your time outside of the office on your terms.
My morning routine is an ever-changing thing. What might make me feel awesome and empowered one month might drastically change the next. That’s life. Part of owning your day is really making the most of the hours you have. We’ve all heard that old adage, “You have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé.” I recently switched my routine up, and so far I’m loving the results.
My old routine:
5:00 am: Wake up
5:05 am: Get dressed for a workout
5:10 am: Make lunches
5:15 am: Pack up for the day
5:25 am: Out the door
6:00 am: Gym
7:00 am: Leave for work
7:15 am: Get dressed in the locker room
8:00 am: Login at work
Sure, I was getting a workout in regularly, but by the time I made it home for the day, I was completely depleted energetically. So much so that I wasn’t able to work on my business, enjoy networking events, or spend time with my friends.
While I was on my honeymoon in Ireland, I promised myself that I wouldn’t come back and be the same exhausted, un-creative, grumpy person who wasn’t able to make time for her relationships or herself. So, I started to examine the areas where I could make changes that would impact my whole day. Perhaps obviously, The Morning Routine was a good place to start.
I laid out the ground work: What did I want to feel every day? I knew I wanted to start writing again, something that had long left my routine. I knew that I wanted to work out a few days a week. I knew that I wanted to spend more time with friends. I knew that I wanted to have the energy to work on my business in a meaningful way, every day. Coach, coach thyself! I put the reminder in my planner. Ouch.
Here is where I landed:
5:00 am: Wake up
5:05 am: Write for 26 minutes—no distractions!
5:31am: Shower, do my hair
6:00 am: Prepare lunches and smoothies
6:25 am: Out the door
6:45 am: Arrive at work and do my makeup in the car (once I’ve parked)
7:00 am: Login at work
I was able to make use of my company’s flexible work hours policy, something I’d only ever used to work 9–6 rather than 8–5. By working 7–4 I am able to not only get home earlier, and make it to the gym by 5:30 with a friend, but I am also able to get an hour of uninterrupted work done in the mornings before the 8-to-5ers roll in. It’s a win-win. The time to write and start the day creatively is much more aligned with the morning energy I want to create than my early morning high-intensity workouts were. And when they’re not, I’ll change the routine up to fit my needs.
If you’d like to take control of your morning, here are some tips for creating a morning routine that you’ll not only stick to, but will help you meet your daily and weekly goals.
How to Establish a Morning Routine (in general)
Start by looking at what you’re doing now honestly:
Are you hitting snooze every five minutes for 45 minutes until you finally wake up and rush hurriedly through your morning?
Are you waking up at 4:00 am, hitting the pavement for a jog, but coming come exhausted and miserable every day?
Chances are you fall somewhere in the middle. Be honest about where you are, and write out what you’d like to do and feel instead. Maybe you’d like to ease into your morning without the stress of being late, or maybe you’d like to spend 30 minutes of quality time with your family over breakfast. Whatever your goal, write it out.
Waking up earlier
If one of your goals is to start waking up at 5am, but you currently wake up at 8am, you’re going to need to start with 7:30, 7:00, and so on for a couple of weeks. If you try to just start going all out immediately, you will inevitably get frustrated and give up.
One thing I really love about my Apple Watch is the alarm function. It’s a buzzy vibration on my wrist, rather than a loud, startling sounds first thing in the morning, and it doesn’t wake up my partner. I always set a backup alarm on my phone for about 5 minutes later, but I find the vibrate alarm no more jolting than a gentle nudge.
If that’s not enough to get you awake, I suggest getting an actual alarm clock or setting your phone across the room so that you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. Will you hate it? Yes. Will you get used to it? Yes.
Working out first thing
Working out is not my absolute favorite activity. I truly wish I didn’t have to make an effort, but I do, and we all do, and sometimes waking up earlier to get a work out in is the only way to do it. The trick is to make sure that the thing you’ll lose if you don’t go work out is worse than the extra 10 minutes of sleep you’ll get. (Seriously, do the math an figure it out. For example, if I didn’t go work out in my previous routine, I only got 5 extra minutes of sleep time before I had to get up and get dressed for work—hardly worth it when I thought about how nice it is to have exercise out of the way!)
Getting to work on time
I really hate the feeling of slinking into my office late. It’s a kind of personal shame that I know rationally very few people care about, but for me it is something I will ruminate over in my head for hours. Maybe this isn’t your hang up, god bless. One thing that has helped me a ton is prepping the night before. I know, I know, we all know to do this. But seriously: do it. Set your clothes out the night before, prep the kid’s lunches, have your lunch ready to go. If there’s something that is routinely making you late, find a way to get that obstacle out of your way.
I hope these three tips help you take control of your morning in a meaningful way. I’d love to hear from you! What is your morning routine? Do you have a routine, or do you kind of just zombie out of bed and get to work somehow?