Are you looking for a way to improve your productivity and happiness on a daily basis? While there are plenty of strategies and techniques, few are as simple or effective as a proper morning routine. Do you have one? And more importantly, does it work?
Why a Morning Routine Matters
It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-proclaimed morning person or not, mornings matter. They set the tone for the entire day.
If you have a bad morning, you’re much more likely to have a pessimistic outlook for the remainder of the day. This negativity will compromise your decision-making and limit your productivity and happiness.
If you have a good morning, you’re inclined to have a more positive outlook. This generally results in better choices, more generosity, greater productivity, and more fulfillment.
The first 60-90 minutes of your day are arguably more important than the other 15 or 16 hours that you’re awake. This is the time when you’re most rested and refreshed – physically, mentally, and emotionally. And if you’re strategic about how you spend these moments, you’ll discover ways to capitalize on and multiply these reserves.
4 Tips for a Better Morning Routine
Let’s be clear about one thing from the very start: everyone is different. This means every individual’s routine is going to have its own unique structure and quirks. But having said that, there are some overarching principles that remain true regardless of the individual. Let’s explore a few of them in detail:
1. Plan Ahead (The Night Before)
Ironically enough, a good morning routine actually begins the night before. Prior to letting your head hit the pillow, you need to do a few things to set yourself up for success in the morning. Here are some suggestions:
- Make a list of your tasks for the day (with priority ranking).
- Make sure your coffeemaker is set up properly and ready to go. Use a timer.
- Pick your clothes for the day and lay them out.
- Prepare your lunch so that you can just pull it out of the refrigerator.
Tailor these suggestions to your own lifestyle needs and habits. Use them as a framework. Add, subtract, and optimize. The point is to remove as much friction as possible so that you can spend your time and mental energy on value-adding actions in the morning.
2. Wake Up Earlier
For all of you night owls, this will sound like terrible advice. However, waking up early is a huge part of this equation. Not only does it give you more time, but it also provides you with more productive time.
Early morning hours are ideal for getting stuff done. By waking up prior to everyone else, there are fewer distractions to combat. This includes distractions inside of your home – like children – as well as outside of the house – like phone calls, emails, and texts. Instead of fighting through these energy-depleting interruptions, you’re free to accomplish important tasks.
3. Take Care of Yourself
People often confuse a morning routine with work. And while some people do incorporate certain work-related tasks into their morning routines, this isn’t the purpose. One of the main objectives is to practice self-care. This might look like:
- Spending a few extra minutes in the bathroom to achieve a perfect wet shave.
- Taking a hot bath while listening to your favorite album.
- Fixing breakfast while listening to an empowering podcast.
- Reading a book on the back patio.
- Go to the beach with a full face snorkel mask
- Doing yoga in your living room.
- Journaling or writing poetry while you enjoy a cup of coffee.
The “what” isn’t always important. What matters is that you’re implementing actionable habits that put you in the right frame of mind. Your self-care patterns will change over time. Be willing and open to trying new things.
4. Avoid Distractions
Don’t actively invite distractions in. Avoid watching the news, visiting news websites, browsing social media, checking email, or reading text messages. There will be plenty of time for these things later in the day. For now, protect your energy and focus on tasks that edify and strengthen your mindset.
Start Your Day Off Right
Think about the first 60-90 minutes of your morning as the defining period of the day. If you properly plan out and execute these precious moments, you have every opportunity to be productive, successful, and happy for the day. If you squander this time, you put a low ceiling on the next 15 or 16 hours. Ultimately, it’s your decision!