If you feel behind before you’ve even begun, chances are you need a morning routine that works for you. Find out how to transform your day in this article.
Do you want your mornings to run smoothly? Perhaps things have gone off course because of a change of job or school, or a global pandemic. Whatever your reason, you and I both know that if you could just get your mornings running more smoothly, a lot of other things would just fall into place. Well today, I’m here to help you add more smiles to your mornings.
Why do we need to create a morning routine?
Whether you realise it or not, you already have a morning routine. There are certain actions that you do upon waking up in the morning. And chances are high that these actions don’t change much from day to day.
But there’s a difference between designing a morning routine and just letting the day smack you in the face!
When you’re intentional about the actions you do in those first few hours, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done, or at how much more smoothly things run throughout the rest of your day. You can have an active part in creating your day rather than just reacting to it.
How to know when your morning routine needs a review
If you’ve had a morning routine in the past but have found that, for whatever reason, things are not working well anymore, then your routine needs a review.
I think that refreshing your morning routine is a good thing to do when, for whatever reason, your days no longer flow. Or it feels like you’re not being as productive as you can be. This can happen anytime and that’s why it’s something we can do more than once. It’s something we can revisit whenever we feel the need for it.
And if you’ve never intentionally created a morning routine, then this is something you should consider doing stat. Trust me. Once you’ve gone down the road of going through a morning where you’re actions were carefully thought out beforehand, it’s a game-changer! You’ll wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner!
How to create a morning routine
Creating a morning routine that works for you requires you to do several things;
- identify what you want to achieve in the mornings and why
- identify the things that will help your day to run more smoothly
- figure out what time you need to go to sleep in order to feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead
- set up a system that allows you and the other members of your family to get ready for the day ahead
So let’s get started!
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1. What do you want to achieve and why?
What absolutely needs to happen in the morning to get you off to a good start? Think about this question in terms of what you need physically (food, movement etc.) and also mentally (to get your mind in a good place to be able to take on what the rest of your day has in store for you).
For myself, I don’t eat a lot as soon as I wake up. I normally drink a cup of water with my vitamins, make a coffee and possibly a slice of toast. Some mornings I’ll make a green smoothie and that really fills me up. Most days, coffee is all I need until mid-morning when I’ll have something more like fruit, an avocado, a piece of toast or an egg (not necessarily all at the same time!).
When I make my coffee or smoothie, I take it to the living room where I sit in my special chair and spend time reading the bible, praying and visualising. This helps me to prepare my mind and my heart for the day ahead. My husband can always tell when I’ve skipped this process because I’m usually quick to snap at people and less like the Zen-style Yoda I would rather be on my good days!
So, make a list of all the things that need to happen in your mornings, not just for yourself, but also for your family members and in your home.
Take this a step further and highlight the activities that are essential to the running of your home or for your morning.
Why? This little secret helps me to create a second morning routine of just the absolute bare essentials. This is critically important when you have a lot less time in the morning. For example, when you’re away from home or had a late-night event the night before. Doing this means that you can still do what needs to be done without worrying that things are going to fall apart because you weren’t able to do your full morning routine.
2. Identify your triggers
Now that you know the activities you need to do in the morning, it’s helpful to identify the triggers that will help with those activities. Do you plan on going for a jog? Putting your running clothes and shoes out the night before will trigger that activity the next day. I’ve heard of a lady who goes to sleep in her running clothes so that when she gets out of bed, she’s ready to go.
Look at all the activities in your morning routine. What things will help you do those activities?
Next, ask yourself what usually happens on most days in my family? Do lunches need to be made? Do little girls need their hair to be brushed? Does the meat for dinner need to be defrosted?
Make a list of the events that occur frequently. And then make a list of some things you can do to help those events run better. Do you need to have hairbands and a brush accessible somewhere? Do you need to remember to take something out of the freezer for dinner? Or do you need to put ingredients into a slow cooker? Make this list.
Don’t worry about the number of tasks that you’re creating. If you don’t live alone, there’s no reason why you should have to do everything on this list yourself? We’ll talk about this more in step 4.
3. Define your bedtime
Science has taught us, from decades of research, that the average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. If you’re not getting that right now, you’ll want to start trying it.
First off, sleep helps to keep you looking younger. To be honest, I don’t need any more of an incentive than that! But there are many other reasons why around 8 hours of sleep is beneficial which I don’t have time to go into in this post. Just know that you need a good amount of sleep. And it should be a priority for your mental and physical self-care.
With that in mind, tally up how long your morning activities will take roughly to be completed before you need to start the main part of your day. That is, before you get started with work, school or whatever you’ve got lined up for your day ahead. When you know how long your morning routine is, work backwards to find out your 'wake up time'.
Once you know what time you need to wake up, count 8 hours back from there and you’ll have your bedtime. Does it look ridiculously early? If you’re used to going to bed at midnight and you’ve discovered that your new bedtime is 9pm, just try it for a few days and see how it fits.
I’ll have a lot more tips for getting ready for bed in another post I have coming soon. But for now, you’ll find that avoiding your phone or computer in the hour before bedtime helps your body prepare for sleep.
4. Get your family involved
If your day involves your family, then they need to be involved with your plans for life A.R. (After Routines). What activities can your family members do that would benefit the rest of their day or contribute to the smooth running of family life in the morning?
Highlight different people’s activities with a different colour so you can easily see how tasks are distributed. Creating an intentional morning routine for your kids will change their lives.
Kids thrive in conditions where they have a set rhythm for their days. Psychologists all agree that routines benefit children greatly. Kids have a greater sense of stability and confidence when they operate within familiar routines. And this, in turn, contributes to their overall happiness.
What your kids may not like is a change to their current routine. You see, whether you’ve known about it or not, your kids have been going through a routine. It may just not have been one that you intentionally planned. But it’s there nonetheless. And the new routine you’re creating might be different from what they’re used to.
No sweat. Let them know what’s in it for them. Help them to see what won’t be changing. And most importantly, let them know how the new routine is better for them and the family as a whole. It’ll take some time for your family to get used to a new rhythm, but over time, it’ll become as normal as the paint on your walls.
Rewards also work great for kids young and old. If you need to, incentivise your kids with a reward they’ll enjoy if they complete their routine every morning in the week. Just make sure the reward happens upon completion. There’s nothing more soul-destroying than being promised an amazing whatever-it-is only to be told to wait until XYZ month. Rewards need to be near-instantaneous.
If you’ve been feeling like your days could use some extra productivity, create a new morning routine. Your future self will love you for it!
Do you have a morning routine to your day? Do your mornings flow in an automatic breezy way? Or are you putting out fires as soon as you get up? Let me know in the comments!