Morning routines aren’t just for personal development buffs. They’re for anyone who demands more productivity from their days.
Morning routines help achieve the following:
- Save time by being more organized
- Eliminates “what should I do?” procrastination
- Reduces stress
- Creates a sense of accomplishment first thing in the day
- Primes the mind and body for a productive day
- Uplifting and energy boosting
Routines develop habits which put us on autopilot. By adding positive habits to our days we can eliminate over thinking about what to do and actually get things done. The biggest benefit however is in how a morning routine primes the mind to do more.
Getting our routine done first thing creates a sense of accomplishment. One accomplishment always begets another, so starting this way makes it easier to get more done. It can set a positive frame of mind which carries on through the rest of the day.
It’s also a warm up:
Just like in any sport, a warm up is required to prevent injuries and get the body and mind into a flow state. This helps athletes reach their maximum performance levels. How is it that so many people understand the importance of warming up for an athletic performance but neglect warming up to have awesome days?
Your morning routine is your success and happiness warmup for the day.
Pause and breathe
During especially stressful times it’s easy to wake up with our minds already on racing mode. This can be a shock to the system and set us off on the wrong foot. To take control and get on track, start by pausing and focusing on your breath.
This works even when we’re not stressed as it focuses the mind. It’s the very first thing we can do upon waking to set the direction for the day.
After taking control of our focus, putting our attention on what we are already happy about is a great boost. It creates feelings of well-being, abundance and goodwill. Make a mental list of the things you’re grateful for, including family, friends, your home, pets, accomplishments, food on the table, and anything else that you appreciate in your life.
By organizing our thoughts, it’s easier to set a tone and direction for the day. I always start with the simplest things, like grabbing a glass of water, working out, and a shower. That’s followed by my work goals for the day which could include finishing articles, connecting with new people, recording a podcast or other work.
This is a quick mental list to go over before jumping out of bed.
Taking a short walk and getting social first thing in the morning helps us feel connected and builds social confidence. Especially for people who are on their computers all day, getting a little bit of social time is healthy and can help overcome shyness.
- Good mornings – Say hi or good morning to the first three people you walk past. Make sure to attempt eye contact, and a little bit of a smile doesn’t hurt neither.
- Strike the flint – I call this part “striking the flint” because it’s about sparking up conversations. Make a simple observation about anything you see to anyone who happens to be around. It could be someone who’s waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk, “This might be the slowest crosswalk in the city!” or “Amazing weather today.” What you comment on isn’t important, just say something to exercise your social muscles. Try this a few times and you might even get a date.
Having a few conversations first thing in the day will prevent feelings of isolation, especially for solopreneurs or people who don’t deal with the public.
Review goals mentally
Review your day’s goals to eliminate any potential time wasting activities and set a clear plan. Schedule each task into blocks with the most important task set first. It’s good to go through a review process where you hold each task to scrutiny. Does this activity contribute to the big picture? If not, take it off the schedule to focus on the most productive activities.
Make your bed
Small but not insignificant. By doing your bed every morning you’ll tell your own mind that you’re organized, tidy, and productive. It’s easy and quick, and helps set the tone for doing more.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and will encourage you to do another task.”
– Admiral William McRaven
A lot of mornings we’re not going to feel 100% energetic and pumped for the day. That can all change with the discipline of working out first thing in the day. It gets the heart pumping, warms up the body, and can make us feel strong and lively. I’ve never done a workout that I’ve regretted.
Without fail, doing a morning workout will always make us feel better no matter what state we wake up in. It’s also a discipline, and strengthening our disciplines makes the mind stronger for long term commitments.
A reflective Coffee
Before shifting into gear, it can be a great mood booster to pause, reflect, and take a few deep breaths while having a morning coffee. Obviously, this is an optional part of a morning routine for coffee lovers.
For myself, I always find that it helps me shift into the right gear so that I can start writing enthusiastically. Writing seems to flow more nicely when there is the fresh scent of coffee in the air.
Read or watch something inspirational
Another mindset booster, consuming motivational content can set our focus on the right things. With so much negative news everywhere we look, it’s important expose ourselves to positive messages. It’s like a buffer against taking on a pessimistic view of the world, even if we’re only pessimistic for the day.
Every day counts.
Do the highest value task first
Create a real sense of accomplishment by actually accomplishing something significant. This speed up your momentum to build confidence for solving more work challenges. Often times, the highest value task happens to be the most difficult thing, so it’s easy to procrastinate and put it off until late.
“Eat that frog” and procrastinate on procrastinating. Put aside all of the small tasks that consume large portions of the day. Once it’s done, you’ll feel unstoppable.
Things to avoid
Just as there are positive morning routines which will give you energy, motivation, and warm up your mind and body for a great day, there are also negative morning routines.
Scrolling through news headlines and even worse, reading the articles, can tune our minds on the worst of humanity. Why do that to ourselves first thing in the day? Or even last thing in the day.
Try a news fast for a week and see how you feel. You may be surprised how clear your mind is after a short time.
Social media and email
These can be real time wasters which drain our productivity. Don’t jump on social media or email first thing in the morning. Instead, schedule a time later in the day for after completing your most important task.
It’s so tempting to hit the snooze button and keep sleeping, but doing so will set the wrong tone for the day. By getting up at the time you’ve set, you’ll have more time to do your morning routine, and also will build discipline that strengthens your willpower.
Everyone has a morning routine, it’s just a matter of choosing the one that’s going to produce the best results for you. The alternative is allowing the whims and moods you wake up with to dictate the day.
Editor’s note: If you’re interested in adding routines to your day, take a look at the Rituals Course review. It helped me dial in my morning routine
Eddy Baller is a confidence and dating coach for men. He helps guys to crush personal obstacles and become the kind of men women desire and men respect. Go to conquerandwin.com to learn about confidence coaching.