Over the last few years, I’ve experimented with different routines as a way of bringing a little structure to my otherwise unpredictable life. It’s difficult to keep good habits through the messiness of life, but mastering mornings and evening routines have helped me consistently follow through on goals and habits. My morning routine has become the most important because it sets the tone for the rest of my day. It has made my days more productive, less stressful, and just overall happier as a result.I’m sharing this because, through trial and error, I’ve found a few activities that require minimal investment but have had big returns in my own life. Here are 5 things that have led to my morning routine success:
1. Wake up earlier
What’s the worst way to start your day? In a rush. Waking up earlier gives you time to be fully present and enjoy all of the other aspects of your morning. It leaves you undisturbed (before emails, texts and calls start flooding in) to do the things you need to do for yourself and your wellbeing. Start by waking up just 10 minutes earlier than normal, and add a little more time each morning until you’ve reached your ideal wakeup time.
Pro tip: Go old school and use a clock to set an alarm instead of your phone. That way you can avoid losing yourself in your Twitter feed before even getting out of bed.
2. Make Your Bed
Making your bed every morning is actually correlated with higher levels of productivity and overall wellbeing. For me, it’s the first task of the day that I can take pride in. It’s a guaranteed win that gives me momentum to tackle the more complex tasks in my day. Plus, there’s about nothing better than crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. If you’re going to start a new morning routine, this is a great place to start. It has a great ROI. It takes very little effort to do and has a great payout every day.
3. Meditate & set an intention
Have you ever meditated before? Maybe you tried it once and got nothing out of it? Maybe mediation isn’t for you, but all I can say is that from my personal experience, my daily morning meditation practice has been transformative in all parts of my life – work, relationships, creativity, mental health. The list goes on. I could do a whole post about meditation, but instead of getting into all of that now, try downloading the app Headspace. It’s a great starting point for a newbie, and you get 10 guided meditations for free.
At the end of my meditation practice, I like to set an intention for my day. For instance, this morning I set an intention to practice authenticity in everything I do today (like while writing this blog!). It’s a mini pep talk that gets me excited and gives me a sense of purpose throughout the day.
4. List and/or review your 3 most important tasks of the day
Every night before I got to sleep, I jot down the three most important things that I need to get done the following day. By important, I don’t necessarily mean urgent. I mean the three things that would have the most impact in getting me closer to my overall goals. (If you’re a morning person unlike me, you can also do this in the morning.) The first thing I do after I meditate and set my intention is look over this list. It gives my day direction and keeps me motivated to reach my goals. Of course I have a robust to-do list full of tasks beyond these three items, but these are the tasks that MUST get done. I typically choose to not wind down my evening until these three things are completed.
5. Find a way to love yourself
Brewing coffee from my MistoBox subscription on my Chemex is an essential part of my morning. Yes, I could have an auto drip coffee set up on a timer to make a cup of crap coffee for me as I wake up, but it’s so much more than that for me. I love good coffee. It makes me happy, so brewing coffee each morning is time that I specifically take for my own happiness. It’s so important to start every day with an act of self-love, and taking the time to brew an amazing cup of coffee every morning is mine.
I’ve experimented quite a bit, and these are the things that make my mornings awesome. I challenge you to experiment with your mornings, and find what works for you. The rest of your day will thank you.