An obvious way to have more hours in a day, is waking up earlier. I bet you have read and heard a lot about waking up early and having a morning routine. And it does appeal to you, but there’s still something holding you back.
“Yes, it’s my precious sleeping time and comfy bed that’s holding me back, Zuba!”
I know, I know, I love sleeping too.
Though at some point, I decided I wanted to try out this thing called ‘a morning routine’ and see how and if it would benefit me. So I came up with a few activities to do in the morning and set my alarm to 6 am.
In this post, you will find:
- what to do in the morning
- the 5 steps to create your ideal morning routine
- bonus tips to get started
But before I get into that let me tell you why a morning routine is beneficial.
The benefits of a morning routine
Morning routines are not just for successful CEOs, yoga gurus and busy moms. Anyone can benefit from having a morning routine.
It is known that children crave structure and routine, but it’s not for children only. People, in general, thrive on routines. I don’t mean dull, mundane days, but having some sort of structure improves productivity.
The few hours after you wake up, set the tone for your day. If you would have a rushed, chaotic morning, you’re running behind the facts, and chances are that your whole day will feel rushed and chaotic.
But imagine starting your day off calmly and doing things the way you like to: this sets an entirely different tone, and you will carry this energy into the rest of your day.
And it’s not only about a positive tone, starting your day off while being or feeling productive makes it more likely for you to continue your productivity throughout the day.
Okay, so you’re aware of the benefits a morning routine can have for you and you want to give it a try yourself.
But where to start?
How do you create a morning routine? What activities could you include? Let’s dig in at what to do in the morning.
What to do?
Drink water and splash water in your face
This is the only activity that should have a fixed spot in anyone’s routine: first thing!
Wake yourself up with a quick water face wash, to combat the sleepiness. Then, before you do anything else, drink a glass of water (a big glass, at least 400 ml.).
During sleeping, our bodies repair themselves and get rid of toxins in the body. Drinking a glass of water on an empty stomach helps to flush out these toxins. Besides, it also helps ‘waking up’ your organs.
No matter what the rest of your morning routine is, always drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and wash the sleepiness of your face with a splash of water.
Get some sort of movement in your morning routine to wake up your body and get your blood flowing!
You could do some simple stretches, yoga, go running, do a workout, etc. If you’re thinking ‘ugh, I can’t do that so early’: I was just like that, so I’ll share my experience.
In the early morning, my body feels sleepy and stiff. I was never the type to go workout or go running at that time of day (actually, I’m not the running type in general…).
So my first form of early morning movement was some simple stretches where I followed a 5 minute Youtube video. Yes, I started with 5 minutes which was very much doable.
After a while, I wanted to try yoga and looked up beginner tutorial videos of around 10-15 min. I had never done yoga before, and I must say it feels great to do in the early morning.
Because I wanted to pick up my workouts at the gym again and had no other openings in my schedule, I had to schedule it in my early mornings. I had always avoided this…
But I went a few times with my husband, and it turned out great! It is very doable, and throughout the day I’m happy and proud that I’ve already crossed a significant activity from my to-do-list.
Now I alternate my morning movement between going to the gym and yoga at home.
Moving your body in the morning feels great, keeps you fit, and gives you energy for the rest of your day.
Keep my experience in mind, even a short stretching exercise is good enough. You can always ‘upgrade’ your form of movement later on.
The early morning is an ideal time of the day to carve out some me-time. Most people are still asleep, the world is quiet, and there are barely any distractions. It’s the perfect time to focus on yourself, for example, by meditating or journaling.
You can try out meditating with a Youtube video or an app with guided meditations.
Meditation has a lot of benefits, such as reducing stress, controlling anxiety, improving your attention span, and enhancing self-awareness. For me personally, it’s a great exercise to train my attention span (which is pretty short…!).
Journaling is a simple but beneficial form of self-reflection. You can grab just any notebook and write about anything.
- What you dreamt at night
- How you’re feeling in the moment
- What goals you have
- Why you want to achieve those goals
- How do you want your day to look like
Writing in a journal also opens up your creativity flow.
You could also plan some me-time to work on a passion project you might have. A lot of bloggers start out that way, but it could be anything.
Do you have a hobby or a project that you would like to make time for, but can’t fit in anywhere else in your schedule? The early morning is your perfect opportunity.
Nurture your mind
Usually, our days are quite hectic and saturate our minds. But in the morning, your mind is still like an empty notebook, ready to be written in (anyone else hearing Unwritten?).
You can take this opportunity to nurture and expand your mind with knowledge.
How about reading a book? You can use the time to read books about self-development, but even fiction helps to nurture your mind. I love getting my books from bookdepository.com.
Fill up your mind with something educational, before the clutter of the day takes over and leaves no room for it.
Plan your day
Well, duh, it doesn’t make sense to plan your day in the late afternoon! But there are two ways to go about making your schedule for the day. You could write it out the night before, or do it first thing in the morning. It depends on how you like it.
I prefer to plan in the morning because I’ll be fresher than in the evening.
You will have a more productive and efficient day if you know in advance what you’ll be doing and when.
There are many different planners to buy. If you’re not sure if you’re committed enough to spend money on a planner, you can check out the free planner printables I have created.
At some point in your morning routine, you’ll have to get ready for the day as you would normally.
Breakfast is the most important meal of your day, so don’t skip out on it! If you don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning, you could prepare overnight oats in a jar in advance.
Change out of your PJs into regular clothes, even if you work from home. This will put you in a more productive and ‘serious’ mindset, instead of lazy hanging in your pajamas. It is also more efficient in case you have to go out to run an errand.
Take a shower to completely wake up your body and feel fresh to start the day!
How to create your own morning routine
Now that you have an idea of what to do in the morning, we move to the next step: creating your own morning routine.
Step 1 – what do you want to achieve?
Your first step is to think about what you want to achieve with your morning routine, so you can add activities accordingly.
You might not have a specific purpose other than to have some extra time in your day. That’s okay! Think of what you want to spend that spare time on.
Step 2 – what do you want to do?
What activities do you want to do?
Remember, you don’t have to cram many activities in your morning if that’s not what you want. More actions don’t mean you will have a better morning than if you were to do 2 or 3 things. Pick just what’s important to you.
Step 3 – how much time do you have?
After you have thought of some activities, write down how much time you want to spend on each. You can then make your schedule by starting with the end in mind.
If you know how much time you need for your morning routine and that you have to leave for work/school at, say, 7.45 am, you’ll know what time you’ll have to wake up.
Step 4 – what’s your ideal order?
Now you know what you want to do and how much time you want to spend on each point, you can create your ideal order. Do what feels right for you.
Step 5 – write it out and hang it!
Write out your whole morning routine and hang it somewhere visible, so you can easily see what to do in the morning. Use the last page of the worksheet for this!
A few bonus tips
You’ve made your morning routine, and now it’s time to actually do it. I have a few bonus tips for you below to turn your mornings into a success!
Tip 1: Get a real alarm clock
To make it easier to get out of bed in the morning, I strongly recommend not to use your phone as your wake up alarm. It makes it very easy to scroll through social media, check your email, etc. and before you know it, 45 minutes have passed. Sounds familiar?
I bought myself a battery-operated digital alarm clock, and I put my phone on the charger in the living room at night. This has helped me tremendously to get out of bed quicker, and it feels good knowing I’m not wasting precious time scrolling mindlessly through social media. This also brings me to my next point.
Tip 2: Unplug and stay offline
Unplug from your screens and stay offline in your morning routine. Allow yourself only to use it for specific purposes like listening to a podcast, following a yoga video, etc. Or perhaps you could download some in advance.
Do not check your email, messages, social media, news, and other notifications. Do not open your favorite game app or online shopping app or anything else that will ‘suck you in’ and waste your time.
You have to be strict on yourself: “I’m just going to look for 3 minutes” doesn’t work (at least, not with me).
Tip 3: Be proactive, not reactive
If you do check your phone and all those ‘distractions’, you put your mind in a reactive state, where you simply just react on anything that is shown to you. This will continue throughout the rest of your day.
However, if you put yourself in a proactive mindset in the morning and only do the things you have set out yourself to do, YOU are in charge of your day and not the other way around.
Let's get started on your morning routine
The key to a successful morning routine? Just start with it!
You will never know how a morning routine can benefit you if you never actually do it.
You will most likely tweak your morning routine along the way as you find out what works best for you, and that’s absolutely fine. You don’t have to have a picture-perfect morning routine, no one is checking you! Do whatever feels right and beneficial to you.
To help you get started, I have created a ‘morning routine worksheet’, incorporating my tips above!
The early morning is an ideal time to develop yourself and work towards any goals you have.
Get started now by getting the morning routine worksheet!