I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about morning routines. It seems that so many of the most successful people have a well orchestrated morning routine that involves a lot more than simply waking up and getting ready to go into the office. So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with a morning routine for myself. With the help of a few great mobile apps (which I’ll share below), I’ve refined my morning routine to ensure I utilize my most productive morning hours in the best way possible and make the most of my entire day. Here’s how I do it…
First thing’s first, it’s hard to maintain a new routine at the beginning without writing it down and tracking it daily. Being a digital person, I use the Loop habit tracker app for Android. I’ve heard great things about Productive if you’re an iPhone user. The benefit here is that you can check off items as they’re complete, and set reminders for yourself to ensure you remember to do each step in your new routine.
Once you have your new habit tracking app installed, you’ll want to start adding the habits you want to begin to maintain, starting with habits you need to complete the night before to maximize your time in the morning.
For me, I spent a great deal of my morning with tasks that could easily be complete the evening prior. Here’s my new night-before routine:
1. Create a Tomorrow List for the Next Day
The goal is this activity is for me to decide what I need to accomplish in the first few work hours of the day the next day. I’ve found that my first few hours in the office are my most productive, so instead of wasting those hours checking email and marking easy items off my to do list, I now put the items that require the most thought on my “tomorrow list,” prioritizing them as items 1, 2 and 3 in the to do list app I use, Remember the Milk. In the morning, these are the things I tackle first to make the best use of my morning brainpower.
2. Select Tomorrow’s Outfit
This can often take about 10 minutes, so moving this activity to the evening instead of the morning has really cut down on wasted time in the AM. Plus, I know everything I need for my outfit is clean and pressed, which regularly caused snags for me in the past.
3. Prep Breakfast, Lunch & My Work Bag
Before I go to bed, I ensure that my work bag is packed, my breakfast is prepped (I’ve been obsessed with overnight oats lately), and if necessary, that my lunch is packed as well. This ensures that when I’m done getting ready in the morning, I can quickly grab everything I need and walk out the door.
Showering in the morning used to take up the majority of my morning routine. Now, I shower at night to save time.
Because I get a lot of time consuming tasks out of the way in the evening, I can now maximize my morning in the best way possible. Here’s what my morning looks like now:
1. Wake Up: 5:00-5:05am
2. Drink a Glass of Water: 5:05-5:06am
I keep it by the side of my bed so it’s ready when I wake up. This is key for ensuring I’m hydrated right from the time I wake up.
3. Brush My Teeth: 5:06-5:09am
4. Meditate: 5:10-5:20am
Meditation is something I’ve been wanting to incorporate into my lifestyle for a while, but I used the, “I never have the time,” excuse. Now that I’ve worked it into my morning routine, I don’t have any excuse, and the result has been noticeable! I start the day feeling calm and ready. To ensure I stay on track during my meditation, I’ve been using the guided meditation app, Calm, to focus this activity. It’s available online and via both an Android and iPhone app.
5. Get Dressed/Ready: 5:20-6:00am
Even though I shower the night before, it still takes me the majority of my morning to get dressed, style my hair and do my makeup, but it used to take an hour, so getting it down to about 40 minutes is a win for me! This also includes some time to gather my belongings and head out the door.
6. Morning Commute: 6:00-6:20am
The nice thing about leaving for work before rush hour begins is that I can get to the office faster, ensuring less wasted time in the car. I use this time to relax, listen to music and mentally prepare for the day.
7. Breakfast & Coffee: 6:20-6:30am
Once I get to the office, I first make a pot of coffee, eat my breakfast and then grab myself a cup.
8. Read the Skimm: 6:30-6:40am
The Skimm is hands-down my favorite way to get the news each morning!
9. Quick Blog Post Promotion: 6:40-6:50am
My blog posts publish each day Monday-Friday at 6am, so I take 10 minutes prior to work to review any comments readers have left and schedule social posts to go out through the day.
10. Tackle My Tomorrow List: 6:50am-?
Depending on what’s on the list, this can often take a couple hours, but I make a point to start right in on these items as soon as I get into work mode. I also make a point not to schedule meetings during the 7-9am window (unless absolutely necessary), as these are my most productive two hours and I can accomplish a lot with minimal interruption.
11. Take a Walk: Time Varies
One of the last things that I consider part of my morning routine is a walk. However, the time varies based on how long my tomorrow list takes to complete and what meetings I have. If I have a call that I can easily take from my cell phone and don’t need a computer for, I’ll multi-task and use this time for a walk. Not only is it great exercise (see 5 Simple Ways to Be Active During the Workday for some other ideas), but I find that these walking meetings really help me think on my feet, which is another bonus.
So there you have it: my new morning routine! So far, I’m loving how productive this routine is making me and am looking forward to seeing how the routine continues to evolve.
Do you have a morning routine?