Picture this: it’s 5:30 AM, and it’s time for you to get up for work. You slam your snooze button so many times that you barely have time to make it to your toothbrush and dry shampoo — much less your coffeemaker — before sprinting out of the door, throwing your car into reverse, and squealing into work just barely on time.
Now… picture this: it’s 5:30 AM, and it’s time for you to get up for work. You’re sleepy, but you know that snoozing doesn’t particularly help anything. You hop out of bed, chug a glass of water, and press the brew function on your coffeemaker. Since you woke up earlier than you had to, you have time to take a few minutes for yourself before the rat race starts with a journal, a workout, a book, or even a mini dance party in your room. When it’s time to get ready for work, you get dressed with the outfit you picked out the night before, grab your pre-packed lunch out of the refrigerator, and pour your coffee in a travel mug as you head out the door.
Which one sounds better to you?
I can guess that you’re probably thinking that the second scenario — the one that includes a morning routine — sounds a lot more relaxing, and you’re right. Though sometimes you just want to stay curled up in your warm bed, experts say that a morning routine is the best way to start your day. From increased productivity to decreased anxiety, being more intentional with your morning rituals sets you up for success. Here are 3 things that you need to include in your morning routine:
Prep, prep, prep.
Interestingly enough, the key to a smooth morning routine is taking a few minutes the night before to prepare for the day ahead, from packing your lunch to picking out your outfit to making sure you know where your car keys are. We’ve all been that person who’s running around like a chicken with their head cut off in the morning, unable to find your keys, a clean shirt, or your sanity, and it starts your day off with stress rather than ease.
The key is to find out what’s important to you in the morning. Are you the kind of person who needs caffeine when you wake up? Go ahead and set your coffeemaker on auto-brew. Do you spend 30 minutes each day picking out an outfit? Take time to set your clothes for the day the night before.
When you’re ready to go to bed, wind down in a way that’s going to make the morning come a little easier once you wake up, whether you read a book, enjoy a bubble bath, or meditate, and go to bed around the same time every single night. According to Psychology Today, “changing and testing out 1-2 simple pre-morning habits can prime your mindset for focus and flow when you wake up.”
Create a ritual that you enjoy.
One of the most imperative pieces of a morning routine is creating a ritual that makes you excited to get out of bed, whether that’s something to increase productivity (like goal setting), something to decrease anxiety (like reading a favorite book or even watching an episode of The Office), or something to get your heart beating (like walking the dog or hopping in to a HIIT class).
The key is to decide your priorities for the day, and to design your morning routine around those.
If you’re having trouble finding time to work on yourself and your goals, the morning is a great time to sit down and focus in on a dream or a goal you’re working toward, whether that’s working on a business plan or creating a gratitude list.
If you find yourself struggling to get movement in after work, use your mornings to fit in your daily exercise. Morning workouts are a great way to jumpstart your metabolism, give you more energy, and lower your blood pressure. If you tend to be anxious or unsettled in the mornings, start your days by engaging in something that’s relaxing to you, whether you meditate, read your favorite blogs, or listen to a hilarious podcast.
Make a task list for the day.
The worst way to wrap up a morning routine is by beginning your day without a plan for the hours after you wake up.
You don’t want to leave home relaxed and ready for the day without thinking about your priorities and how best to attack them — but you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself, which is where the priority method comes in.
With a notepad and your breakfast at your side, take the time to make a list of priorities for your day, in order of importance. Whether your biggest focus for the day is completing a spreadsheet or making a phone call, make that focus the top item on your list and go down from there. You don’t need to spend more than 5 minutes on this, and the idea isn’t to stress yourself out while you’re still waking up — but instead to prepare yourself for a productive, happy day ahead.
Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, it’s helpful for all of us to wake up and start the day on the right foot.
By creating a morning routine that makes you happy to roll out of your cozy bed, you set yourself up for an energetic, productive, and better day, no matter what comes your way.