At times, it kind of seems like every person and their dog, every “productivity guru”, or every self-help/personal development book is talking about the importance of a morning routine. While I can’t argue with the idea that the way you start your day is important, what I think is more important is starting your day with intention and on your own terms.
One of the things that bothers me about morning routines is that all too often we’re pushed this idea of them involving waking up early, exercise, mindfulness and a smoothie breakfast. While there’s nothing wrong with that process, morning routines aren’t a one-size-fits-all type deal, so copying a morning routine we see off social media isn’t necessarily going to serve us as individuals. Planning a morning routine that actually works for you and what you want to achieve is important, so that’s what we’re going to do today!
Good morning, beautiful!
Hi team! Jess or JashiiCorrin from YouTube / Instagram here talking about how to plan a morning routine that doesn’t suck. I’ll be the first to admit, I am not what most would consider a “morning person”, which means that previously a lot of the morning routines I’ve tried for myself haven’t worked. One of the main problems has been trying to mimic a routine I’ve seen online that’s worked for someone else without considering what I actually want my mornings to help me achieve, how I want them to feel, and thus what I want them to involve.
As part of our morning routine planning, I used the equipment below which you may also find helpful. Remember you can use my code JASHIICORRIN10 for 10% off your orders at Archer and Olive!
- A5 Archer and Olive notebook
- Pens of choice
- Markers of choice
Rather watch, then read? For a quick overview of the routine planning process we’re going to be talking about, check out the video below!
Planning any new routine can be kind of daunting. To help you plan your morning routine, I’ve also summarised the points we’ll be discussing into a handy printable that you can use!
Time to reflect
You know I love reflection, so of course our morning routine planning is going to start with that! Today we’re going to use it to get to the root of why we want a morning routine, and how we want our routine to serve us or make us feel.
Why do you want a morning routine?
Funnily enough, “because I feel like I should have one” isn’t a super compelling reason for having a morning routine. Having a genuine why behind the things we do, or the habits we’re trying to implement, can very much assist us in getting them done. Take some time to contemplate your ‘why’.
Some common reasons for having a morning routine are wanting to start the day intentionally, lowering the stress we may feel in the morning otherwise, or using it in conjunction with other health routines. Make sure your reason resonates with you.
I also encourage you to have one specific reason behind the morning routine, rather than a series of “loose” reasons. Your ‘why’ may also be very much related to what you want to achieve by doing your morning routine, which is what we’ll reflect on next.
What do I want to achieve with my morning routine?
Rather than launching in with picking a bunch of morning routine steps from the plethora you can find online, instead consider the purpose you want your morning routine to serve. Another way to think about this is figuring out how you actually want your morning routine to make you feel. This is a super personal thing, and there is no one-size-fits-all-answer.
Maybe you want your morning to be very much about “getting your ducks in a row” to have a productive day, or maybe you want your morning to be a quiet time for yourself. Other options include wanting your morning to be a way to get energised, or a time for learning.
Planning a routine that suits you
Once you know the purpose you want your morning routine to serve, it’s then time to start thinking about what actions will make this a reality. Another important consideration is the amount of time you want your morning routine to take up.
Depending on how you like to do your planning, the ordering of considering these may differ. Do you want to outline the actions for your morning routine before knowing the time you’re designating to the routine, or vice versa? I personally prefer to have a clear picture of the amount of time I’m setting aside to do something before I plan what that will look like in practice.
Morning routine logistics
When considering the amount of time you have for your morning routine, there are two main constraints:
- What time you want to wake-up, and
- What time you want to start the rest of your day
When thinking about your wake-up time, this is dictated by a range of things, including what time you go to bed and how long you want to be sleeping for. For example, if you want to aim for 8 hours of sleeping time, with a half-hour window for you to fall asleep, going to bed at 10:30pm means you should be waking up at 7am. The difference between your wake-up and the time you start the rest of your day is the length of time available for your morning routine.
The length of time you designate to your morning routine is totally up to you. In planning out how long mine takes, I like to deal with the “absolute” values first, or those that can’t be moved around. For example, if you work somewhere with a rigid starting time, the time at which you start the rest of your day may be fixed. After this, I then consider the options I have for my other more flexible components to see how long I can have for my morning routine (e.g. sleeping for longer/shorter times, going to bed earlier/later, etc.).
Transforming purpose into actions
An ideal morning routine is one that takes the purpose you’ve outlined, and transforms that into actionable tasks that you’ll actually do. Note: actually do! Make sure you’re picking actions that are realistic for you as an individual. For example, I’m not the kind of person who has a lot of enjoyment with getting up early or exercise, so I’ll be avoiding including those in my morning routine.
Consider the types of actions that align with what you want your morning routine to do for you. For example, if you want your morning routine to help you tackle the day with clarity, one of your actions might be reviewing your task list and events for the day. If you want your morning routine to help you feel energised, you might include having a glass of cold water and doing some wake-up exercises.
In this stage, I start with an open brain storm for ideas. Once they’re all down on paper, then I can think about which ones will actually get included in the routine itself.
Selecting and sequencing
When selecting the actions that you’ll include in your routine, be sure to consider the amount of time you have for your routine, and thus how many actions you can actually fit in. We don’t want your routine to become overwhelming!
Something I find helpful to do is designate approximate amounts of time to each of the steps I’ve selected for my routines. This will help me either by:
- Letting me see how many actions I can actually fit in based on the amount of time they take, or
- Letting me break up the time allocated to my morning routine once the actions are selected
When you have your actions selected, it’s then time to order them logically. For example, eating breakfast before brushing your teeth, exercise before showering, etc.
The most important step
Even more important than planning the morning routine is actually giving it a go! Any new practice can take a little bit to get used to, so I encourage you to try out your planned routine for at least a week to a month before deciding whether it works for you.
In implementing your routine, pay attention to the parts that you find easiest or most enjoyable to do, and those that you’re consistently less inclined to do. How can you tweak those to make them more exciting or enjoyable?
We know morning routines are useful, but they certainly aren’t one-size-fits all. Hopefully these steps have helped you to outline your new routine, and we’d love to hear about what you’ve included! Don’t forget to grab your printable checklist, and feel free to share this post with someone else who might be having trouble implementing a morning routine they can actually stick with!