Finding your morning routine
A guide as to how to create the best morning routine that is uniquely yours..
With 'International week of happiness at work' approaching, we felt this year, more so than any other year, we would focus on setting us all up for a great day whether we work from home or are going back into the office right now.
by Helen Sharland
A year ago
There’s now truer word said than by Tim Ferris’ most famous quote, ‘If you win the Morning, you win the day’ - so how do we go about this, how do we create a great morning routine with all our other life commitments happening around us?
Uniquely your routine
Firstly it’s important to note that no two people are the same, what works for one doesn’t work for another and therefore this process is one that only you will be able to figure out and you must be compassionate to yourself about it if other people’s morning routines simply don’t work for you, there’s no room for comparison on this one so enjoy experimenting for a couple of weeks before finding your own groove! (I’m talking to you parent’s with small children - sleep is King first and foremost in this stage of life, please DO NOT add pressure if you are researching morning routines whilst you have babies and toddlers in the house!)
Having experimented ourselves with morning routines, varying situations over the years from daily commuting, to working around babies, toddlers, and now young children AND teenagers, we understand how life can get in the way! So again, if you are at similar stages in your life, be kind to yourself and realise what works for you one year may need to adjust another year.
Early to bed early to rise?
There is no doubt that being an early riser when you have a full plate at home and work does have it’s benefits. Many like to get up early and get a few hours of work in first, say from 5am - 7 am, then their day is slightly offset and leave an afternoon more free for other persuits. If you can, this is a very productive way to work, the silence is golden. Others prefer to exercise at 6am, plan their day then take on the rest of the day, there is no one size fits all. Stay with us for specific ideas below.
How to create a productive yet gentle morning routine
So what is a proven method of a productive morning? What we’ve found in our endeavours to nail the perfect morning, as a husband and wife team with a family, is that you need to start with building a habit and that only happens with consistency. One thing I would say, as a former night owl with children and businesses to run, this simply doesn’t work for us anymore, we also value sleep way more than we did and it’s a vital thing to factor in to your wellbeing and how well you function (that’s a whole other topic!). The following practices are a pretty sure fired way to get you going;
- Set an alarm, use a gentle sounding tone (preferably not your phone) or sunrise lamp if you’d prefer, but try to get up at a time that ensures you get 8 hours sleep ideally. 6 am is a good starting point, if you can go for 5/5.30am that’s great. The caveat is that the early you rise the earlier to bed you probably need to go, which is no bad thing scientifically apparently..
- Exercise, now this is a split opinion one, no doubt if you can do a full cardio hiit at this time go for it, if not, try a gentle yoga, get the body moving and stretching and focus on you for half an hour, if you can, add some meditation, it doesn’t have to be long. A great start is Yoga with Adrienne
- Make your bed, a cliche but always a good one, tidy house tidy mind, do it every day and it will become a satisfying habit.
- Journal or planner, there are a plethora of wonderful productivity journals out there with goal setting in mind, get all of your thoughts down on paper (our favourites are linked here The Positive Planner Hello Day Best Self )
- Read, now most people like to read in the evening, but reading in the morning is also a good option, quiet time for learning and really absorbing.
- Morning Walk/Run, the runners out there will quite often opt for a morning run, if that’s not your thing go for a brisk walk amongst nature, always a good idea to listen to a podcast too, magnifying your productivity whenever you can, listening to podcasts can be done whilst achieving something else from walking to driving and cooking, it’s an excellent way to learn.
- Work, if you feel an early start is what you need to make the most of the phone not ringing and quiet focus time, then do so, you could potentially get most of your days work done by 10am if you were to rise at 5, but as I say, you do what’s best for you, find your rhythm by experimenting.
- Do NOT check your phone immediately! By giving yourself 1-2 hours of focus time in whichever area you choose, leave your phone until you are ready to take on the day properly, it’s a huge distraction and know that it will eat up your time.
So there is our list of possibilities to choose from to start creating your ideal morning, choose the ones that resonate with you the most, be true to yourself and give them a go for 2 weeks, tweak it if you need to then really try to stick to the one that works for you. Note the lack of checking your phone immediately when you wake up, this is vital, phones out of your reach in the morning will help with this, but if you can give yourself an hour without checking anything before you will feel so much clearer to start your day.
By making these small shifts, the difference you will see in your daily productivity will be huge, you will begin to slide daily micro tasks that need doing into your morning routine too which will elevate mental and physical ‘clutter’ and then you can work on your evening and weekly routines to really make the most out of your days.
Remember to let us know how you’re going over on instagram @mantel_joy and if you have any further tips about nailing the morning routine do share with the community!