As you know by now, I love mornings, and if I didn’t have my early morning alarm and my jam packed morning routine, I would be completely lost and never get anything done. Even though I love mornings, I will not deny that they are hard so a solid morning routine is really crucial. The smoother and more organised you can make your morning routine, the better off you will be in the long run when you start getting more done than you could imagine.
If your morning routine is anything like mine was a couple of years ago it probably just goes by in a complete blur with you trying to cram the bare minimum of “get ready” things done before you have to rush out the door.
It is really easy to talk about creating a morning routine, but, as I know from years of experience, actually sticking to an efficient routine is quite challenging and sometimes downright impossible. Therefore, there is no reason at all that you should be making your mornings more difficult than they need to be, but you totally could be if you are making these mistakes:
You should also check out these 9 reasons you should become a morning person
SETTING AN UNREALISTIC ALARM TIME
If you suddenly decide to change your sleep behaviour and are setting an unrealistic alarm time, your body won’t be used to the wakeup call and you are going to just start pressing snooze – I know it. There is nothing more damaging to a morning routine than that snooze button. So invest in an alarm that doesn’t even have a snooze button. Use techniques to gradually get yourself used to an earlier alarm time and stick with them throughout the weekend too (the magic of getting up early on the weekend is a whole other blog post!). Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day until you have reached that perfect, early time. If you have trouble falling asleep after your alarm goes off, set a second alarm in another room of the house. This forces you to get up and turn it off.
NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
It is going to be pretty difficult to get up in the morning if you only managed to catch 6 hours of sleep the night before. Many gurus preach that to be successful and kickass you should be working so hard you can only get 3 hours a night. That’s rubbish. Manage your time well enough and care for your health enough to schedule in at least 8 hours a night. Calculate backwards from when you want to wake up what time you need to get to sleep.
The second bonus to getting more sleep is that you will actually be able to do the work you want to do once you get up without stumbling around like a zombie for the first hour.
You might also be interested in tips about how to fall asleep faster.
CHECKING YOUR EMAILS
This habit will totally derail your morning, if not your whole day. I recommend not checking emails until at least 10am, I don’t check mine until 1pm unless I know that I need to send a particular email out.
By checking your email you are instantly adding unnecessary items to your to-do list and creating stress which ruins the mood and the flow of your morning routine. There is no point in checking emails before everyone else is at work because there is often nothing that can be done at that time anyway.
Just like sleep, another habit that, if ignored, can seriously damage your health and concentration throughout the day. All the hype about eating a good breakfast is not a fad or a joke. Eating a healthy breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, gives your body some fuel to burn throughout the day and maintains your blood sugar levels so you don’t start craving unhealthy snacks.
Bad breakfasts? Store bought cereal, white toast, just a coffee, fruit salad.
Good breakfast? Eggs, wholemeal toast, homemade granola, fried vegetables.
Mornings are your opportunity to get centered for the day ahead. Don’t ruin your whole morning routine by going overtime in one area and still having to rush out the door. You won’t remember the hour of productive work, all you’ll know is that you have to buy lunch because you left yours in the fridge.
My advice? Have time points for when you start different tasks, have breakfast, do your makeup and start getting dressed for work. Even if you want to really get in the zone and not be worrying about the time, set an alarm to go off when you need to stop working so that you never run late again.
NOT PREPARING THE NIGHT BEFORE
One of the biggest hindrances to getting productive work done each morning is the pile of laundry, dishes, ironing and mess from the movie you watched last night. Every night before bed you should take half an hour to wash up, pack up, make sure you have clothes washed and ironed for the morning, check the weather and get gym clothes ready if you are doing a work out. That way your mind can focus on creativity, instead of catching up from last night.
NOT HAVING A TO-DO LIST READY AND WAITING
Something else to prepare the night before is your to-do list. Too many mornings have I kicked myself for not getting anything prepared to do the night before. At 5am I can never think of anything important enough to do that was worth leaving bed, but if I have a list at the desk which tells me “write blog post on….” or “periscope for today:…” then I am easily able to pick up those ideas and run with them. Even simple tasks like 15 minutes on Pinterest, knit 10 rows or go for a jog will actually help you to accomplish them by just starting them. Don’t rely on your morning brain to think of things to do, when your evening brain is probably buzzing with a million things you should be doing.
KEEPING YOUR BEDROOM DARK
Having all the curtains and blinds shut tight can make getting up in the morning very difficult because your brain thinks that it’s still sleep time –and it’s probably right. It is so much easier to wake up to the sun so utilise this in the months that you can by leaving a blind up. A really great investment for the darker months is an alarm light which gradually increases it’s brightness like the rising sun. I haven’t tried one, but am thinking of investing in one for the coming winter months.
NOT SAYING GOOD MORNING TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER
It may not sound like much, but a little human interaction as we are going through our morning grind and checking social media can make all the difference to your mood and to your relationship. Take the time to acknowledge each other, check in and then you can start focusing on you and your day ahead. It’s very easy in our busy lives to just forget to interact unless we have to, “good morning” is one of the best tricks to starting your day off on the right foot.
DOING THE EASY TASKS FIRST
How many days have you left some big and scary project in favour of all the little, unimportant tasks that you know will be simple and quick? Probably most days if you are like most. Make it a habit to put the most important task on the top of your to-do list and don’t move on to something else until you can tick it off.
This will give you an endorphin boost of satisfaction straight away and you will be pumped to make the day a productive and fulfilling one.
How many of those bad habits are you guilty of? Why not try and keep a record of how you spend your mornings so that you can rid your mornings of those bad habits with a little will power and a lot of motivation.
You may think that making sure you get as much done in the morning as possible is the aim of an effective morning routine, but sometimes the tasks that we find ourselves doing are not ever worth it. Make sure you aren’t making these crucial mistakes which could be setting you back before you even make your morning coffee.
Tell me, what has helped you the most with creating a streamlined morning routine?