How establishing a meaningful morning routine can positively impact your life

Getting up early has lots of great benefits that make it a worthwhile goal to aim for. It improves your chances of exercising, it allows you to have a healthy breakfast which can set you up for the day, it can put you in a better mood, improve your proactivity and increase your more productivity.

Getting up to start the day, rather than to just get ready to go to work can be highly motivating.

I moved to South Africa 3 years ago and everything starts earlier there. Work starts earlier, the gym opens earlier and people tend to get up earlier. What I realized whilst I was there was that if you use this morning time, before work productively, it can set you up for an amazing day I have been perfecting my morning routine ever since I moved there and now I love that time in the morning so much, I am continuing to get up early and use that time wisely.

 

The first thing required in order to get up early is to ensure you have had enough sleep. Most people need between 6 and 8 hours to feel well rested and function well the next day. There is no point getting up early, but having less than 6 hours sleep, meaning you are tired all day.

 

Try not to snooze, or if you are addicted to snoozing, just give yourself a 5 minute maximum time limit. Snoozing eats into your morning routine time. That time is precious, you want to use it wisely and snoozing no doubt isn’t the number one goal you want to be achieving.

 

You need to create a vision for how you want to use your morning. You have a certain amount of time from when you wake up, until when you start work, or your day routine begins.  All the time in between is yours to decide how to best use it. I have a vision for my morning routine:

  • Alarm goes off at 5.30am
  • 10 minute max to check social media whilst waking up
  • Exercise (different type and length each day up to a maximum of an hour)
  • 10 mins mindfulness meditation
  • Shower and dressed
  • Cook breakfast and prepare lunch to take to work
  • Eat breakfast
  • Write

In my current situation I am extremely lucky as my job starts at 9am, which is an hour later than my previous job, so if I continue to get up at 5.30am, which is my current routine, I have just over 3 whole hours to utilise for my morning routine which is such a luxury. I value those 3 hours immensely, I usually use the time in the following way, sticking close to the vision I have created:

  • Alarm goes off at 5.30am
  • Quick check of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter for max 10 mins combined, whilst waking up (I find this helps if you want to eliminate snoozing)
  • Exercise. Some days I go for an hour run, others just 10 mins, but I try and do some exercise every day.
  • Meditate using Headspace for 10 minutes
  • Shower and change
  • Prepare  and eat breakfast and make lunch to take to work with me. You can check my Instagram account for my healthy breakfast ideas.
  • 15 minute productivity blast. This is 15 minutes focused on my personal to do list.
  • Write a blog post, or any other article I am working on

There is quite a lot of flexibility in the routine. If I have exercised for a full hour, I have 40 minutes left to write. If I have not exercised for an hour, I usually have more writing time. There are days where I don’t exercise at all and this allows me a lot of writing time. I think it is useful to have flexibility in your routine, but I also have 3 principles I always stick to:

  1. No more than 10 minutes on social media.This can easily turn into an hour or even more if you don’t put a time limit on it
  2. No snoozing. If I wake up really tired for some reason, I would rather reset my alarm for later to allow me to catch up on some quality sleep, than keep snoozing, which gives you interrupted sleep
  3. Eat breakfast.I always cook a healthy breakfast. If for some reason on the odd occasion, I don’t eat it at home, I eat it as soon as I arrive in the office

 

You need to decide what time you can get up in the morning. Then calculate what time you have to leave for work, and how many hours that leaves you to fit in your desired morning routine. If you need to start getting up a lot earlier than you currently do to fit everything in, I would suggest getting up slightly earlier every week until you achieve your goal. If you make a significant change over night, it might be a bit overwhelming and harder to make it stick as a habit.

 

How do you decide what to do in your morning routine?

The things I think are beneficial for everyone to incorporate into their morning are:

  • Mediation
  • Movement of some sort, even if it gentle stretching or walking
  • Healthy breakfast
  • Something productive. I write, but other people might want to read or carry out a hobby. Something that is for you.

Although everyone will have different desires for how they spend their morning, the 4 points above I would say ensure you start your day in the best way to set yourself up for success.

 

What are the benefits of creating an effective morning routine?

– There are a lot less obstacles in the morning that will present themselves to you. Usually the only thing stopping you from having an effective morning routine is your own motivation to get up. In the evening so many other things can get in the way such as work, social events, or just lack of energy after a full day of work or chores.

– Many people have more energy in the morning as you have just rested all night. You can then get more things done whilst your energy levels are high, meaning you are often more productive overall. If you are more productive in the morning it can set you up with the right mindset for the whole day.

– You can often have quiet time before other people are up, meaning you can be more focused without distractions.

 

If you need help in establishing an effective morning routine you can sign up for my 7 day guided course on Establishing an Effective Morning Routine on CoachMe, where you will be guided through how to make this habit stick.

I’d love to hear how you use the time you have in the morning and whether your morning routine makes you more productive.

6 Comments

  1. Laura July 14, 2015 at 7:25 am #

    I’ve just started a new morning routine, I had been waking up and reading at 7am but still felt I could achieve more so I took the plunge and now wake at 6. I press snooze for 10 (old habits die hard). I give myself a 20 minute reading time and prayers. At 6:30 I go for a run for 30 mins. At 7am I get showered and dressed while getting my little boy up and breakfast and ready for school. At 8 I prepare my juice for the morning. 8:30 my official day starts…….I will go over your advice again and see where more opportunities lie. I have reduced my social media time as it was eating up my life!! Thanks Mel, keep up the good work.

    Reply

    • Mel Johnson July 14, 2015 at 8:34 am #

      Hi Laura. Great news that you have managed to find a whole extra hour in the morning by getting up at 6am. This is my absolute favourite time of the day, before everyone else is up and when I am at my absolute most productive. It feels great starting work knowing you have already achieved so much and you are feeling fully awake. Social media is also by far my biggest temptation that can take up too much time! I have got strict with putting a time limit on it!

      Reply

  2. Elly July 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    I’m with you on the morning routine definitely, it sets the day up right if you get it right. However, when you add three small children to the mix planning in some time to yourself (or sticking to any kind of plan in fact!) is not as easy as all that.

    Reply

    • Mel Johnson July 16, 2015 at 7:56 am #

      Ah yes, I am sure having 3 children makes things a lot more complicated.

      Check out my book review on Laura Vanderkams I Know How She Does It https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SyrwSiI2qs. There are some really useful tips in this book on how to manage your time when you have children. Its a great book with loads of practical ideas.

      Reply

      • Elly July 20, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

        Great review and sounds like a great book, thanks! X

        Reply

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