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How to Make a Killer Morning Routine

How many struggle to wake up in the morning?  Believe me, I’ve had plenty of my own battles when wake up time comes around.  Though I am sure to wake up easier if I hop right out of bed when the alarm goes off, sometimes I get stuck snoozing because of a really good dream…

Let’s face it, waking up can be hard.

A few weeks ago I had to have a serious chat with myself about some changes to my routine. For any of you that know me well, you know I’m stubborn, so when I determined to change my mornings, I wasn’t going to let habit stand in my way. My night time routine consisted of me going to bed when I felt like it, never any setting any boundaries for my rest. This flexibility seemed nice in theory, but it turns out it was detrimental to my morning energy.

I also operated under the belief that I could determine how my day would go during those first waking moments.  Despite evidence to the contrary, I carried on this way for years, despite actually being too groggy in the morning to function at such a high level.

It wasn’t just that I needed time in the morning to not be rushed and go about what I needed to do.  I actually needed a set routine that had each step listed out so as I bumbled through, I wasn’t able to get off track or forget what’s next.  Things many people do, like shower, eat, get dressed, and things that are important to myself as an entrepreneur, like read, write, and exercise.

Early morning is such a great time for self care and development because it’s so peaceful, you can have true tranquility before the symphony of texts and emails tones your way. This is the best time to be present with yourself and see what you need from you, not what others may want from you.

How To Create A Killer Morning Routine

So let’s get you a killer morning routine.  Grab a writing implement, a piece of paper, and your thinking hat.

  1.  What NEEDS to happen every morning?  These may be simple things like shower, eat, get dressed.  Or maybe you have other items that you are determined to have happen every morning.  Write them down first.
  2. Next, what do you WANT to do in the morning?  For me things like yoga, meditation, reading, and writing fall under this category.  I truly intend to do all these things in the morning, but if I sleep late, they are the things that can be knocked off the list without consequences (you can show up to your first meeting without having done yoga but not without having gotten dressed!).
  3. What could help your mornings go better -or- what are some stretch goals?  Dancing got added to my list because it’s great exercise (especially for someone in the icy north) and it helps wake me up.  It’s a total stretch goal, something that doesn’t necessarily make my work better, but it helps bridge the gap between the need to move and the need to wake up.

Now let’s take a look at your list.  Just because something needs to happen in the morning doesn’t mean it has to happen first.  In fact, I found that I did better with the ‘need to do items’ if they were interspersed between other tasks.  Consider how the tasks will flow together.  For example, it doesn’t make sense for you to do something that might soil your clothes after you’ve gotten dressed.

Here’s a snippet of my morning routine so you can see how I thought about the steps.

First, I wake up (obviously) at my desired time.  I then brush my teeth and pee (yep, I was that detailed on my list) while the shower warms up.  Even though I exercise after showering, I have found that a shower helps wake me up so much that it’s important to just do it and not be too concerned.  After I shower I dance — I’m still a little groggy from the warm water but I’m more awake than before and dancing helps really get me up.  I do a minimum of three songs.  The first one usually sucks.  I’m just barely moving.  The last one has me bouncing around and I might even have 5lb weights in my hands.  It’s after the dancing that I do yoga.  My body is warmed up and, as a result, I’m more limber and able to mentally flow.  After yoga I meditate.  Yoga is designed to prepare the body to meditate, which is why it always goes after.

That’s the first hour of my morning routine.  My entire morning routine takes three hours, which I didn’t know before.  I thought I only needed two hours, but also would skip a lot of items.  Knowing I need three hours changed my wake up time from 6:45am to 5:58am (yep, I’m weird like that).  Knowing my wake time and my desired hours of sleep, I now know what time I need to be in bed.  And I stick to it.  Studies show that keeping a regular sleep cycle improves everything, including work. As entrepreneurs, our work quality is of the utmost importance.

Mornings set up your day, they create a solid foundation for you. This is about protecting your time, because it is precious. Experiment with routines and find what works for you. Setting up this select time for your self to set intentions, be alone, and take care of your body is a very healthy habit to master!

Check out my video on the matter: