My morning routine at the moment consists of waking up at six, when my alarm goes off, dragging myself out of bed, getting ready, and getting out of the door in half an hour to start my hour commute. I do my makeup in the car on the way to work (I don’t drive don’t worry!) and I get to work feeling pretty good because I get an entire hour of my Spotify playlist before I get to work.
But in the spirit of 2019, I wanted to see if I could streamline this at all. If I could try something new and actually enjoy my morning routines (for once).
1. The ‘do something for you’ routine
Wake up and do something for you. Solely for you. That’s the premise. So I had to set my alarm for one hour earlier. Five am. So what? Could it be that difficult? Actually, it started off okay. The alarm went off, I slid out of bed and decided that I would do one solid hour of writing.
The problem was ten minutes later, I was almost asleep. I’d written five or six lines and the house was so dark and quiet that it felt like the middle of the night. Maybe this hobby was better for summer? Maybe. Maybe, as I crawled back into bed, I decided that I’d try again with something else. Another thing I wanted to do was workout. That’s something for me. So the next day, I woke up, laced up my trainers and started my 30-minute workout. I hated it. The waking up part, not the working out part. That was actually quite inspired. In fact, I’d recommend it. After my shower, after I dressed and had something to eat, everyone else in my house started waking up. I was ready for the day, I started writing my to-do list early and I was smashing it like never before. I was already ahead of everything.
Nobody told me that working out in the morning could give you such a boost. I think that this is the secret. I am truly converted, I’ve decided to take this up for a few days a week in the future if I want to be more productive and on-the-ball during the day, I need to get up earlier and workout. Even if it is gentle. I mean, there’s a reason why Anna Wintour does it.
2. Eat the frog
I heard this a few times. Eat. The. Frog. Start with your hardest task first. Similar to the first one, this requires me to wake up earlier and work on the hardest task of the day. Which, for me, was coming up with some catchy copy. Sometimes, it’s harder than it seems. So I did it. I put the lights on and my headphones in (I knew that I would fall asleep if I didn’t) and then started to tackle my hardest task of the day.
And actually, I managed to do it. And go to work with one last thing on my to-do list. It was a little bit of breathing room I didn’t know I needed. But, I knew it wasn’t sustainable. I need my work-life balance, I need my mornings for something other than ‘eating the frog’. So I put this one to the back burner, great idea, but not a great morning routine. There’s no time to actually unwind. No time to relax. That’s what I really need.
3. Ask yourself a question
Steve Jobs started his day the same way every day. “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
This morning routine requires mindfulness and a little bit of refection. Both of which I’m good at. So, I set my alarm not so early this time, 5:30, got up, grabbed a pen and paper and started. First I asked myself the Steve Jobs question and decided that yes, I would, but I’d probably want to add more friend and family stuff. Which made me realize I needed to make plans, call my sister, and do something fun in the evening. Next, I wrote a list, just five minutes. Things I am grateful for, things I want to do, little moments that make me happy. This was by far my favorite morning routine. No heavy lifting. No sweaty mornings. Just a pen, a book, and my own brain.
And I liked this one the best of all. Morning mindfulness. The best thing of all, was that when I hopped into work some hours later, I felt lifted. I felt grateful, optimistic, and willing to spread that joy onto my colleagues. To crack some jokes. I felt confident, and happy with my decisions, because I’d taken the time to think. And to realize what I had.
All this made me realize, my mornings had been wasted. Wasted I tell you. I could be working out (part of my goal for 2019), I could be writing, I could be working, or I could be embracing positivity. And while the first alarm feels horrifying, the actual outcome of the day is so much better when I wake up earlier. So, are you trying any morning routines?
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