I’ve always been a morning person, but I’ve never had an ideal morning routine. THAT CHANGES THIS YEAR, FRIENDS.
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Original photo byNathan Dumlao
While I don’t consider myself a productivity guru by any means, I will say I’m probably more aware of good habits and bad habits, and the wide chasm between them. I know what I need to do in order to hit the goals I’ve set for myself, and I know all the self-defeating things I do that prevent me from being where I want to be.
I’ve been taking a look at what it is that I do every day and where it doesn’t align with what I want out of life.
(Turns out mindlessly scrolling through Instagram isn’t how you achieve your dreams – it’s just how you mindlessly scroll through Instagram. It’s also not a part of my ideal morning routine, though for some reason, it’s what I’ve been doing A LOT of.)
And while I can’t make over my whole life in the beginning of the year, I can start with one piece of the day, and whip it into shape.
The ideal morning routine I’m about to share with you is pretty close to what I already have going. There’s a few additions here and there, as well as a subtraction or two. (THAT’S RIGHT, IPHONE! NO ROOM FOR YOU IN THE MORNINGS.) These are things that I think will work really well for me and the mornings I want to have, and maybe they’ll work for you too.Do you look at your phone first thing in the morning? Click To Tweet
The Ideal Morning Routine
001: Don’t look at my phone.
It’s insane how much starting the day by looking at your phone will straight up ruin your morning. I’m not saying that reading texts and tweets is bad for you, but what I am saying is that it’s hard to get a productive workflow going when you’re already in the “check my phone” mindset. I’ve noticed that when I don’t look at my phone until 10 AM, I have a more productive morning, even if that means I just get a lot of thinking done.
So, to make this a reality, I’ll have to get back to using my sweet alarm clock. I used to be really good about using this one, but then I fell off the wagon and started using my phone. And because I have to turn my phone alarm off first thing, I tend to check the tweets and other stuff too. BUT NO MORE I TELL YOU! My Phillips Wake-Up Light is great because it lets you wake up slowly and naturally with the light, but has a heinous alarm sound for the days when you just can’t seem to wake up. *ahemcoughHANGOVERcoughahem*
I’ve found that with this alarm clock, I’m awake before the alarm even goes off on most days.
(Side note: Remember when I detached from my phone? I need to do this again.)
002: Start with the thing I want to do the most – writing.
I’ve realized that I’m never going to have the energy or mental capacity to write after work. My brain is so fried by the end of the day from answering questions and interacting with other humans that it’s nearly impossible to even put my fingers on the right keys on my laptop.
So, rather than waiting until the end of the day to do the one thing that I really want to do, I’m going to start the day with it. It’s my goal to start waking up at 5:30 AM, reach for my AlphaSmart and lap desk (same lap desk from my blogger and writer gift guide) , and get to digging in those word mines. I’m choosing to use the AlphaSmart instead of my laptop because I don’t want to be tempted by the internet.
(If you’re interested in a post about the AlphaSmart or other ways to give you a nearly analog writing practice with a keyboard, lemme know in the comments!)
003: Get some steps in.
By the time I’ve gotten some writing done, Rosie will be stirring. She’s a pretty sleepy beast, and isn’t the type to wake up early. In fact, there are many mornings when I try to get her out of her bed, but she just stays there, hoping I’ll leave her alone. So, I’m hoping by giving myself some writing time, Rosie gets a few extra winks, and will be ready for the morning walk.
Around 6:30 AM, I’ll throw on my sneakers (and layers and layers of sweats to keep warm) and take Rosie on our morning one-mile walk. Rosie definitely takes her time with that walk, and takes advantage of all the things that are available to sniff. So, it’s not uncommon for this walk to take us up to 25 minutes. (She’s very thorough in making sure that she picks up every potential scent.) Because the pace of this walk isn’t exactly a workout, I also want to come home and get 20-30 minutes of running in on the treadmill.
And before you say it, no. I can’t take Rosie running. She’s got hip dysplasia, arthritis, and her bones are fusing. A nice, slow walk is about as good as it gets for her. And my allergies are too bad to ever be able to enjoy running outside.Mornings are for coffee and contemplation. Click To Tweet
004: Coffee and contemplation.
My favorite part of the day is sitting on the couch with Rosie in the morning. After her walk, I will feed her. She can eat while I’m on the treadmill and while the coffee is brewing. Then, it’s time for couch cuddles while I chug water and coffee.
I’m going to try really hard to use this time just for writing in my planner, or reading or just getting my head on right for the day. It would really be ideal if I didn’t use this time for watching YouTube or reading my Bloglovin feed. But I am only human, and there are some mornings where I kind of just want to keep my brain shut off by consuming content. I know that doing these things later in the day is better, just because it keeps my morning brain clear for the day, and I’m able to focus on the stuff to come.
(Before you ask, no. I don’t eat breakfast. I used to be a breakfast eater, but I’m not anymore. I, too, believed that it was the most important meal of the day, until I found that there were just as many studies done that have proved it’s not important. At the end of the day, do what works for you. Not eating breakfast really works for me, so I don’t do it.)
Also, if you’re not 100% a morning person and don’t feel like waking up early, but you do want a better morning, check out thise post on 6 ways you can have a better morning from Retro Housewife Goes Green.
005: Get ready for the day.
This is the part of the morning I hate. Usually by 8:15 AM, it’s time to hop in the shower and get dressed. Perhaps the most important goal I currently have is to own a shower cup holder for my coffee mug. That would make this time a bit more enjoyable.
(I’ve looked. You can only get beer or wine glass holders for the shower. And don’t get me wrong, that sounds awesome. But, it’s probably not what I should be sipping as I get ready for work.)
After I shower, I get dressed, do my hair and makeup, and then chug some more water and coffee. And if it’s warm enough, I’ll sit in the backyard with Rosie for a bit, just so she can get some more outside time before I head off for the day around 9:30. Then I’ll throw all my books and my lunch in a backpack, and walk to work.
What’s Your Ideal Morning Routine?
Obviously, this ideal morning routine won’t work for everyone. I’m incredibly lucky in that I don’t have to be at work until 10 AM, and it only takes me 15 minutes on foot to get there. And because I do have the privilege of a pretty open morning, I want to take advantage of it by getting in the important things before my workday starts.What's your ideal morning routine? Click To Tweet
What about you? What’s your ideal morning routine? Any tricks for not looking at your phone first thing?
I like the idea of starting the day with what you want to do the most. Sounds much more appealing than starting the day with something you “should” do but don’t necessarily want to do.
Exactly! I used to start the day with a boot camp workout at 5:30 AM. Needless to say, it was impossible to get out of bed.
This does sound ideal! I don’t sleep with my phone beside me or use it as an alarm but it (or my tablet) are the first thing I look at in the morning. NO MORE OF THAT!
It’s crazy what a difference it makes when you don’t look at a screen first thing.
I love your routine! You and I have been thinking about a lot of the same things recently. I planned out my ideal morning also, and put it in my planner. Now that my daughter is back to college, I can hopefully get that routine back up and running! This was great.
Thank you! And it’s a great time of year for building new habits. I hope your mornings are productive!