Some days are naturally more productive than others. There are productive days and lazy days, but usually we feel much better at the end of a productive day. Some evenings we feel frustrated and even feel lethargic reflecting on the lack of productivity in our day. Some evenings we are pleasantly surprised with how much we were able to get done in just one day. Which days are these? There must have been something that helped us to be especially productive that day… What are the secrets? Our mornings right from when we wake up, undoubtedly shape how the rest of the day will go because mornings give us a fresh start (every single day). Creating a consistent morning routine and waking up feeling well rested, ready to seize the day, sets us up for well — a life of productivity. (Yay!) Here is my 10 part daily morning routine that has helped me to have productive days. (I wish I had the self discipline to strictly follow this routine everyday/ every morning myself to ensure that ever-so-satisfying feeling of productivity everyday).
1. Prepare the Night Before
Spending a few minutes to plan your morning or day the night before, saves you a lot of stress and aggravation the following morning. This step is extraordinarily simple. Minimize what you’ll have to do in the morning by doing it the evening before. Generally evenings are relaxing and we have more free time. Mornings are usually rushed and stressful. Doing as much as we can to simplify our mornings will destress our mornings. Since the beginning of the day is such a fundamental time to shape the rest of the day, making mornings simple is important. Preparing your outfit, meals or to do list for the next day the evening before will gives you more time in the morning. More time = more relaxation = more productivity.
2. Wake Up 20/ 30 Minutes Earlier Than You Need To/ Avoid Lengthy Screen Time Till After You’re Done Step 10
Waking up 20/ 30 minutes earlier and getting out of bed right away already puts you in a great spot, zone, mood to start your day. Doing this will give you the precious and irreplaceable gift of time. What is one thing we can’t buy and always seem to be running out of (especially when running late)? Time! As much as we would like to allocate different amounts of time for different parts of our morning routine, nothing ever goes exactly as we planned it right? If it takes me this long to eat in the morning and get ready and I want to leave by this time I’ll have to wake up by this time. No, no, no, no, no! In being human, it is really hard for everything we planned to go exactly as we planned (because we are flawed creatures). As a part of getting ready, we might need to print something and the printer doesn’t work. We might be entirely ready to leave the house till we realize we can’t find our keys. We might be eating breakfast and spill something so we’ll have to change or wash what we are wearing. Giving yourself the extra 20 or 30 minutes to deal with the beginning of the day hiccups we are bound to come across makes for a relaxing and organized start to your day.
How many times do we tell ourselves we’ll finally get out of bed and off our phones after watching a YouTube video or reading an article? Or we’ll tell ourselves we’ll get out of bed at 8:00, then when it hits 8:01, you realized you missed your chance to get up and then tell yourself you’ll finally get up at 8:10. Then before you know it, it’s 2 hours and 45 minutes later and you’re still on your phone in bed after telling yourself you would get up for almost 3 hours. At this point you just feel pathetic and stay in bed all day. Minimizing screen time to answering a good morning text or from opening a couple snapchats will help you get your day started on a productive note. Staying in bed with your phone for over a couple minutes in the morning will progressively make you feel more and more lazy as time goes on. Answer a couple texts and get your day started, don’t wait!
3. Do Your Bed
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” – Navy Seal William H. McCraven
Here’s a link to one of the most motivating videos to blow up this year.
Small accomplishments start off the day. Small accomplishments lead to bigger accomplishments. If we can start off our days with the most basic daily accomplishment, it will lead us to our next task yet to be accomplished and on to the next. Often times the hardest thing to do during a particularly defeating rut is to get up and out of bed and to make your bed. If we manage to get out of bed and make it, we’ve really overcome our first hurdle, which gives us motivation to conquer the next one.
4. Brush Your Teeth
Once you’ve completed your first small task of doing your bed, you can tackle your next small task and achieve your second mini accomplishment, brushing your teeth. Starting off your day with fresh breath is bound to help start your day on a positive note. Not only does brushing your teeth right after waking up give you confidence with fresh breath. Brushing your teeth also removes bodily toxins, keeps your teeth & gums healthy as well as even makes the food you eat taste better. Plaque builds up over night and getting rid of morning breath even before breakfast will help you feel fresh right from the start of the day.
5. Take a Look at a Daily To Do List (Modify a Template)
I have a rough template (which you can find here) for my daily to do list which I modify daily. (Modify your to do list for the day and print it, the evening before so you aren’t rushing to print it in the morning). This template includes everyday tasks and day specific tasks. Included in my everyday tasks are:
- Healthy Diet (foods to eat and avoid, cross them out when you’ve eaten them)
- Vitamins (daily vitamin intake, cross them out when you’ve taken them)
- Water (8 glasses of water a day, cross out numbers as you drink each glass)
- Exercise (exercise options, cross out the option you used for exercise today)
- Creative Work (creative work options, cross out the option you used for creative work today)
- Stress Management (stress management options, cross out the option you used for stress management today)
In my template I also include what especially helps me to feel good and be productive as a reminder to make sure I take whatever vitamins or eat whatever food I need. Lastly in my template I add day specific tasks that I need to get done. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, physically crossing out “to do tasks” gives me an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I also discussed the importance of small goals and approachable to do lists. Actually getting everything done on your list will feel very rewarding at the end of the day. Giving yourself an approachable to do list and getting everything will feel much better than having several tasks left incomplete. Create lists and know what you can handle so you can set achievable goals. Constantly crossing out small tasks throughout the day helps you to feel motivated to keep on finishing and crossing off more tasks!
Having a lot of pen marks crossing out list items and writing little comments helps me realize the productivity of my day and shows all my little wins throughout the day too. I have a pile of these used and marked up to do lists in my room that I keep in a binder.
6. Take a Shower!
What helps you freshen up more than a shower in the morning? Feeling clean is refreshing and helps us feel more confident at the beginning of the day. Looking, smelling and feeling good gives us the confidence and motivation to have a productive day. I know I don’t need to explain the several benefits of a refreshing shower in the morning and how good it feels to start the day off clean!
7. Swap Your Coffee for Lemon Water
There are seriously so many benefits to drinking lemon water that you don’t realize. Lemon water and its benefits are not placebo, they are real, alive and well. Lemon water is good for your liver, kidney, skin, losing weight, fresh breath, stomach and overall immune system. I won’t take the time to back everything up but squeeze a half or full lemon into your water everyday for 2 weeks and notice the difference. Water in general also helps with hydration and feeling alert. As we all know the effects of caffeine are temporary and actually makes us feel more tired after the caffeine high than how we felt originally. Water is cleansing, hydrating and gets our bodies started on a good note. Read a little more about how awesome lemon water is here.
8. Eat a Nutritious Breakfast/ Take Vitamins
In my template I talked a little bit about diet and what foods to eat and avoid when trying to maintain a healthy diet. For obvious reasons, eating a nutritious breakfast is so important to start your day on a good note. A nutritious breakfast helps our bodies feel good and our minds, sharp. Also take your time to research and consult a doctor about what vitamins you should take considering your own nutrient or vitamin deficiencies. It is easy to do a very basic Google search on foods that are helpful when you are having different types of health problems. Buying and eating some fruits, veggies, meat or other protein alternatives for breakfast will help us body, and mind to feel well nourished, energized, focused and ready to seize the day.
9. Get Ready
Since you woke up 20/30 minutes early you now have time to relax and enjoy getting ready. Wearing an outfit and/ or makeup you feel physically comfortable in and believe you look good in also helps you start your day off well. The other day I went to buy a new pair of Nikes at a new clearance store near my house. Wearing a hoodie, with messy hair and no makeup, I didn’t feel confident or myself. I didn’t end up buying any shoes because I was so frustrated that I let myself the leave the house looking like a mess. It doesn’t happen often now, but when I leave my house careless about my appearance, it almost always catches up with me later. Feel dignified and put a little effort into your look, to love yourself, to feel confident (if this helps you to feel confident) to feel motivated and ready to be productive. Be willing to tackle the obstacles that the day throws at you staring at your hurdles fiercely in the face.
10. A Little Cardio
Starting off the day with a little cardio will help get your body moving. Cardio provides us with that rejuvenated, fresh and ready for the day feeling. As thoroughly described in my World Mental Health Day post cardio is important for your mental and physical wellbeing. I also describe a little bit about my favourite type of cardio in this post. Making an effort to involve a little cardio during the start of your day, you will later in the day, reap the benefits. Going for even a 15 minute walk or bike ride or walking to a bus stop or to get coffee instead of just hopping into the car will give us that will also help us to feel refreshed and motivated.
What are your secrets/ tips to ensure you have a motivating morning routine that eventually turns into a productive day?