I like to think of every day like a blank slate. It’s a chance to let go of whatever didn’t work the day before, find forward progress toward your goals and a chance to simply decide to have a good day! But, how you start your day is key. It can make all the difference between a productive day where you’re focused and checking off todo list items like you mean business and a mediocre day that has you wishing you had done more of this and less of that. Your morning routine sets the tone for your day and can help you find your focus even during the most chaotic of days.
We’ve got a few tips to help you start your day strong so that you direct your day from the minute you rise & shine!
- Step Zero…Plan the Day Before: The hubs and I both end our days in our planners and with the next day’s todo list. We assess what needs our attention the following day, what meetings we have, what tasks MUST get done, etc. We make a game plan that provides us with a starting point and gives us direction the minute we sit down at our desks the next day. This has been a game changer for both of us! If you need tips for how to rock your todo list check, we’ve shared our tricks here and if you need a tool to help you organize your todos check out our Happy Balance Planner.
- Set an Alarm: and avoid the snooze! If you use your phone as an alarm, it is so easy to slide to the right and click snooze. I seriously found myself doing this half asleep and would wake up 20 minutes later vaguely remembering pressing that snooze button. If the struggle is all too real for you, buy an alarm clock or old school alarm and put it across the room from your bed so that you are forced to hit your feet to the floor to turn the alarm off. Sometimes, the hardest part is just getting out of bed and once you take that first step, half the battle is over!
- Wake Up to Your Favorite Jam: If an alarm clock sounds like a terrible way to wake up, imagine waking up to your favorite jam! Talk about instant mood booster and instant foot taping. Who wouldn’t want to start their day with a mini dance party? True story: I’ve been known to ask the hubs to hold off on getting up and turning the alarm clock off so that I can finish listening to a song! Whether you wake up to music or you follow up a standard alarm sound with a “wake up” playlist, this is a sure way to start your day on an energetic note at the very least!
- Fill Your Belly: This seems common sense but often times we jump out of bed and get straight to work without giving ourselves and our bodies a chance to truly fuel up for the day. To make my mornings easier, I prep overnight oats (minus the bananas…no thank you!) so that I can quickly grab them out of the fridge without having to think about what sounds good. They are also extremely convenient if you need to take something on the go. To drink, I ALWAYS start my day with water and lemon. You want to start your day with a clean, fresh start and a simple glass of water and lemon can help with that literally and figuratively. If you’re like the hubs, start your coffee immediately!
- Get Your Sweat On: I’m in the camp of early morning workouts but I know that not everyone would gladly join me in that corner. Hear me out for just a quick second though! I don’t work out so that I can eat an extra cookie or count calories, I work out because it’s my stress reliever and it’s my time that I carve out completely for myself. I give myself this time so that I can actually give more of myself to others and other things like my work. When I get my sweat on first thing in the morning I feel like it powers me up! It gets my wheels turning and my energy up to tackle the todo list that I made the night before. If you aren’t convinced yet, check out this article with references and links to great studies showing how exercise can actually improve your concentration, sharpen your memory, increase productivity, enhance your creativity (yes, please!) and lower your stress (who doesn’t need that?!). My exercises of choice are a trip to the studio for a Barre3 workout or a short walk to my office for a high-energy live ride on our Peloton bike!
- Dress for Success: We are both firm believers that you dress how you feel and if we’re in our jamjams (aka pajamas) our productivity level is going to feel exactly like that: slouchy, casual, lazy. Go ahead and jump in the shower and put on a fresh outfit. You don’t need to dress to the nines, unless of course you produce you best work in your formal wear, but you just need to step out of yesterday and step completely into the new day, clothes an all! Even if that means you shower and put on your cute yoga pants and inspirational t-shirt, still carve out this time each morning.
- Set Your Intentions for the Day: Many of us have the habit of waking up and immediately turning to our phones, opening up our email, seeing what we missed on Instagram overnight, etc. I’m just as guilty of any of these activities and it’s not unusual to see me eating breakfast at my computer. But before you jump feet first into a day’s work, take a few quiet moments at the start of each day. Eliminate any possible distractions and take a few minutes each day to write down what your overall intention is for the day. Sometimes it might be very goal specific and other times it might a more general feeling or intention but taking the time to identify your focus and write it down can have a strong impact on your day. The idea is to practice intentional stillness at the start of each day so that your heart dictates your day.
Try out one of these tips or put them all to use but find a morning routine that works for you and sets you up for a day of success. Let success be defined by finding forward progress towards your goals and dreams and treat every day like a stepping stone in your journey. Let your mornings set the tone for what that stepping stone is going to look like!