10 Tips for a Productive (and happy) Morning
Happy Autumn, everyone!
Autumn feels like a time to return to routine, to structure, and to systems. Any surprise that it’s my favorite season? 🤗
Some of my very favorite routines and systems revolve around morning time. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I really thrive within structure and that having a plan and being organized usually relieves a ton of stress and makes me more efficient.
Here are 10 of my favorite tips for starting the day:
- Plan the night before: I start my morning the night before by outlining the next day in my Bullet Journal, choosing an outfit, packing my work bag, and even getting my lunch ready. With these things finished and out of the way I find that my actual morning routine is less full and less chaotic which really helps to keep my morning hours calm.
- Get up early: Provided that you are able to get enough good sleep the night before, getting up early is another great way to ensure a calm morning. Don’t snooze! Try to get out of bed and get your body moving as soon as the alarm sounds.
- Now get moving: Grab some water, walk a little, stretch, maybe even step outside for some fresh air. Getting up early enough to give yourself plenty of time to get ready without feeling rushed is a must for me. I hate the feeling of being rushed, and if I’m rushing I am prone to forget something. I give myself a 90-minute window** to complete my morning routine so that I ensure I get everything done and get out the door without feeling frazzled. **I realize that not everyone has the opportunity to take this much time in their routines, but I want to emphasize that with proper planning you can set aside enough time in your morning routine to reduce chaos, get things done, and start your day calmly.
- Eat breakfast: Always! After getting ready I head to the kitchen and make the same exact breakfast every morning: coconut-chocolate-chia buckwheat oatmeal with a little honey and sliced bananas. I also have a protein shake (which I make the night before!). If you’re not keen on having the same thing for breakfast everyday research some quick and easy breakfast options and do the prep work the night before or even all at once at the beginning of the week.
- Make + drink the coffee: I recently learned that it is better for us to eat before having our morning coffee, so I’ve made a commitment to have water and breakfast before having my cup of bean juice. My husband and I don’t have a coffee maker and we love the ritual of hand-grinding the coffee and using our French Presseach morning. I usually get the coffee going while I’m making breakfast and drink my 16oz during my commute and while at work. BONUS TIP: after doing the Whole30 I started adding coconut oil to my coffee, and call me crazy, but it really does make me feel smarter.
- Do your morning dishes: I won’t get scoldy, but this small behavioral change has seriously changed my life. Oftentimes when I’d go to make dinner, I would get so frustrated about the kitchen being messy with breakfast dishes. I hated that I’d have to clean then cook then clean. By simply scrubbing my breakfast dishes, putting them in the dishwasher or rack, and clearing the counters, I am setting my future-self up for success and happiness.
- Get in the Word: As a Christian, this is a crucial step in my morning routine. I don’t always have the time to dig in to a major Bible study in the morning, but I have found dependable resources that I love for my morning Scripture time. 1) Scotty Smith’s book, Everyday Prayers, is a wonderful little book with a daily Scripture passage and prayer; his writing is beautiful, poetic, and practical. 2) She Reads Truth is another daily resource that I have used and enjoyed in the past. 3) My current favorite resource is listening through The Daily Office and Morning Prayer with the Trinity Mission--so much Scripture and beautiful liturgy.
- Communicate: As best as possible I try and connect with my husband in the mornings. He isn’t always able to get up as early as I do, but even on those mornings we set aside a short time for a morning phone call later on. Connecting with the people in your life in the morning is a great way to set your day up. John and I always briefly discuss our separate schedules and any expectations we might have for the day--sort of like a mini Sync Meeting.
- Make your commute count: For those of us who have a commute to school or work in the mornings, use that time well. Perhaps you can combine this with the previous “Communicate” tip and call a loved one. For me, I start my commute with listening to Morning Prayer (see #7) and then pump up the jams or put on an audiobook or podcast.
- Pray and put on your grateful glasses: Last, but certainly not least, start your day with prayer--specifically prayers of thankfulness and gratitude. I find that when I get my gratitude glasses on early in the morning I am much more able to view my day through the lenses of gratefulness no matter what might get thrown my way.
Looking back at my list I feel a bit crazy and over-organized, is that possible? I’m sure that if I had kids or wasn’t working full-time this list would like wildly different. Do you have a morning routine? I’d love to hear about what works for you in the comments below!