Do you have a morning routine checklist? Most productive people have a set morning routine and many books have been written on the topic of a meaningful and productive morning routine.
And founding father Benjamin Franklin was famous for saying “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I took this quote to heart years ago and began a morning routine because of it.
After all, health, wealth and wisdom are three foundational attributes that can go a long way in helping one create a good life, don’t you think? We’re going to take Ben’s suggestion of rising early and look at how to create a morning routine that will start your days in a way that prepares you for success. A morning routine checklist includes starting with things such as waking up on time, making your bed, and meditation.
What’s A Good Morning Routine?
A morning routine doesn’t have to be long and drawn-out or intense. Author Hal Elrod has written a best selling book called The Miracle Morning that helps you understand the details of streamlining a morning routine customized specifically for you. This book is a deep dive into developing a routine that works and gives a straightforward methodology for improving your life immediately.
To be honest, you are the only one who can decide what the best morning routine for you looks like. However, we can give you some suggestions to work from. There are certain activities that help prepare you for a great day.
Take the activities suggested below, and use them to create your own ideal morning routine.
1. Wake Up On Time
We’ve learned from Ben that “early” is a good time to rise. However, “early” will be relative to your schedule and preferences.
I’m convinced anyone can train their body clock to rise early. In fact, I’ve been doing my personal morning routine for so long now that I no longer need an alarm clock.
My body knows the drill and wakes up on its own between 4:30 and 5:00 nearly every single day. After you’ve dedicated yourself to a morning routine for a few weeks, you might find you’ve got your own internal alarm clock. But if you don’t, or during the interim, here are some suggestions for waking up on time.
Choose Your Morning Alarm
You’ll want to be sure to choose a morning alarm that doesn’t startle you or frighten you. You can find a lot of great alarm clock downloads for your phone if you look online.
Choose an alarm sound that is uplifting, encouraging or motivating. That way, your alarm will help encourage you to be eager to start your day.
Avoid Electronics Upon Waking
It’s easy to grab your phone and start browsing after your alarm goes off. However, doing so can add stress to your day right off the bat. Instead, do some light stretches in bed and start thinking about your day. Save the browsing time for later.
Don’t Hit The Snooze Button
It’s also important to avoid hitting the snooze button on your alarm. Using the snooze button and falling back asleep can disrupt natural sleep patterns and leave you feeling groggy.
Instead, set your alarm for the time you actually want to get up and get out of bed within five to ten minutes after your alarm goes off.
Time Requirement: 5-15 minutes
2. Make Your Bed
When I was young, I watched my mom get up every day and make her bed immediately. Personally, I thought this was a waste of time. Why make your bed when you’re going to mess it up later in the day anyway?
However, I adopted my mom’s daily bed-making habit a few years ago and learned something interesting: Making your bed in the morning seems to set some kind of subconscious tone for an organized day.
I’m not sure how or why, but making my bed makes me a more responsible person overall.
Bonus: the bedroom looks inviting, neat and pleasant every time I walk in.
Time requirement: 5 minutes
3. Meditate, Pray, And Reflect
Once your bed is made, I recommend spending some time in meditation or prayer. The great thing about this morning routine habit is that it can be customized to any belief system.
Personally, I spend about 20 minutes reading my bible and praying. I also recite some positive affirmations to set my expectations for the day. Here are some positive affirmations you might find helpful as you prepare for your day.
- I will focus on the positive today
- I treat my body well, eating healthy, being active and practicing self-love
- Love and generosity are actions I live by
- I can do all that I set my mind to
- I forgive myself for any mistakes
- Success is a part of my daily life
- I use wisdom in every situation
You can customize your affirmations to fit in with your needs and your belief system. For example, if you’re a Christian you can use Bible verses in your affirmations. If you’re Buddhist, you can use quotes from Buddha.
Customize your affirmations to reflect your goals and your beliefs in a positive way.
Time requirement: 15-30 minutes
4. Drink Your Water
You may find this morning meditation time a great time to drink water. The human body needs to have ounces of daily water equal to its pounds in weight. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink 120 ounces of water per day.
Try and get some of your daily water requirements in during your morning meditation time. This will help you start your day off with more energy, and reduce the amount of water you need to drink as the day goes on.
I make it a practice to drink three 16-ounce glasses of water every morning while I pray and read the bible.
Time requirement: 5 minutes
5. Eat Breakfast
After you are finished with your meditation time, make yourself a healthy breakfast. Again, you can customize your breakfast to your body’s needs, wants, and metabolism.
A healthy breakfast consists of healthy proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, and/or vegetables. Here are a few healthy breakfast ideas:
- Whole wheat toast with avocados and orange juice
- A breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, and ham
- Fruit salad and poached eggs
- A fruit smoothie (add some baby spinach to it) and a half cup of nuts
Use any combination of healthy choices to make your breakfast. Here are some additional healthy breakfast ideas for you.
Note: If you bring your lunch from home, now is a good time to get your lunch ready.
Time requirement: 5-30 minutes
6. Review The Day Ahead
Now it’s time to review the day ahead. Make a note of what you’ve got planned for the day and what commitments are on your schedule.
Change anything that needs to be changed, and expand on your notes if there’s more you need to do or remember. Having a plan for your day ahead will help you to stop wasting time and be more productive as a whole.
Personally, I do this while eating breakfast in order to save time, but you can make the two tasks separate steps if you prefer.
Time requirement: 5-15 minutes
Related: How To Stay Organized At Work
Exercise can be an important part of your morning routine. However, the type and amount of exercise you’ll want to do will vary on how your body responds to exercise early in the morning.
The fact of the matter is that some people can handle a full-fledged workout early in the morning, while others cannot. Personally, a full-on workout with cardio and strength training early in the morning makes me want to head straight back to bed.
I get so relaxed that I’m ready for a nap. For that reason, I schedule my full workouts for after dinner. In the morning, I stick to a basic 15-20 minute stretching/yoga routine.
I highly recommend some sort of exercise in the morning, as it gets your blood flowing and can help you to be more focused and energized. Your goal is to find the type of workout that helps you be your best for the day ahead.
That might be a spinning class at your local gym, or it might be a quick stretch routine meant to help wake your body up. Try a few different workouts in the morning and see which works best for you.
Time requirement: 10-60 minutes
8. Shower/Get Ready
Last but not least, it’s time to get cleaned up, ready, and out the door. If you’re organized, this part of your routine shouldn’t take too long, but everyone is different.
For instance, you may prefer to shower the night before instead of in the morning. If you’re doing a light exercise routine, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re doing a full-fledged workout, you’ll need to make time to shower in the morning.
Time requirement: 15-45 minutes
How Long Should My Morning Routine Take?
The time it takes to complete your morning routine depends on how long you devote to each task. Some people might want to take more time to meditate or pray. Others might want to spend more time on their workout.
Your breakfast might consist of a banana and muffin, or you might want to make it a sit-down family meal with quiche and a fruit salad.
If you take up the maximum suggested times here for your morning routine, you’re looking at needing about 3.5 hours of time before you leave for work. Conversely, if you take the minimum recommended time, you can complete your morning routine in just over an hour.
Play around with the varying tasks you need or want to complete in the morning and see which combination of suggested times works best for you.
In addition, there are some nighttime routine items you can do to make your morning routine go a bit smoother. Here are some suggestions in that area.
Nighttime Routine Checklist
By taking some steps at night to be more prepared for your day, you can help minimize the amount of time and stress it takes to get through your morning routine. Consider these suggestions.
1. Tidy Up
Life seems to be less chaotic and stressful when the house is picked up. For that reason, it can be helpful to spend 10-15 minutes cleaning up the house after dinner. Put things away, run the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. Simply neaten up a bit to give your home a more peaceful feel.
2. Make Your Lunch
If you bring your lunch from home, nighttime can be a good time to get your lunch ready. Throw leftovers from dinner in a portable container, or make yourself a sandwich or salad.
Bring dressings on the side in a separate container so your sandwich or salad doesn’t get soggy overnight. By getting lunch ready the night before, you can save some time on your morning routine.
3. Reflect On Your Day
Nighttime can be a great time to reflect on how your day went. Did you get everything done you’d planned to do? Are there items you need to put on tomorrow’s list?
Use your daily planner or a journal to help you gather your thoughts from the day and make you better prepared for tomorrow.
4. Plan The Following Day
It might be easier to do some planning for the following day at night as opposed to in the morning. For instance, you can set out the outfit you want to wear the next day. Or you can do some preliminary scheduling for the next day.
Similarly, you can make any schedule changes that you need to so you can accommodate last-minute appointments or commitments. You’ll still review the day ahead in the morning, but you can save time if you get a start on your review the night before.
You might find you sleep better if you spend some time decompressing at night. Turn off the electronics at least a half-hour before bed. Spend some relaxed time talking with your family.
Read an uplifting book (yes, a real book) or share funny stories with your partner. Do some relaxing stretches. Get your head ready for a relaxing night of sleep.
6. Practice Nighttime Hygiene
Having a nighttime hygiene routine can help you sleep better as well. Wash your face, brush your teeth and file your nails. Do some basic hygiene tasks so you can feel good and take care of your skin and body.
Having an organized morning routine is a great way to prepare yourself for a successful day ahead and to boost productivity. Your morning routine may look different than everyone else’s but don’t let that worry you. Design a morning routine checklist that helps you look, feel and perform at your best.