If you’re looking to create a morning routine checklist or simply trying to find tips on how to improve it, then look no further. A good routine to stick with is pretty essential for a productive workday. Read more.
What makes a good morning routine? Is it good coffee? A hearty breakfast? Getting the right foot out of bed on the right side? Or is it all about attitude? Or, maybe, is it something deeper than that?
The ultimate morning routine checklist is one of those things we all know we should bother sticking to, but never really do. Part of the reason they’re so hard to be consistent about is that most morning routines are too ambitious, or simply don’t fit us. Setting up a morning routine that works for you is key, especially if you’re trying to start the day in a good mood for the work that lies ahead.
The key elements of a good morning routine are the same regardless of who performs it. They include consistency, intake, and sleep. We’ll go over each element, as well as how you might improve your morning routine – and drastically improve your productivity – in just a few basic steps. But first, we must talk about the elephant in the room.
Why Bother with a Morning Routine Checklist?
While breakfast might not necessarily be the most important meal of the day, it is true that how you start your day ultimately has a significant impact on how the rest of your day is going to be. Getting a good start to the day can mean the difference between taking life in stride and feeling completely and totally overwhelmed. It can also have an impact on your overall productivity and allow you to shift your mindset towards a work-focused one.
Even night owls can learn to benefit from a morning routine. Like anything else, it’s a matter of training yourself to make the most of the early hours of the day, and avoid the anxiety that comes from feeling unproductive or sluggish pre-lunch.
Morning routines aren’t just exclusive to those with the time or money to create them. Everyone and anyone can and should have a morning routine of their own, even if it’s as simple as getting up at the same time every day, putting on the kettle, and getting a shave/face wash. In fact, it’s often these simple routines that are the most effective – because they’re simple.
Consistency First and Foremost
The golden rule of any morning routine, before anything else, is always going to be consistency. Morning routines don’t start out as some sort of productivity super life hack – they only become this over time, as you begin to work yourself into a daily rhythm, priming yourself for a productive morning (and rest of the day). Like an elaborate mantra, the morning routine is just a way to prepare yourself for the day ahead – and it can truly be anything.
If you’re new to morning routines, keep them as simple as you can. As you get comfortable with your new routine, consider how you might expand on it in ways that don’t necessarily turn it into a three-hour affair but allow you to shift focus onto things you might want to be paying more attention to – from showing gratitude towards others, to picking up a new productive habit, to learning a new skill.
We’re not in the business of telling you what to do with your mornings, but the first item on your checklist should always be something you can do every day, even on the weekends.
Morning Intake, and Why It Matters
What’s the first thing you eat or drink when you wake up in the morning? Your first intake can make a difference in not just the first few hours of the day, but all the way into the evening. It’s generally recommended to start the day with a small glass of simple H2O.
Most of us try to get some sleep for at least about 6-8 hours, and probably haven’t had anything to drink for closer to 8-10 hours. Depending on the weather and season, you can wake up dehydrated without having had a sip of alcohol the night before. While the health claims of drinking water first thing in the morning are dubious, it is a simple and inoffensive addition to any routine.
Coffee, while great, can mask the effects of sleeplessness and cost you productivity in the long-term – if you’ve been neglecting your sleep. If you can’t remember the last time you went without coffee, consider stepping off the caffeine train the next time you have a long weekend, and use the time to see for yourself if you’re generally well-rested, or if you find yourself tempted to doze off throughout the day.
While caffeine can mask sleepiness, it doesn’t really mask its detrimental effects on cognition, from problem-solving to reflexes.
No Substitute for Sleep
No morning routine can make up for the crucial benefits of a healthy sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene. Before you turn to your morning routine as a way to make major productivity gains, make sure you’re getting enough rest every night.
Cutting an hour here or there can wrack up dangerously in the long-term – and your body and brain will eventually need to cut corners accordingly, whether in performance or thinking skills.
Leverage a To-Do List
Once you’ve taken care of your sleep, figured out your favorite morning drink, and have established a simple and custom routine that suits you, we’d like to offer up an excellent addition to any morning routine: the to-do list.
Take a moment before work to consider what you aim to get done that day, and jot it down. Visualize your progress. Assign timeslots and hour counts to each task. Consider breaks and set a realistic goal – then execute.
Day after day, you’ll find that taking a few minutes to sit down and think about how you’re going to approach the next 24 hours can massively improve your focus and productivity.
Morning Routes While Working from Home
Morning routines are far from exclusive to the office-bound worker or the successful CEO. Even if you’ve had to spend the better part of the past few months working from home, adopting a morning routine while remote not only continues to help improve productivity, but allows you to formally assign a moment in time, each day, that signifies the start of the workday (and the end of the “home” part of “work from home”).
One of the biggest challenges when dealing with remote work is the feeling that the boundaries between work and life begin to blur, and it becomes harder to stop oneself from putting in unnecessary or excessive overtime, and risking burnout.
A morning routine allows you to get started with the day’s tasks faster, finish more efficiently, and cap your day off at the same time each evening – without languishing early in the morning, and then rushing to submit projects way past typical office hours.