How to Build a Morning Routine
Whether you're a "wake up at 4 am" kind of person or a "snooze the alarm 8 times" kind of person, having a solid morning routine will get you out of bed a little easier and give you a better start to your day. Who knows, you might actually learn to like mornings in the process.
01. What Needs to Be Done
Take a few minutes to write or think of what has to be completed in the morning before you can leave the house. It'll be more than you initially think! Get specific. Here's my list in no particular order:
- Brush my teeth
- Use Mouthwash
- Wash my face
- Do my hair
- Do my makeup
- Get Dressed
- Make and Eat Breakfast
- Make and Drink Coffee (or tea)
- Give the pets food and water
- Refill my water bottle
- Do my breakfast dishes
- Take the dog to the bathroom
- Empty the cat box
- Make my bed
- Pack lunch
- Grab all my things and head to work
These are things you're already doing to get out the door in the morning. Your list might be different than mine, but hopefully, this helps you start thinking about what you do everything single morning. Most of these things are routine. You might not physically need to check these things off each day, but they still need to be done.
02. What Would You Like to Get Done
Now ask yourself what things you'd like to make time for in the mornings. Maybe eating breakfast wasn't on your first list, but you would like it to be. Add as many things here as you'd like but keep in mind, most mornings you'll need to pick and choose which of these you work on. Again, here's my list:
- Read my Bible
- Go for a run (this means I need time to shower too)
- Listen to the news rundown (on our Alexa)
- Check my emails
- Prepare orders for my day job
- Complete one task on my todo list (usually this relates to my business)
Obviously, this list will look different for everyone. Whether you want time to eat a full breakfast or time to meditate and pray for an hour, pick the things you usually don't have time for later in the day or things that often get put on the back burner (like all those self-care things).
03. Figure Out How Much Time You Need
Now that you have your lists written out, go through each item and write out how much time it takes to do each task. Brushing your teeth - 2 minutes, doing my hair and makeup - 15 minutes, etc...
This is also a great time to notice if there are any tasks you can move to the evening before in order to make some time and help your morning run a little smoother. For example, I pick out my outfits the night before, I clean the cat box right before bed, and I try to shower at night so I don't waste time drying my hair.
Once you add up how much time the required tasks take you, add in 30 - 120 minutes for the things you want to do. Keep in mind the time it takes to prepare to do the thing you enjoy. For example, if you want to workout for 30 minutes, give yourself an hour, so you have time to get to the gym, shower, and stretch. Overestimate the time if you need to, it's better to have extra time than not enough.
Add up the total time and then...
04. Pick a Wake Up Time
You're going to have to wake up earlier if you want to make time for the things you love. Personally, I wake up and hour or two earlier than I need to in order to make time for the things I want to do. Figure out what time you need to wakeup in order to leave the house on time. If your morning routine will take you 75 minutes and you need to leave the house at 8am, you need to be awake by 6:45am. Give yourself an extra 5 minutes to get out of bed and use the bathroom.
05. Write it Out & Prepare
Until you get used to your new schedule, writing out a routine can help you check everything off your list. Here's a look at my routines in my bullet journal:
Your morning routine doesn't need to be complicated, but having a written version on your mirror or fridge can help motivate you and keep you on track in the mornings.
06. Make it a Habit
The hardest part about a good morning routine is making it into a habit. You don't want to check off a list every morning. Make this routine into a game. See how quickly you can get ready, combine tasks to get them done faster (brush your teeth while listening to the news, or drink your coffee while making breakfast). Practicing this routine every morning is the only way to make it habitual.
Routines and habits may seem like a way to live a boring life, but it can actually free up your mind for more creative ideas. When you spend less time and energy picking an outfit in the morning, you have more space to think about the day ahead. It's the reason so many billionaires have simple outfits, or why minimalism has become so popular. The less you clutter your mind with, the more room you have for important stuff.