I have worked at creating a good morning routine checklist because let’s face it, it takes so much effort to get over a bad morning!
Think back to the last time you were rushing to get out the door (maybe you don’t have to think too far back). How did the rest of your day feel?
On mornings that I am rushing to get out the door, I usually spend half of the day feeling frazzled and stressed. If I didn’t take a minute to eat something, I get hungry and cranky. If I didn’t get a chance to get ready, I feel gross and self-conscious. It’s no good!
There are even days that I’m home all day and am just too lazy to take care of myself. And do you know what I get done on those days? Haha, nothing.
My productivity is definitely tied to my being awake, alert, fed, and cleaned up. Maybe you can relate.
At the beginning of last year, I went through a course called Make Over Your Mornings to help me create a better morning routine with a checklist (loved it!).
I now have a simple morning routine checklist that I go through when I wake up.
On days that I am rushed and have no time at all, I boil my morning routine down to just TWO things that have to happen.
If you are a stay-at-home mom or if you work full time or if you’re anywhere on the spectrum in between, these two things need to be a part of your morning routine.
What’s a morning routine checklist?
A morning routine checklist is just a series of tasks that you do when you wake up. If I wake up at 6 am, I go through my routine. If I sleep in until 11, I go through my routine. That’s why this is for everyone. If you’re reading this, it’s for you 🙂
My morning routine checklist:
1. Make sure your morning routine starts the night before.
I put out clothes for tomorrow to make sure I don’t lose time to do this in the morning. It takes some planning but I do this the night before so it’s more of a natural thing in the morning. That way, when you get up, all your stuff is there for you to just pick up and go.2. Good nutrition
2. Eat a breakfast that helps you reach your goals.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure you get it early! In Make Over Your Mornings, there was a chapter dedicated to what you should be eating each morning depending on your goals whether that’s losing weight, building muscle, or just having more energy. I personally always make sure I eat 1 piece of fruit (for example, cereals with Apple slices) to make my breakfast just a bit healthier with less sugar.
I know you know that you shouldn’t skip breakfast. You might even make sure that your kids and spouse have something to eat in morning, and then you don’t take care of yourself.
Basically, every study ever done on the matter proves how important breakfast is. Eating first thing in the morning will give you more energy, get your metabolism going for the day, and can even aid in weight control.
Plus, we all know that hungry = cranky. Or even hangry (definition: so hungry that you become angry).
I know most of us don’t have time to cook a big, delicious, healthy breakfast every morning. I mean, I could make the time most mornings because I work from home, but I’ve got other things to do.
By “nutrition” in your morning routine, I just mean drink a glass of water and get a little something good in your belly.
Here are some ideas of quick and easy foods that will get you going in the morning.
Super Quick Breakfast Ideas:
- Multigrain Frozen Waffles: We’ve been eating these a lot lately. I can find them for $1.30 or less per box which makes it 26 cents for 2 waffles. Inexpensive, nutritious, and delicious!
- Yogurt: It’s easy to grab and go and is filling.
- Hard Boiled Eggs: I often boil five or more eggs at a time and store them in the fridge so that they’re ready to go.
- Cereal: Just look for one with a higher amount of fiber and protein. I adore Shredded Wheat Little Bites Chocolate.
- Oatmeal Packets: These cook in the microwave in one minute and they’re inexpensive. Austin has a bunch of them in his desk at work so that he can make one up in a coffee cup if he’s hungry.
- English Muffins with Peanut Butter: Bonus points if it’s a whole grain English Muffin.
- Protein Bars: These can get a little expensive, but if you need something that you can grab as you run out the door, protein bars or granola bars are an option.
- Fruit: I don’t like to eat fruit in the morning with nothing else, but fruit goes with any of the foods listed above. Pears and apples have a lot of fiber that will keep you full. Plus, they travel well.
- Water: I try to fill my water bottle and put it in the fridge at night before bed. Then I’ve got no excuse not to drink water first thing in the morning. If I’m going somewhere, I can bring it will me. If I’m staying home, I carry it from room to room with me all day.
3. Get Ready
I know you probably do a little something to get ready in the morning if you have to leave the house, but I’m a big proponent of spending a few minutes getting ready no matter what.
On days that I never get ready and stay in my PJs all day, I feel gross, unproductive, and I notice myself having lower self-esteem.
It’s important to get ready for your day so that you can take on whatever challenges arise!
When I worked full time, I spent more time getting ready. I got dressed in proper clothing, did my hair, and went through my quick makeup routine. It made me feel good to go to work looking presentable.
Now that I’m home all day, my standards have definitely changed, but I still get ready.
My Stay-at-Home Getting Ready Routine Checklist:
- Wash my face
- Put my hair up
- Change into fresh clothes
In all honestly, I change from pajama pants into yoga pants each day unless I have to leave the house, but they’re clean and make me feel good.
Just that tiny routine of getting ready in the morning makes me feel awake, alert, and like I can handle my to-do list for the day.
4. Fit in some kind of meditation or mindfulness practice
Such as yoga, reading a prayer book, etc. Meditation has so many benefits for your mental and physical health so it’s worth fitting in something like this each morning if you can.
5. Get your body moving! Even if it’s just 5 minutes.
It’s not even about staying fit. The mental health benefits are ridiculous. Staying active comes with many benefits: it improves your mood, reduces stress & depression, increases happiness, and boosts your energy levels. If you want to live a healthy, happy, and long life, one of the most important things you need to make time for is exercise (you can read my post about 6 Awesome Benefits of an Active Lifestyle (Energy, Sex, Weight Loss & Other). I know it’s tough to get up early enough for a full workout, but stretching for 5 minutes is the perfect way to start or end your day because it will energize you and make your joints feel better.
6. Write down at least 1 goal for the day.
Even if it’s just 1 sentence. Writing down what you need to achieve is the best way to set yourself up for success. More specifically write down what you want to get done today to feel that you have had a GREAT day. Do you want to reach out to an old friend you haven’t talked to in way too long? do you want to achieve 1 important deliverable at work? do you want to teach your kids a new skill? Writing it down is your first step. I have a couple of notepads where I typically write down what I want to get done.
7. Make a getting-ready playlist.
Good music has the power to put even the crankiest person in a good mood. I don’t know about you but Monday mornings make me feel particularly cranky. So I have a carefully crafted getting-ready playlist blasting out of my phone and it works like a charm. High-energy jams and feel-good lyrics get me grooving. I feel motivated. Ready to look the best and seize the day.
Now, you might be tempted to listen to slow songs since you just woke up. But those aren’t going to get you in the mood. Instead, play the ones that start slow and slowly build up. This will give you a great start to a hopefully great day.
8. Read something inspiring.
Sometimes all you need is a little nudge, a dash of motivation to smash your day. I love reading inspirational material in the morning. Some days it’s books and some days it’s blogs. But no matter which it is, reading in the morning has literally changed my life. It’s given me a new perspective, made me braver, and improved my productivity.
The perfect time for me to read is when I’m enjoying my freshly done coffee. The sweet smell of coffee and a good book kick the possibility of a shitty day out the door. I feel focused and pumped. 100% prepared to power through the day.
9. Don’t check your phone.
I know, it seems impossible. Phones are ridiculously tempting. All those juicy Facebook pings and Twitter notifications. And once you’re sucked in, hours go by before you yank yourself out. But that endless scrolling on social media won’t do you any good.
Why? Because when we wake up in the morning, our mind is in a relaxed state. And when it’s subjected to countless things that demand attention, it feels stressed and terribly distracted. Remember that feeling of just not feeling good after forcing yourself out of that Twitter hole?
The best way to stay sharp in the morning is to delay checking your phone. Read something good instead like I mentioned above.
10. Finish a difficult task first.
Everyone has one big, daunting task on their to-do list. The task that you constantly feel a strong urge to delay because well, it’s something you don’t enjoy doing or it takes too much of your time. Truth is, your day will turn out much better if you finished that task first.
Mark Twain explained it best. He said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The live frog here is that difficult task. The saying goes to express the importance of effective time management. Once you’ve done that one big, daunting task first thing in the morning when your energy levels are at the highest, the rest of the day will be a piece of cake.
So sit down and get started with that particular task first.
Benefits of having a morning routine
Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. But what are the practical benefits of having a stress-free morning routine?
1. You’re in control
You take control of the day instead of the day controlling you. You carve out the direction you will be going, acing all your tasks on the way.
2. It increases productivity
Having a morning routine adds self-discipline to your life. This discipline is what helps you to check everything off your to-do list boosting your productivity. Since you’re doing things when you’re supposed to do them, they don’t pile up and you never over-burden yourself.
3. It reduces stress levels
Routines help you get everything in place. They are calming. Your mind already knows what’s next and doesn’t have to make decisions every minute. Instead of wasting your brainpower on small things, you use them on big decisions like may be accepting a new job.
4. It boosts your energy
A good morning routine that includes a healthy breakfast boosts your energy. It helps you concentrate, memorize better, and be more productive.
5. It helps you make more time for yourself
Morning is the most important part of the day. Your mind is more receptive and more likely to stay focused. So when you do more things done in the morning, you’re left with more time to do what you like. Spend it on yourself, with your family, with your friends or cooking your favorite meal.
Most days, my morning routine consists of a few more steps to get me ready for the day, but even on the busiest of mornings, I make nutrition and getting ready a priority.
Eating a little something and getting cleaned up and dressed are things that will start your day well whether you’re off to work, working from home, or spending your day caring for your kiddos.