How to create a morning routine

by bethgraham
coffee pot as I create my morning routine

I took advantage of this quarantine to create a morning routine. I had read about them. I read how top CEOs, busy executives, and just really cool people like Shonda Rhimes and Oprah both have formal morning routines. And since I too often find myself, cup of coffee in hand, sucked into the social media blackhole arguing with nitwits on Facebook while my poor dog stands next to my bed squeezing her legs together, I decided that I really needed to create a morning routine to start my day off properly.

I had already made that leap of barring myself from checking email first thing in the morning. I read something at some point about not starting your day in a bad mood by an email you open (and I can attest to this as my husband grabs his phone before he pees and gets frustrated over some delegated task). NOT the way to start the day. So I’m proud to say I made this habit about a year ago. Sadly, Facebook in today’s world can start me off on the wrong foot so that’s next on my list of bad habits to break.

So about my morning routine. It’s a really simple process and even morning-haters can do it. I started by creating a list of things I wanted to accomplish and things I knew I needed to tackle first thing in the morning. I have about 124 minutes of creative time in my brain ONLY in the morning before household chores (squirrel!) or other pesky responsibilities (clients, children, dogs, paying bills) distract me. So for me, having my morning coffee while I catch up on the news is first on my list while I get awake. I also use this time to organize the rest of my day. I try to create a daily schedule the evening before but I review it in the morning and shift things as my mood dictates.

I’m also trying to seriously develop a habit of meditation so that’s next on my list. I really want to increase that 124 minutes of creativity and I’m relying on meditation to do it. I like the Calm app. It has different “themed” meditations for things like focus, anxiety, distractions, confidence, gratitude and so much more. I’m seriously addicted to it. 

At this point, the dog’s legs are crisscrossed and I’m feeling guilty so a walk is in order. 

True confession here: I don’t always wash my face in the morning. And in today’s stay home world, who wears makeup? But I have this plethora of anti-aging products in my bathroom drawer so I committed to using them. 

All in all, I give myself about 90 minutes to accomplish everything on my list. Yes, I have an actual written list. Otherwise I’d forget to do something and then my entire day would be a train wreck and I’d have guilt that I skipped washing my face or something.

You might be interested to know that I actually removed working out from my morning routine. I realized that using 30 or 45 minutes of my creative time to do yoga or strength training was stressing me out. So I moved my workout to lunchtime. I’ve yet to do it. 

My morning routine 

  1. Wake (duh) 
  2. Enjoy coffee in bed while I catch up on the morning news (a little social media scrolling is ok)
  3. Take my morning vitamins – I had to add this to my list because this is one of those things I always seem to forget to do. I take Vitamin B and C and since they are water-soluble vitamins, they should be taken before a meal.
  4. Meditate 
  5. Feed/walk the dogs
  6. Journal
  7. Pull a mindfulness card (my friend gave me these for Christmas last year and I love them! I keep the card out on my kitchen counter each day to remind me of its message.)
  8. Morning anti-aging skincare routine (What am I using? More on this in another post)
  9. Write on my book for 1 hour – I put this as a morning routine task because it’s important to me that I write in it at least once a day. And doing it first thing is the only way that ensure it gets done. (Book? What book, you ask? I’m writing a book about my caregiving journey with my mother. The tentative title is “Death is birth in reverse: a daughter’s diary on caregiving.” Anyone know a literary agent? Anyone want to read an excerpt?)
  10. At the moment, I’ve added an extra hour to my morning routine to work on this blog. I’ve neglected it for years and since I only have creative time in the morning, I try to spend one hour a day on it as I attempt to revive it. (Sharing my posts with others would be MUCH appreciated so I can rebuild my readership!)

The amount of time it takes me to get through my list each morning varies but the important thing is that I get through it. If you’d like to create a morning routine or already have one, I’d love to hear about it! 

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