I will start this post by admitting I was never a morning person.
What my mornings looked like:
For a long time before the pandemic, I did all my work — writing my book and my blogs — at midnight. From 12 am to 4 am was the best time to get things done. Writing, reading, planning for the next day. I’d go to bed around 4:00 am, wake up at 6:00 and after the kids go to school, I’d sleep for another 4 hours or so, take a power nap in the evening and repeat. It was the quietest time of the day; it worked for me well until our entire lives changed in 2020.
Of course, I no longer had the daytime to sleep after lockdown, so the night-time sessions just weren’t feasible anymore.
For months at the start of the pandemic, I used to wake up rushing. Fix breakfast for my three children. Get them dressed. Get them ready for online school and then start my morning routine. I felt frazzled and full of anxiety. I wanted something different.
I knew something had to change. I wanted to be more productive, but how? And when?
I didn’t know how to manage my mornings and didn’t even know what a productive morning looked like. I reached a point where I wanted to implement new habits, wake early and make changes, but every morning I still woke late and easily talked myself out of it.
As a mother of three, blog owner and with the stress of 2020 and now 2021, I realized I needed to switch my habits and rely on my mornings more. Be more productive. And the only way to do that was to give myself time in the mornings when it was still quiet with uninterrupted time from my family and the rest of the world.
How my mornings look like now:
Here are the things that I manage to get done from 5:00 am to 8:00 am every morning (excluding weekends):
1. Wake up early and don’t hit Snooze:
I went from waking up just on time and rushing through my mornings, to starting the day with one to two hours of quiet, dedicated time just for me. I got an early start on personal routines and this put my mind in the right state.
2. Avoid checking your phone:
This has to make every list because it is very important. I didn’t know the negative effects of checking my phone first thing in the morning had on me. No good can come from feeding your brain information from all over the world before you even had the chance to explore your own thoughts. The last thing I needed was the chaotic media dictating my mind right when I woke up. Try it. I promise it will make all the difference.
3. Morning Pages:
This is a great way to get all the negative self-talk out of the way before you get down to business. Julia Cameron introduced morning pages in The Artist’s Way. When I wake up, I take out my journal and put my thoughts on the page. This is a form of meditation where your subconscious-thoughts surface, and in a way writing them down unlocks your creativity.
I do 15 to 20 minutes of writing in my morning journal. I rarely get to the three pages recommended in the book, but the more I do it, the more structured it becomes. Sometimes I can’t think of anything particular and that’s exactly what my opening sentence would be.
I’ve been doing it for the past year and I will keep doing it. Replace social media intake with morning pages and see how your day changes.
I do this immediately after my morning journaling; I stay where I am and I take no more than five minutes. I close my eyes and focus on my breathing. This is the time where I don’t let my thoughts carry me to the past or future. Instead in these moments, I choose what I want to focus on, where I want my thoughts to lead me. If you try it, don’t be harsh on yourself if your mind wanders. That’s normal. Just realize what you’re doing and come back.
5. Drink Water:
After meditating and before having my coffee, I drink a 500ml cup of lemon-infused water to rehydrate my body. I know people who replaced morning coffee altogether with this because it helped them wake up just the same. If you can do that, then good for you but for me personally I love coffee too much to let it go 🙂 It’s just that water always comes first.
Now it’s 6 a.m., and the house starts waking up and it’s time to start the day for my husband and kids. What they do every morning before starting their day is a 30-minute workout. We started this routine in the first lockdown in 2020. We needed to get the kids into an exercise routine. Now that I have my own time in the morning, I’m free to join them. The best part is, I can’t quit when the rest are working so hard. I have to be an example. I’m held accountable, and it’s working! We use a video workout program Beachbody On Demand for cardio and weight training. Choose what works for you. There is so much out there now.
7. Make Your Bed First Thing In The Morning:
I do this either before or after our workout, but it has to be done. The idea behind it is very interesting and I do believe it has merit. So try it. Putting things in order is a great way for you to start your day.
8. Get ready for the day: Look good, feel good.
You have no idea how much better you can feel if you simply take the time to shower, dress nicely, and do your makeup. Whatever makes you feel fresh and presentable will make all the difference.
After my workout, it’s time for a quick shower, I have my facial cleanser in the shower, so step one is done and I’m ready for my skincare routine, which takes me 10 minutes. Once I’m done, it’s time to get dressed and get ready for the day.
This is a very important step, especially when you’re working from home and some days you don’t get out at all.
In the first few days of the first-ever lockdown, I let this one slip without noticing. I’d change from one pyjama set to another until I realized that this wasn’t helping me at all. So it became an important part of my daily routine, fixing my hair and getting dressed in nice clothes. The same goes for the kids too.
To be more clear, dressing nicely can be comfy too, no matter your style just fix yourself up and I promise it’ll help you feel much better.
Now by 7:30 am I’m done and ready to start my day, and yes you guessed it… I feel fresh, relaxed and already very much accomplished. I’m preparing breakfast with my kids. They’re setting up to start online school and the day has just begun.
Every time I introduce a habit into my life and it actually becomes a recurrent habit, in other words on autopilot, I can focus on checking off the rest of the list on that day.
The most important thing is to know that you need to schedule your morning routine to the minute in order to save yourself from constantly having to ask yourself, “Okay, what next?” You need a step-by-step process. Once you figure out the best way to start the day and schedule these early 2 or 3 hours, you will eventually be working on autopilot, and the more habits you have on autopilot the better.
Remember, you don’t have to wake up as early as I do; I started off with an hour, got into a routine and then I liked it enough that I kept adding and pushing my time until I decided 4:30 a.m. works fine for me. Keep in mind 5 hours of sleep and an hour nap in the afternoon is enough for me.
It might not be the same for you. Also, this schedule doesn’t apply on weekends. My weekends are for my family.
This routine has replaced my previous night schedule perfectly but with the extra pro of having a clearer mind. If at times I wake up later, it’s fine. I manage to do what I need to, anyway. It’s just a messier day. But I remind myself that these days happen. Always try to be firm, understanding and kind to yourself.
What Morning Routine do you follow? Is any of the above related to you? When do you usually wake up, early or in a rush?
I’d love to hear from you.