Mornings are a joy, are they not? They are a fresh start, a new beginning and a reminder that you’re still alive. Even though there are some mornings when I struggle to get out of my comfy bed, I generally look forward to starting the day right. Thus, having a proper morning routine is so important. They determine the mood for the rest of your day.
Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with various morning routines. I’ve changed the timing of my alarm, my beverage of choice, when to eat my breakfast and what activities I would like to do. After about a year or so, I feel like I’m really settling down into my current morning routine and I love that it makes me productive too.
If you read my book notes on Robin Sharma’s The 5AM Club , you’d probably read his reasons for waking up early and what he recommends we should do when we rise before the sun. I really tried to experiment with that, but I soon realise that 5AM isn’t the best time for me. I don’t really have a job that requires me to be in the office early, neither am I a mother who savours all the peace and quiet the early morning might provide.
Thus, I came up with this morning routine (which I have been following for about 2 months now and loving it) that suits me and my current lifestyle really well. My current routine lasts for about 4 hours (I consider my routine to start from the time I wake up till noon) and I utilise time blocking, which is allocating an hour (or whatever time period you choose) for specific tasks.
Do note that this is the routine that currently works for me and I’m just sharing it with you. You can take what you feel is useful and incorporate it into your own. Everyone’s morning routine will be unique!
MY CURRENT MORNING ROUTINE
SELF LOVE HOUR (8 to 9 AM)
- Get up and make my bed
- Brush my teeth
- Make myself a cup of coffee and breakfast (I used to drink green smoothies in the mornings, but after 8 months of doing so, I felt like I need to change it up. I also look forward to drinking coffee way more than a green smoothie, let’s be honest.)
- Put some music on and journal (I currently use the 5 Minute Journal and a regular lined notebook to jot down my thoughts, ideas and revelations)
- Morning yoga practice (I may follow an online class or a youtube video, or I’ll freestyle to suit my body’s needs)
TASK 1 (9 to 10AM)
This is the most important task that needs to get done. If I accomplish just this task, and nothing else, I would still consider it to be a productive day.
So planning the tasks the night before is extremely important. Clarity on what I need to do ensures that I am productive and moving towards my goals. Sometimes, many of us, including myself, mistake activity for achievement.
I recently finished the book, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and it talks about how to plan your tasks and be productive.
It has been said that if the first thing you can do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.
Eat the ugliest frog first.
The ugliest frog is your most important, sometimes most dreaded, task. He also mentioned about the 6 P formula, which is Proper Prior Planning Prevent Poor Performance. It’s true. Planning the day the night before really helped me to focus on what’s important to me.
So every morning, I’ll focus on my task 1 at 9AM for one hour. Then I’ll stop and take a break at around 9.55 AM before heading over to Task 2.
TASK 2 (10 to 11AM)
Task 2 is my second most important task of the day. It can be a continuation of task 1 (like various steps to complete a project), or another task altogether.
Besides planning the tasks beforehand, focusing on the task without any distractions is another key to ensuring that sh*t gets done. This means I’d usually work without any music, with my door closed and with my phone kept away.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT HOUR (11AM-12PM)
Once 11am hits, I will take a little break before I read/watch a video about something I would like to learn. This is basically the time I’ve allocated to learn something new and improve my existing skillsets. I have a few things I would like to learn this year, such as conversational Bahasa and French, email marketing and gardening. Yes, I’ve become a plant mom and I would like to stay that way.
I can also take this time to write down my book notes from my completed books. To do so, I use Evernote as it is a wonderful tool to keep all my notes in one place and it syncs with my phone too. This ensures that I can assess my book notes anytime I need to.
So this personal development hour is truly personal, as it depends on what skills/areas you want to work on. However, it is important to actually schedule this time into your calendar. I know personal development may not seem like a priority, especially if your schedule is already packed to the brim. But the truth is, you’re way more than your job and title. I think we owe it to ourselves to constantly learn and grow, and scheduling time to do so is key to our own growth as an individual.
So that’s what I do for my mornings currently and I’m loving my current schedules. After experimenting with so many different variations in my routine, I realised two main things.
1.Planning is key.
Have a clear idea of the 2 important tasks to tackle the next day before you go to bed.
I realised that I get lethargic and procrastinate a lot more when I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. This usually results me not getting my important tasks done. Or I’ll take way longer than I’m supposed to.
I like to use the app Todoist to plan my tasks. It has a version for both laptop and phone, and syncs perfectly. To plan the most important tasks, I use their priority system (priority 1, priority 2 etc..). Priority 1 will be my task 1, the one I’ll focus on from 9 to 10am.
It also gives me the options of creating my own labels so I can organise my tasks according to work, blog, yoga etc. I really do enjoy the app, so I subscribed to the premium version which is USD 3 per month, if I am not wrong. You can try Todoist premium for free for 2 months using this link here, if you would like! And no, this is not a sponsored post. I just really enjoy their app.
2. If it is not scheduled, it will not get done.
If I do not schedule the specific hours into my calendar, it is challenging to use my own will and motivation to sit down and get crackin’.
This is especially so as I don’t have an office job which requires me to be in the office from 9-5. My schedule is extremely flexible and if I don’t put boundaries and set aside time specifically, it probably won’t happen. This is especially so for my personal development. Even though I have good intentions and want to learn, I rarely would stick to it if I didn’t have a specific time planned for it.
So there we have it. Of course, this morning routine works well for me based on my own preferences and my schedule. You can take some pointers and use them to plan one that works for you. What time would you like to wake up? What would you like to do? The activities for the self love hour can vary tremendously, from walking your dog, a hot shower to blasting music and rocking out. It just involves what makes you feel good.
To help you out, I’ve created a Guide to Creating Your Own Perfect Productive Morning Routine to give you some ideas and help you plan your routine out. You can join my email list here and the download link will be in your welcome email!
What are some things that you cannot go without in your morning routine?
Sending you love and good vibes,