Part of my self-care and time management plan was to create a morning routine, and I feel more organized for it, not to mention I sleep better at night. There are many benefits of having a solid morning plan: energy, inspiration, and a healthy mindset to name a few.
You will see many articles on the web that say, “You have to do this every morning to be successful,” all the way to “Creating your own routine is not difficult.” Thanks to my Coach, I was able to create an action plan built off my goals for self, productivity, family time, and time management. It really wasn’t that difficult to do.
Steps to build a morning routine
1. Write down your goals for your ideal morning.
- Sleep better at night and wake up feeling physically rested and not as if I have just run a 10K.
- Feel mentally awake and ready to face my crazy work schedule of meetings, dealing with clients, and whatever else gets thrown on my plate; and do it without being a grouch.
- Have quality time in the morning with the fam where things didn’t feel rushed or like a big cluster ——.
- Have time to do my work out of the day.
2. Create an action plan by analyzing old habits:
After I wrote my goals on paper, my coach helped me wake up my natural tool, the ability to deep think, to create an action plan. Thinking really isn’t that hard, but my action plan took a lot of thought. It is often hard for one to see the error of their ways that have become comfortable in life, even if they are not healthy.
Coach and I first started with what I did before bed at night. What you do at night before bed and how much sleep you get each night effects your mornings. Keep that in mind.
Going through my evening actions was an AH-HA! moment for me. It was no wonder I wasn’t sleeping well and suffered from insomnia.
Some of the things I was doing that prevented a good night’s sleep were:
- Drinking coffee right up until I stumbled to bed.
- Exercising an hour or less before bed because I didn’t get my work out done early that day.
- Watching TV, Netflix, or YouTube right up to bedtime or in bed before going to sleep.
- Taking my laptop to bed with me to work on client paperwork that I hadn’t had time to do earlier that day. I had a wrong belief that because I was in bed, I was resting.
- Not keeping a consistent bedtime or wake up time in the morning.
3. Create new habits to reach your ideal morning goals:
After analyzing my evening habits, I sat down and brainstormed new habits to replace the old ones with. My list looked like this:
- No coffee after 3 pm. If I need something warm to drink, herbal tea is better.
- Schedule a time in the morning to do my work out routines every day, make that time a non-negotiable.
- Turn off all technology at 9:30 pm, and do something relaxing before bed.
- Don’t take the work laptop or my cell phone into the bedroom, ever.
- Hide the bedroom TV at night. I have decided to go with sliding art. Check out this DIY framed art slider to hide your TV tutorial.
- Create serene noise in the room. I am testing different machines; I will keep you updated. UPDATE: Serene noise machines actually keep me awake. I am not using any of them. They just do not work for me, my brain refuses to power down.
- Stop hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock repeatedly. I bought an analog alarm clock to prevent the snooze button use. Trust me; the sound is annoying enough to wake you up. Moreover, it brought back memories of childhood when my father would make sure we got out of bed for school.
4. Use your new habits and goals to finalize your action plan on paper.
My action plan for a happy morning routine:
With goals and habits sorted, I created my action plan.
- 5 am: Wake up Monday – Friday
- Heat up my fire tea, and sip it while reading a book.
- 6 am: Breakfast with the family and breakfast cleanup.
- 7 am – 8 am: Toss in a load of laundry. Work out 30 minutes, Toss laundry into the dryer before getting into the shower. Meditate in the shower for 10 minutes.
- 8 am – 9 am: Read news and blogs for 20 minutes, 20-minute writing sprint, and a few moments in my bullet journal. I also fold and put away laundry, wipe down washer and dryer, which takes me less than 10 minutes.
- 9 am: Time to work
My morning routine time is non-negotiable.
Here is the bonus of creating an action plan based off your evening habits to create your morning routine. As I action planned the issues I had in the evening that prevented good sleep, I was able to come up with a nighttime routine that also worked well for me. Because of the AH-HA! moment I mentioned above, I created a nighttime routine that enhances my morning routine.
- 5 pm – 8 pm: Cook supper, eat together as a family, evening chores. Watch a TV show together.
- 8 pm to 8:15: Plan for tomorrow, write down day’s expenses.
- 8:15 – 10 pm: Personal Time I like to watch a Netflix show or a show I recorded on DVR, catch up on YouTube, and spend one on one time with my honey. I also use this time to write or journal. Technology is off at 9:30 pm every night. I read from 9:30 to 10 pm and set out clothing for the next day.
- 10 pm – 10-minute meditation and deep breathing exercise before sleep.
Unfortunately, my evening routine is negotiable until 6 pm, for now. On the days I have to work late or do CE past 5, I pre-plan by having the crock pot ready to go the night before. My family still gets a home cooked, hot meal on the table by 6 pm. A home cooked meal for my family is non-negotiable.
Every morning, Sunday – Saturday, begins with fire tea and a book regardless of the changes to my weekend plans.
- Friday nights I am in bed between 11 and midnight, and out of bed Saturday mornings at 7 am. Not too far off my week-day schedule for sleep.
- Saturdays are dedicated to family time, seasonal chores, and monthly chores.
- Saturday is also date night, I am in bed by 1 am.
- Sunday mornings I wake up at 8 am and at 9 am I start food prepping for the coming week.
- Sunday night I pre-plan things for the week I already know about; 10 pm meditate before sleeping.
Essential advice from someone with OCD
I want you to remember, and this is important, change does not happen overnight. You may feel overwhelmed the first few mornings you integrate your morning routine into your life. You may not accomplish all of your plans in the morning. That is ok, you have not failed, you are adjusting and breaking old, comfortable habits, or perhaps you have planned more than your time allows for.
Keep with your routine, being mindful of the realistic constraints of time allowance vs. task. Adjust your tasks to go with the time limits that you discover during the first two-week test of your morning routine. Your brain will put your routine on autopilot; your desired morning will become your new comfortable habits.
It took me a week and a half to retrain my brain to sleep by 1030 pm and wake up at 5 am, even with an alarm clock. It took two weeks before my body realized it was not getting coffee after 3 pm.
Do you have a morning routine? If you don’t currently, are you going to create one to make your life easier? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful.