The Best Morning Routine Comes From You
I love a morning routine. I enjoy listening to podcasts (shout out to Power Hour with Adrienne Herbert of course) and reading books that talk about morning routines. I tried the 30 day Miracle Morning Challenge (and enjoyed it).
And there are lots of good ideas, suggestions that will inspire you. You may even choose to set your alarm earlier when you hear the difference that has made to other people.
But the most effective morning routine is the one that gets you to where you want to be when you start your day.
When I had my first teaching job aged 22, a colleague would give me a lift to work every morning. She would arrive in the car park behind my house at 7.25 am. At that time in my life (particularly after spending most of the preceding evening marking and planning for the next day) the most important thing to me was sleep. So I whittled down my morning routine to getting out of bed at 7.15 and somehow managing to get myself washed and dressed to look presentable for a day’s teaching in ten minutes.
Looking back I have no idea how I achieved that. (But I do remember that breakfast was a cereal bar just before the bell rang pretty much every morning!) But at the time it was what I needed to get through that initial year of teaching.
Last year, after reading The Miracle Morning, I got up earlier than usual so that I could write, read, meditate, practise yoga, visualise and say affirmations every morning before I did anything else. And I enjoyed it (although I always struggled a little with the last two). This structure was very helpful to give me a focus and sense of purpose during the second year of the pandemic when uncertainty was the only certainty in my life.
(As an aside, I now meditate in the evenings and I write at some point most days. I’ve still not made either affirmations or visualisation a part of my life.)
As I wrote last week, when I got COVID recently I couldn’t get up early any more; I needed more sleep. In fact at one point my alarm was set for 8.30 am which I knew was the latest I could wake up if I was to make it to my home office to start work at 9. A version of that first working morning routine almost 30 years ago!
Now I’ve settled into a new routine. My alarm goes off at 7 but generally I will already be up (I tend to wake naturally between 6 and 7, the alarm is just in case!) Having splashed my face with cold water, I make myself a cup of tea and then read a non-fiction book for around half an hour, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of yoga before I then go and get ready for the day.
Before I start work I try to get outside for some daylight, even if it’s only a couple of minutes topping up the bird feeder in the garden. Some mornings, depending on time, it may be a half an hour walk.
I start work at some point between 8.30 and 9 am. When possible I like to start early enough to allow me to take a slightly longer lunch break as I find I work better in the afternoon if I’ve properly switched off after the morning.
The point of this article is definitely not to tell you that my routine is the best. But it is the best for me. At the moment.
The point is that the best morning routine for you is the one that allows you to start the day how you want to. Intentionally. At this point in your life.
Have a think about:
- How you want to feel when you start your day.
- What you can do to help you feel like that.
- What time you need to get up to have time to get there.
- When you should go to bed to feel properly rested when you wake.
Then give it a try; see if it works. If it doesn’t then adapt it and try again.
And remember it may only work for you for a few weeks or months. Review it regularly to see if it’s serving your current needs and if it doesn’t then work out what needs to change.