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How to Create a Morning Routine (When You Hate Mornings)

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Do you have a morning routine?

Truth time: I am not a morning person. At all.

I have a friend who bounces out of bed at 5 a.m. every day like Tigger jacked up on Red Bull.

Me? I’d rather sleep in.

But as a business owner and as a mom, that’s not really an option. So over the years, I’ve had to train myself to become a morning person.

Now, I wake up around 7 every day, more or less ready to jump into the fray the moment my eyes open.

It was hard. (And some days it still is.)

But having a morning routine has been a huge help in making the shift.

Why Your Morning Routine Matters

morning routineThere are some great reasons to have a morning routine. Especially if you’re a mom who’s managing kids and running a business at the same time.

For me, having a morning routine helps me to get into work mode faster so I can focus on knocking out my most important tasks for the day.

That’s huge because as a mom who runs a business and also homeschools two kids, I need to be super productive with every minute of my time.

Days when I don’t stick to my usual morning routine always end up feeling off. Sometimes, I end up with major stress because I’m not getting a single thing done.

When I’m stressed, my kids end up that way too and that’s a perfect recipe for a terrible, no good, very bad day. 🙂

So even though I don’t love mornings, I still stick to my routine because it’s what I need to set the tone for the rest of my day.

And you may not realize it, but how you tackle your mornings sets the tone for your day too.

Think about it.

If your kids are school age, are you able to get them out the door in the morning without a mad dash to pack lunches or find backpacks?

Do you absolutely dread getting out of bed?

Does your spouse know not to talk to you until you’ve had at least three cups of coffee?

If you said yes to any of those, that’s probably a sign that your current morning routine (or lack of one) isn’t really working for you.

I’m not saying you need to love mornings. But if you can find a routine that works for you, it can totally make over your days.

And that can translate to being more productive in your business and less stressed as a mom.

How to Create a Morning Routine That Works

Okay, so are you psyched about making a morning routine?

hope so but if you’re not, or if you don’t know where to start, I’ve got you covered. Here’s exactly how I developed my current morning routine step by step:

1. Start the night before

The best way to get into the morning routine habit is to start it before you go to bed.

Sounds crazy, right? But it’s really true.

It’s a lot harder to feel fresh in the morning if you’ve stayed up too late the night before binge watching Doctor Who on Netflix or reading just one more chapter of a book you can’t put down. (Not that I’ve ever done either. 🙂 ).

But seriously, if you want to get serious about having a morning routine, you need to get mentally ready for it the night before. One of the most important things I do is to make out my to-do list for the next day.

I prioritize my list so I know exactly what needs my attention first and I try to keep the list short and reasonable, so I’m not overwhelmed with things the moment I wake up.

I also do a quick review of things I didn’t get done for that day and add those to the top of the list. It’s a really simple thing but it helps me jump right in to work mode the next morning.

Going to bed at the same time every night is also important for creating a morning routine that actually works.

I know that’s easier said than done. Especially if you have children like mine who are total night owls, or you’re trying to build a business and the only time you have to work on it is at the end of the day when your kids are sleeping.

At the very least, give yourself a cutoff time for putting away your laptop or phone before you go to bed each night.

The blue light your devices give off can screw up your sleep patterns in a big way, so try to turn them off at least an hour before bed.

2. Set your wake up time

Okay, so I will never, ever be one of those moms who can get up at 5 a.m.

I’ve heard of them; I know they exist. But I’ll never be invited to join their tribe.

And if you’re trying to get used to a morning routine, don’t feel like you have to get up at 5 a.m. either, unless that’s truly what works for you.

I wake up at 7 during the week, and that’s really the earliest I can imagine getting up. You might want to get up at 6 or 8 or some other time in-between, based on when your kids or spouse wake up.

It doesn’t really matter; the key is to wake up at the same time each day.

You might need an alarm clock to help you at first and that’s okay. Eventually, though, your body will get accustomed to waking up at the same time every day if you do it enough.

This really might be the hardest part of setting a morning routine, but if you can master it, the rest of it seems like a piece of cake in comparison.

morning routine

3. Start with a trigger activity

A trigger activity is one thing that you do regularly as part of your morning routine that sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to start the day.

For me, that’s getting straight into the shower when I wake up.

I can shower and get dressed without having to think too much about what I’m doing. By the time I make it into the kitchen, my brain has finally booted up.

Your trigger activity could be something different. For example, you could:

  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Do 10 minutes of yoga or just stretch
  • Opening the blinds and letting the light in
  • Repeat some positive mantras
  • Write in your journal
  • Turn on the coffee pot
  • Drink a big glass of water
  • Make your bed
  • Read for 15 minutes
  • Do a mental run-through of the to-do list you made the night before

It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just something you can do every morning to say to yourself Okay, it’s time to get going.

Here’s what you don’t want to do as your very first thing: get on social media or start scrolling through your emails.

I know from experience what a time suck this can be. You think you’ll just check in on Pinterest or Facebook and an hour goes by before you know it.

So, my advice to you if you’re reaching for your phone first thing is simple: Don’t.

Block off time in your morning routine for that a little later, once you’ve got your game face on.

4. Do the same things, in the same order

Routines can be bad news in certain contexts.

In marriage, for example, routines with your spouse can lead to boredom. Boredom can end up creating problems in your relationship.

When it comes to your mornings though, routine is a good thing. After I start with a shower and getting dressed, I do the exact same things every day.

I start breakfast, feed the cat and the dog and sweep the floor. Then I eat breakfast and blow dry my hair.

It takes about 40 minutes or so to do and even though it’s mundane stuff, I’m lost if I have to change something up.

As you set your morning routine, think about the things you’re doing each day already. Do you always do them in the same order?

If not, consider creating a pattern in how you approach them.

You may have to move things around until you find your perfect routine. But once you do, it’s a lot easier to put your mornings on autopilot.

5. Leave yourself wiggle room

Not every morning is going to go exactly as you plan.

One of your kids might get sick and you’ll have to take them to the doctor, or an unexpected snow day means school gets canceled.

On those days, your morning routine might look totally different from what you’re used to.

When your routine gets shaken up, you have to just go with the flow.

And even on the days when things don’t go haywire, it’s still a good idea to build a few extra minutes into your routine.

That way, if something you do every day takes a little longer one morning, you’re still on track time-wise.

morning routine

What Does Your Morning Routine Look Like?

Having a morning routine can make managing your days easier — and less stressful. The trick is finding a routine that works for you.

Do you have a killer morning routine?

Tell me about it in the comments and let me know what’s working for you. And be sure to pin and share this post if it helped you. 🙂

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Hi there, I'm Rebecca, homeschooling single mom of two. I built a six-figure freelance writing business from home and now I teach busy moms how to save money, make money and master their time! Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter and don't forget to check out the Resource Library--it's packed with tons of free tools to help make the busy mom life easier!

Comments

  1. I love this post! My morning routine is: wake up between 6 and 6:30 ideally (although my daughter has started waking up at 5:30, which KILLS ME!). I get up, try to journal for 10 minutes or so, do a pilates roll down for my back, then shower etc and up for the day. The days when I manage the 10 minutes of journalling making SUCH a difference – huge advocate of the morning routine.

    • It sounds like you’ve got your morning routine down! I also try to do journaling in the morning, although it’s more of a brain dump than anything. It really does help you set your focus for the day! We homeschool so my kids sleep late more often than not (#momfail) so it helps to have that quiet time alone. 🙂

  2. I do this!! I regard myself as a non-routine oriented person but I need a routine to get myself and more importantly, my son, out the door in the morning. It really makes s difference.

    • I have to have a morning routine, otherwise my whole day is off! And I think kids need the routine just as much as the grown-ups do. 🙂

    • I marvel at people who can get at up 4 or 5 and be ready to go. And while I’d love to sleep later, I feel guilty if I don’t get up on time. Definitely more of a night owl but I’m most productive in the mornings so 7 a.m. is my compromise.

  3. Love this! I admire you for creating an awesome routine while being a mother. I don’t even have kids and I struggle to get anything done in the mornings before work! I’d love to start blogging in the morning but I’m not sure I’m quite up to the challenge (yet!) 🙂

    • You know, it seems like a lot of the well-known bloggers really swear by getting up early and working on their blogs first thing. (And these are the really, really successful ones so they could be on to something 🙂 ). Maybe try it for a week to see how it goes?

    • Thanks Rose! I have to do the same things in the same order at the same time or my day turns just doesn’t go well. Also, now I want cinnamon rolls!

  4. I so enjoyed reading your post! Those are great and valuable tips to get started in the morning.
    I‘m not the greatest morning person either, but I discovered that when I get up early, I feel much more comfortable with my day and have a much more positive outlook.
    The idea of a trigger activity really got me thinking. I‘d say for me it‘s probably cleansing my face, brushing my teeth, and all that stuff. I just have to do it first thing. But maybe I could develop another, especially since I want to incorporate more mindful habits throughout my day. 😊
    Thank you for this awesome post! Keep sharing your thoughts with us 😊🌺

    • Thanks Anne, I’m glad you enjoyed it! For the longest time I didn’t have a morning routine and when I decided to get serious about building my business, I knew I had to start my days differently. Getting up and heading straight to the shower always switches me on, for whatever reason. On the weekends I don’t do that first, I work out instead and I’m never as productive as I am during the week 🙂

  5. I had such a good routine going for awhile but I got it all thrown out of whack lately. Setting a to do list the night before helped so much, and I can’t wait to try some of these other ideas too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mine has been a little out of sorts lately too because of trying to do too many things at once. I’m taking a quick vacation then jumping back into it next week because I miss my regular routine!

  6. I have my mornings all planned out and I agree they start the night before. I always have lunches packed, breakfast premade, and my clothes all laid out. It makes starting the day easier.

    • Hi Jessi, sounds like you’ve got it down! I don’t always get that far ahead but I do keep my morning routine simple by sticking with a basic wardrobe and eating more or less the same thing every morning. Saves a lot of time!

    • Hi Cassie, I’m not a morning person at all but I’ve had to become one to get anything done in my business. Planning ahead the night before definitely helps!

  7. This is something I should try as I dread mornings, what with the feeling I need just 5 minutes more sleep only to get up 30 minutes later and thinking now I`m late for everything, late to even brush my teeth.
    I hate mornings, my evenings/night are usually long so by the time I drop down to sleep, it`s soon time to wake up, but will try out your tips and see how things go.

    • I’m exactly the same way! Mornings are not my thing and I’d much rather be a night owl. But it’s not possible these days anymore so having a morning routine definitely helps!

  8. I hope you accept a comment from a male blogger. But my morning routine is to use my essential oils right when I get up, then workout if its a workout day. Then I like to take a shower, and listen to music in the morning.

    • Of course Jimmy! I don’t use essential oils that often, just peppermint oil for headaches, but my friend tells me they’re great for lots of things. I would love to exercise first thing when I get up but my mornings are my work time so I have to wait until later in the day.

  9. I love your post, it’s so much more motivating than those people who tell you to get up at 5 am! I just don’t do early mornings, and whenever I get up that early, I end up feeling dreadful for the whole day.
    It’s a great idea to start your day with an activity that doesn’t require much thinking! I’ll need to try that from now on. 🙂

    • Thanks Karina! I’ll never be one of those get up at 5 a.m. people, I just can’t do it. 7 a.m. is plenty early for me. And getting your morning routine going with something you don’t really have to think about can definitely help you ease into the day when you’re not fully awake yet. 🙂

      • Yes! Making your to-do list the night before is KEY! I wake up at 7 every morning, but I am not a morning person. In the evenings before bed, I have so many clear ideas of what I want to get done the next day. But when I wake up in the morning, my mind is always a bit fuzzy and lethargic for a while. If I didn’t have my list written down from the night before, it would be a real struggle to make a game plan for the day using my “mornkng brain.”
        Rebecca | rebeccaspianokeys.com recently posted…Try and Stop MeMy Profile

        • Thanks Rebecca, and you’re right, planning the night before is important! You and I sound like we have the same struggle with mornings–I seem to get all my best ideas at midnight but when morning comes, it takes a while for me to get my head in the game.

  10. I am one of those 5AM people (well, really 5:15AM). This gives me a couple of hours of peace and quiet before I have to get the kids moving. I can actually concentrate better at that time (after caffeine) and get some stuff done. After that, I tend to lose control of my day! Especially in the summer. Starting the night before is key, that is great advice.

    • I wish I could get up at 5 am and I’m sure if I tried hard enough, I could. But mentally, I just can’t get my head around it. I’m not really “on” for the day until about 8:30, it takes me a while to get started. Starting the night before always helps though!

  11. While I am now a confirmed hardcore morning person, I wasn’t always. These are all great; I used/tried most of them in my transition to lover of early morning way back when. Establishing a routine was key for me. I had to start doing the same things at the same time to motivate myself to keep going. Now I’m up by five most days and everything just sort of comes automatically.
    Valerie Fowler recently posted…LoopyMy Profile

    • Thanks Valerie! I don’t think I’ll ever be a morning person, I’m just not built that way. Interestingly, I heard there was a study done not too long ago that said if you’re a night owl then you always will be–no amount of retraining can change it. So you just have to adapt and create a routine that works for you to get through the mornings. Kudos to you for getting up at 5–I couldn’t do it every day!

  12. I can never get up really early, and I enjoy my sleep ins, but during the week I’m up at 7am, sometimes 6.30am, to get my son to school. I like to have things organised the night before and I usually have a schedule in my head of what needs to be done by a certain time so we aren’t late. Routines definitely make it less stressful.
    Candice recently posted…Quotes About Being Happy and SmilingMy Profile

    • Thanks Candice, yes routines can make life so much easier! To me, getting up at 7 is early and it really took me years to get into the habit. Organizing the night before and having a schedule is hugely helpful for reducing stress in the morning and all day long.

  13. Great post as always Rebecca.

    I’ve worked hard on my morning routine and it’s really working. My problem is, I work in a school so when the holidays come I take my foot off and then its difficult to get back in to it again.

    Great list with really great advice x

    • Thanks Claire! I know what you mean, we struggle with sticking to a routine with our homeschool during the summer months. It’s hard to flip flop back and forth sometimes between our regular school schedule and our more relaxed one in summer.

  14. I am sooo trying to be a morning person and I’m not doing very well at the moment but reading your post has given me motivation to keep trying!

    • Keep it up Shannon, maybe one of us can do it! Although honestly, I don’t think it’ll ever be me. Mornings are just not my jam, I’d rather sleep late every day like I did in my child-free 20s, lol.

  15. Great tips. I am the same as you; if I wake up and get straight into the shower, my morning goes so much better. I can do this easily for at least 6 months of the year. But when the cold weather sets in, I wake up and sit in front of the heater to drink my coffee. I could do my morning routine in my sleep (not advised) because I do the same tasks in the same order (mostly).

    • Thanks Malinda! It does help when do the same things in the same order. On the weekends, my morning routine goes out the window and I never seem to get as much done on those days as I do the rest of the week. And it’s because I’m not sticking with that order–my brain doesn’t know how to react.

  16. Love this post! I used to hate mornings and then had to become a morning person just to be able to get more things done. The recommendation of a routine is great, especially with a jumpstart task. Thanks!

    • Thanks Jessica! I would love to really embrace mornings but it’s still hard most days. Having a routine for the morning definitely helps me to be productive on those days when I don’t want to get out of bed. 🙂

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