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 at 7 every day, more or less ready to jump into the fray the moment my eyes open. So how did I do it? Easy.
I learned to create a morning routine.
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Why Your Morning Routine Matters
There 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 my 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 makeover 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? I 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.
3. Start with a trigger activity.
Eh, trigger activity, what does that mean?
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:
- 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. Bordeom 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 cancelled.
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.
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 share this post with another mama who needs a little help getting into the morning routine groove!