How Important is the Morning Routine for the Day Ahead?
We have all read the articles of successful business people and entrepreneurs who wake up at 4am to do a two hour work out, drink a pint of raw eggs and create a plan to end world hunger all before 8am.
While this may sound ridiculously overwhelming for most people, and let’s face it, somewhat unnecessary, there are actually huge benefits to the morning routine. But not how you may think.
Experts agree that the time between waking up and getting into the office is actually peak for achieving activities that are meaningful to us as individuals; particularly ones that take discipline, but not necessarily related to our work. For some people, this may be working on their fitness, for others it may be making time for a family breakfast, while some may be working on a personal project.
Whatever your personal goals may be, they must remain at the forefront of your morning routine. Start by asking yourself, what am I doing this for? And, what is the purpose of my morning routine? You could be trying to improve wellbeing and increase productivity, aid creativity or retain more energy. But, whatever you hope to achieve, you must be clear on your purpose.
Why is this Interval Important?
Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do before Breakfast summed it up like this, “It’s time that can’t as easily be taken away from you. The rest of the world will get what they need during the day. The morning is your time.” She advises, “If there is something you want to do, but you’re not finding enough space in the rest of your life, I would suggest trying a morning routine. Scheduling morning activities makes it easier to get to bed earlier and ditch unproductive time in the evenings spent surfing the web or watching TV.”
With this said, you don’t have to be an early bird to benefit from a good morning routine. Neither is there a formula to when you should start your day. Everybody works differently and everyone has different schedules in life. As long as you set aside a time that works for you, you can benefit from a good morning routine.
Must it be the Morning?
Some people believe that the morning isn’t even important at all and in fact, limiting yourself to a fixed structure could be more damaging. Instead, we should strive to establish a daily rhythm instead of a daily routine.
If you are someone who feels restricted and anxious at the thought of having to meet certain time restraints, then perhaps a morning routine specifically, isn’t for you. Instead try thinking about the day ahead a making a note of the opportunities you have sporadically through the day to achieve personal goals.
A structured day is certainly not for everyone. We have learnt this through the increasing popularity of digital nomads and remote workers in recent years. Writer Jocelyn K. Glei actually believes in building white space into your schedule for napping, meditation, walking, and downtime: “We need white space in our daily lives just as much as we need it in our designs because the concept carries over: If our lives are over-cluttered and over-booked, we can’t focus properly on anything. What’s more, this way of working actually shrinks our ability to think creatively.”
If you think of it as Glei explains, it is hard to achieve a feeling of peace and accomplishment when you’re always chasing the next goal.
Plan an Achievable Morning Routine
Trying to cram too much into the morning routine is the biggest mistake people make when aiming to be more productive. Again, it is important to ask yourself the question, what am I doing this for? Once you have discovered your main objective try to think of as few activities as possible to focus on that will make it happen.
Trying to fit too many rituals into your morning, especially ones that don’t align with your personal goals, can actually result in more stress and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. For example, you may be exercising in order to wake up your creativity if you’re in the process of writing a book when actually, spending your morning simply sitting down to write is more advantageous to your goals.
Mindfulness can mean different things to different people. If you feel stressed at the thought of unfinished tasks in your personal life, using your morning to complete these can help you prepare for the day. This may even be as simple as cleaning a room in your home before you head out.
Of course, exercise and eating well are important parts of life; they help determine our overall and long term wellbeing but as a general rule when planning your day, do what matters most first. Do everything else later. There is always time to fit in a bit of yoga or a nice walk during your lunch hour or after work if this is something that doesn’t immediately impact your daily focus.
Ideas for your Morning Routine
Have you ever woken up and thought, I need to write down that dream? Well there are actually great benefits to getting your thoughts down on paper. According to an article in Forbes, our brain often works on a stream of consciousness rhythm. Therefore getting the ideas out of your mind and down on paper can help you clear your brainwaves from the get go; a great way to relieve stress and tension that may often occur throughout the day.
If you’re more of a reader than a writer, why not use the morning before work to broaden your horizons? Read books centred on self-improvement. Whether this may be in your personal life, business life or a specific area of life that you are really interested in improving. The positive messages will make you feel more empowered and prepared to take on the day.
After clearing your mind and absorbing a few motivational words, set about creating yourself a plan for the day ahead. Focus on one thing that you need to do in your business day. Pick only one thing and focus on that. When you are able to make this task your top priority for an hour or two at work, the end result can be extremely beneficial for your business.
For some people, switching off from the constant demands of modern life and connecting with nature can also be the best way to find focus for the day ahead. Enjoying nature and taking the time to enjoy your morning can really set you up right for the day ahead. Or, if yoga or sitting silently for a few minutes works for you, do that instead!
Overall, it’s not necessarily about the morning workout or the typical things that we believe will make us great. It is about doing something for yourself that helps you to feel accomplished or more organised and less mentally cluttered before you begin your day.