3 Questions to Help You Establish a Productive Morning Routine

beep! beep! beep! beep! beep! beep!

Do you ever feel like smashing your alarm clock into little pieces?

Do you feel like that most days?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. I think my lack of get-up-and-go spirit is the result of several factors:

  • I didn’t do the dishes last night, and there are dirty plates and cups all over the counter waiting to greet me.
  • I have no clean clothes.
  • Skyla’s snoring kept me up all night.
  • I’m scared to open my work e-mail.
  • It’s still dark outside.
  • I was just in the middle of that dream where I’m a flying superhero who lives in a castle and Johnny Depp was giving me a foot rub. Oh, yeah…

Whatever the reason, I couldn’t keep dreading my mornings and then spend the time in a mad rush when I finally did haul my butt out from under the covers.

I’m in the process of establishing a morning routine so I’ll actually want to get up.

Here are some questions I’m asking myself (and you should answer them too!):

  1. How do I want to feel when I wake up?
  2. What can I do in the morning to start my day off right?
  3. What can I do at night to make my mornings easier?

I know I want to feel energized and excited about starting my day. I also know that starting my day with a short meditation or some soothing music would put me in a good mood (that will hopefully last the rest of the day). And after a bit of reflection, I thought of a few tasks I could do at night instead of leaving them for the morning.

Here’s what my revised morning routine looks like:

  • Wake up at 6:00 am (Really, out of bed and standing at 6:00. No snooze button allowed!)
  • Bathroom and hygiene stuff.
  • Get dressed. (Again, for reals. Pajamas are not proper work attire.)
  • Make tea and breakfast, usually fruit and oatmeal.
  • While tea is steeping, go into the office, close the door, and meditate for 5 minutes.
  • Eat breakfast and talk with Chris.
  • Turn on my laptop and open my work e-mail at 7:00 am (Yes, I really start work that early. My company is in the Central time zone, but I work remotely from my home in the Pacific time zone.)

You’ll probably have different tasks in your morning routine. For instance, I exercise at night because it helps me sleep and I start work so early. You might want to exercise in the morning to help wake yourself up and to get it over with before you think of excuses to blow it off.

And here’s what I’m doing at night to make this routine possible:

  • Update my to-do list so it’s out of my head and I can sleep peacefully.
  • Fill and run the dishwasher at night.
  • Lay out tomorrow’s clothes.
  • Review my meal plan and make sure I have all the ingredients for tomorrow’s meals.

So far, this new routine has been working pretty well. I feel more invigorated and less stabby (must be the meditation…omm…).

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  1. Anna on January 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    At the moment I have no morning routine to speak of because I’m on my (last ever) winter break :D. But I’m truly a morning person who LOVES to get up before sunrise. There’s something magical about the way morning smells, feels, and uplifts. During the school year I had 8 AMs twice a week and 9 AMs three times a week, which was hard stuff as a commuter. Here are the wake-up rules I followed: I’d generally wake up between 6-6:30AM to a clean kitchen. My house can be a bloody mess but the kitchen must be welcoming. I make breakfast and lunch quickly because I identify everything I need the night before. I pick out my outfit the night before. I ALWAYS pack my bag the night before (people may underestimate how long it takes when you have minutes to spare).

    This all may sounds out of order and crazy but that’s because it’s late and I’m having trouble remembering my own name. Good night!

  2. Megan Gann on January 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Ohhyeah, I definitely need to start doing this. Surprisingly when I was sick right before Christmas, I was going to bed early, getting up early, and accomplishing stuff. I messed it up during all the celebrating though. I hope I can get back to doing that minus the draining head cold.

    • Sage on January 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      The holidays messed up my schedule too. Feel better soon!

  3. Cara on January 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I agree with Shybiker, you need to write a realistic, useful lifestyle book! I tried to get back on track this morning, by also getting up at 6am and taking my time to get ready rather than snoozing and racing out the door with wet hair and no lunch packed. I also make sure all the dishes are done before bed, but I need to get back in the habit of packing a sensible lunch the night before rather than grabbing an orange and buying the rest of my breakfast and lunch at work. Happy New Year Sage!

    • Sage on January 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      That should be my goal for the new year–write a lifestyle ebook. I just need to keep posting consistently and not disappear for a month like I did last fall. 🙁

      When I worked in an office, I tried really hard to pack a good lunch the night before. I was always grateful I spent the extra time to do something healthy for myself. Happy new year!

  4. Sarah Shmuel on January 3, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Adorable pics, love Skyla!!! I am actually a morning person and I am typically awake on my own by 6:30 or 7 (I have used an alarm twice within the past few years only when I had to be up by 4:30 for work). I have a pretty standard morning routine, the only time it ever gets difficult is when I have a hard time sleeping the night before…then dragging my butt out of bed is waaaaaay more difficult (still up early, just don’t want to get out of bed). I usually also know exactly what I need to do the night before so it makes life a lot easier in the morning 🙂

    • xvavaveganx on January 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

      ugh really with my full name coming up? lol I’ve always been confused by Disqus. Oy!

      • Sage on January 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Sorry! I’m confused by all commenting programs. Now that I’m on WordPress, my comments look funny on Blogger sites. I set up Disqus to make things easier for my readers, but it looks like nothing is perfect. 🙁

        • xvavaveganx on January 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm

          It’s all good! Not a big deal at all 🙂 I’ll just have to figure it out!

  5. Shybiker on January 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Can I hire you to be my life-coach? You raise important subjects and then tackle them so sensibly. I’ve wrestled with mornings exactly as you describe. Your suggestions are what I know I should do. I just need you to come over and whip my butt into shape.

    What helps me ease into the day are several cups of tea and reading blogs. They awaken my brain and get me motivated.

    • Sage on January 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Haha! Yes, I’ll be your life coach, but you’ll have to pay me in Twizzlers! I love having a few warm cups of tea in the morning…so relaxing.

  6. Molly on January 3, 2012 at 4:10 am

    It does make all the difference to have things ready for the morning, doesn’t it? I hate waking up to dirty dishes or kept up by a bunch of thoughts floating through my head. To do lists really help!

    • Sage on January 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      I am the Queen of To-Do Lists. 🙂

  7. H&K Style Journey on January 3, 2012 at 3:59 am

    These are great tips and perfect timing due to my current situation. Usually our mornings are rushed because we are all so tired from the night before so we hit the snooze. Breakfast is important, and we are usually grabbing something on the go. i would like for us all to be able to sit at the table and actually enjoy it! Heather

    • Sage on January 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      I don’t always get to eat dinner with Chris because I’m running out the door for the gym, so having family breakfast time works for us. I’m interested to read about your new routine now that you’ll be working from home too.