“Rise and Shine!” My mom used to enthusiastically exclaim those three words every morning as she flipped on the lights. As annoying as it was, it was the routine. It kept me on track. It set me up for success every day. I don’t know what it is about young adulthood, but it’s so much harder to create a sustainable morning routine. It’s possible that, in this stage of life, our schedules are constantly changing and never give us enough time to perfect the formula. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, a new parent, a new pet owner, a stay-at-home girlboss, unemployed, or whatever your current label may be, the perfect morning routine is open to interpretation. With that being said, there are, however, three cornerstones that are virtually universal.
Looking at what the most successful people do in the morning, their definitions of an easy morning routine are similar although rarely the same. In some way, shape, or form, they all involve the following steps: getting centered, getting energized, and prioritizing. Now that it’s 2018, I’m looking to create an easy morning routine– one that I can follow without fail and that will set me up for success. After days of research about what the most successful people do in the morning, I’m sharing my new morning rituals as full-time blogger and stay-at-home puppy mama with y’all in today’s post.
Step 1: Get Centered
Starting off the day stressed, overwhelmed, and/or unbalanced is the easiest way to derail productivity. Centering your mind (and yourself), on the other hand, is the easiest way to set yourself up for success. The concept of “being centered” is different for everyone. As an example, in his 2015 Stanford commencement address, Steve Jobs revealed that he asks himself the following question every morning: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? He realized that too many “no’s” in a row indicated that something needed to change.
Regardless of how or where you find your center, the easiest way to get there is through mindfulness. Mindfulness is a fairly ambiguous term, so here’s a definition I’ve found helpful from Marsha Lucas, Ph.D and author of Rewire Your Brain for Love: “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” In layman’s terms, it’s being aware of what’s happening right now. Although mindfulness meditation is a popular tactic, you don’t have to sit Indian style with your hands on your knees repeating “ommm” for 10-20 minutes. Side Note: If that is your preference, Headspace is a pretty awesome app for beginners. Common tactics for practicing mindfulness include the following:
- Taking an early morning walk
- Creating something
- Paying attention to your breathing
Step 2: Get Energized
I have a mild sleep disorder, so getting energized is my biggest personal morning hurdle. My body needs a lot of fuel to get going. An integral part of my daily morning routine is eating a bowl of hearty oatmeal while sipping on a warm cup of my favorite Eight O’Clock Coffee Infusions. They’ve developed new varieties of coffee blended with added ingredients, like guarana for energy and Vitamin B6 for metabolism, to help start the morning with as much vigor (and caffeine) as possible. My favorite is their Alert Hi-Caffeine blend, which is a delicious blend of 100% Arabica beans, caffeine, and guarana, but I also keep our apartment stocked with their B6 Metabolism blend (a close 2nd favorite that’s blended with fruit and an herbal blend that’s rich in Vitamin B6 to support metabolism), Super Spice blend, and Acai Glow blend.
Kyle and I usually have tea in the evenings, but we’re looking forward to trying the Relax Decaffeinated blend instead. It has hints of chamomile and lavender in it, so it sounds perfect for unwinding after work. You can purchase Eight O’Clock Coffee online (save $1 on your favorite blend with this coupon!) or in-store at just about every major retailer.
Beyond your daily dose of caffeine, it’s important to get your mind, body, and spirit energized, as well. Morning exercise (of any intensity) can assume the role of an all-natural cup of coffee. How? By waking up your body and preparing your mind. That being said, it’d be great if we could all just make time for the gym in the mornings. For me, those mornings are few and far in between. I save my trips to the gym for the evenings and sneak in an arbitrary number of squats, lunges, and planks in the morning. If I don’t have time, I take the stairs leaving my apartment building in the morning. Every little movement helps. Here’s a great article on easy morning workout exercises to help get your blood flowing.
Equally as important as physical energy is mental energy. While mindfulness exercises enable you to focus on the present moment, reciting daily affirmations (here are some examples) can help you to tackle the day with a greater confidence and sense of determination. Affirmations an also remind you to be grateful and think positively. More common tactics for increasing mental energy include the following:
- Complete a “brain puzzle”
- Take a cold shower (as brutal as this sounds in the middle of winter, the resulting boost of energy and sense of accomplishment are incredible)
- Read an article about something you know nothing about
Step 3: Get Prioritized
There are only so many hours in the day. Prioritizing your time is key. Different productivity gurus will tell you different things, but my boyfriend, who was this inspiration behind this awesome positive thinking flowchart that has almost 100k shares, has drilled the science of single-tasking into my head– and it’s been extremely effective. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed in the morning, I ask myself, “What’s the one thing that, if I completed it, would make today a win?” Then I break it down into pieces and get to work.
Another popular method of time management is the “eat the frog first” mentality. As the wise Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Identify that one thing (or frog) before you sit down at your desk. You can figure it out in the morning or the night before. Just have the task in your mind before you start working. Starting off the day with a realistic plan of action only sets up you for success. Once your day is already on track, check out these quick productivity hacks to help knock even more items off your to-do list.
When it comes to what the most successful people do in the morning, research shows that everyone’s morning rituals are different. A monk’s spiritual morning routine will obviously differ from a working mom morning routine. It makes sense. Find the methods for getting centered, energized, and prioritized and create an easy morning routine that works for YOU.
Don’t forget! If you’d like to give Eight O’Clock Coffee a try (or if you’re already a fan and just want a sweet coupon), use this coupon to save $1 on your favorite blend when you buy online!