If you don’t already have a solid morning routine, now’s the time to establish one, especially 2023 is around the corner.
Having an established routine is good for your health. Not only will your mental and physical health benefit over time, but you’ll also be able to build sustainable habits to carry you through difficult times.
Need some morning routine ideas to help you start off on the right foot? Here are 35 productivity and time management hacks that you can apply in the mornings to increase your energy, optimize your time, and improve your mental and physical health.
Each habit is put into one of 4 categories:
- Personal Improvement
Set aside 10-15 minutes each morning for some low to medium intensity exercises.
If you find that working out in the morning makes you feel too drained, try eating a banana or some other light food a few minutes before your workout.
Every meal is important. A healthy breakfast gives you the energy you need to start strong, and it can be particularly important if you have a high-stress schedule.
A healthy breakfast includes low-sugar foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, plain yogurt, eggs, and dairy products. Foods with natural sugar, like fresh fruit, are also a good addition.
Meditating for 10 minutes a day can help you reduce your stress, sharpen your mind, and stay focused.
There are numerous mental health benefits of meditating. With a lot of different ways to meditate, choose something that fits in well with your lifestyle and allows you to feel fully relaxed.
Just like a healthy breakfast helps you get energy to start your day, a good lunch gives you a midday boost. Take a few minutes to set yourself up for success with a nice packed lunch, even if you’re working from home.
It’s not always easy to get a healthy lunch if you’re in the middle of a long workday, so packing lunch ahead of time ensures you have something good to eat without having to think about it.
Being up a few hours before you actually need to leave your house or start work helps you reduce the feeling of being rushed. You can take your time and get everything done slowly and intentionally.
Waking up early doesn’t mean you have to be up at 5am every morning, unless that’s what you want. Choose a wakeup time that’s around 2 hours before your first time-bound responsibility (commuting, starting work from home, etc.).
Getting some fresh air in the morning makes you feel more energetic and awake. Take a short walk outside to help you wake up well, clear your mind, and start your day in a better mood.
A few minutes of light stretching right after you wake up can increase your alertness, loosen your muscles, relieve some aches, and make you more flexible over time.
If you’re going to be sitting at a desk for most of the day, stretching helps a lot to counteract some of the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time.
A hit of natural light in the morning is a great way to force your mind into wakeup mode. If you stay in dim light for a while after waking up, you’re going to confuse your internal sleep clock.
Open your curtains immediately after you get out of bed, or go to an area of your house where you can get some natural morning sunlight.
This may sound counterintuitive if you’re used to drinking tea as a relaxing drink in the evenings. However, tea is a great morning drink as well!
The relaxation effects are beneficial even in the morning and the small amount of caffeine can help you wake up faster. Some studies found that making a habit of drinking tea can put you in a better mood, boost your creativity, and even help you perform better at work.
Good personal hygiene will help you stay healthier physically and feel more prepared for the day, especially if you’ll be interacting with other people at any point.
Take a shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and put on a fresh set of clothes every day. This is a good way to break up different parts of your morning routine also, switching from relaxation or exercise to more productive, mental activities.
Navy SEAL Admiral William McRaven was the one who started the bed-making movement, but it’s gained a lot of momentum since then. The idea is that you’re getting up and doing something very simple to start your day.
Making your bed well gives you a sense of pride, even if it’s small. By doing it every day, you’re starting your day off right and building self-discipline over time.
Let your morning be joyful and relaxed. While you go on with the rest of your morning routine, put on a playlist of your favorite songs.
This can help boost your mood early, which will hopefully carry over to the rest of the day.
Continue to build good relationships with those around you by sending at least one encouraging message to someone you know. A personalized message lets the other person know you’re thinking of them and that you’re cheering them on.
If you make this into a habit, you’ll be improving your connections with those around you while also giving yourself a mood boost in the morning. It feels good to compliment others!
Let your mind wander. When inspiration strikes in the morning, follow the rabbit trail until its end.
While this is a habit you don’t want to get into at work, letting your mind wander when you’re relaxed will help you become more imaginative. You’ll be able to think about things more deeply and find creative answers to your challenges.
A few minutes of leisure time in the morning is a nice luxury. After you’ve gotten some of your early morning habits out of the way, you may want to give yourself a 10-15 minutes to chill out.
Use this time to hop on your phone, watch a little TV, read a book, or just lounge on the couch and enjoy your morning coffee.
Being fully present is a small gift you can give to your significant other to make both of your mornings better.
Put your phone away, close your laptop, and just spend some time with your partner, giving them your full attention. Actively listen, be attentive, and focus on the conversation.
According to some social media stats, we spend on average 145 minutes on social media every day! So, there’s a good chance that you spend most of the day on some kind of electronic device, whether that’s your phone or computer.
Use part of your morning as a screen-free time. This can help you live more in the present, pay more attention to your family at home, and remain productive longer.
Wake your brain up and flex your problem solving muscle in the morning with a simple puzzle. You can do it while you eat your breakfast or relax.
Try out a simple crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search, or something like that.
Get an app or an email service that will send you a motivational quote every morning. Reading these quotes could help you get your mind in a more productive state before you begin work for the day.
Once you’ve made your bed, prepare an outfit for yourself and lay it out on the bed. Do this before you get ready for the day.
Laying out your outfit ahead of time helps you coordinate your wardrobe better and make sure you’re going to look put together when you’re ready. After you’ve exercised and gone through your hygiene routine, you’ll be able to dress and get ready without thinking about it.
It’s nice to hear the voice of a loved one, whether that’s a family member or a good friend. Make a short call in the morning to someone you care for just to check in.
One of the best ways to set your mind right before work is to clear your desk. Put away yesterday’s work, remove any clutter, take your dishes to the kitchen, and quickly wipe down the main desk area.
This applies even if you’re not working from home. The first thing you should do when you arrive at your office is to quickly clear down your desk in preparation for your work that day.
Make every new day a fresh start.
Work is a necessary part of life, for most of us. Just because you’re tied to a job for most of your workday doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be building something for yourself as well.
No matter what you’re doing for your main source of income, a side hustle can be a huge benefit in your life. Why not dedicate 1 hour of your morning to growing your side hustle?
Your mind is likely fresher and more relaxed in the morning. If you’re looking for ideas, creative solutions, or new perspectives, take some time to sit down and brainstorm in the morning.
This is something you can do every morning. Write out a few things you want to brainstorm about and dedicate time each morning for one of them. Keep notes and return to the same topics as much as needed.
Part of being prepared every day is planning what you’re going to do ahead of time. Hopefully, you already have some idea of what you’re going to be doing.
This should be a short activity you do in the morning just to go over what you’ve planned and check that it still makes sense on the day of.
It’s good to keep up with the news so you’re always aware of things that may impact you personally or professionally.
Get a news curation app to bring you relevant news only, or keep your top news sources in easy access for each morning. Either way, spend a little time catching up on what’s happening in your industry and beyond.
It’s a good idea to stay up to date with your budget. Start using an expense tracking app and take a few minutes each morning to see how you’re doing on your budgeting goals and to track your earnings and spending for the previous day.
Checking your email in the morning might not be ideal for everyone. If it stresses you out, don’t do it.
Clearing out your inbox has a similar effect as clearing your workspace. You’ll be setting yourself up for a better day at work with a clean slate, no baggage from the day before.
How do you stay on track to reaching your long-term goals?
Keep them top of mind.
Write your goals down and re-read them every morning. Going over your goals reminds you why you’re doing what you do and realigns your focus daily.
Take up a daily reading habit like Warren Buffet. Reading daily helps you learn continuously, grow your imagination, and stay curious.
You may not have time to read for hours like Buffet, but it could be helpful for you to set aside an hour every morning specifically for reading.
Reading time may fit into this, but it’s worth mentioning separately. Make a habit out of learning, however that looks for you.
Enroll in an online course, buy a series of books on a specific topic, sign up for a class, etc. Learning is a lifelong process that’s always worth the time invested!
Clean space, clear mind.
How do you keep your house clean when you’re working long hours every day?
You may not have time to clean thoroughly every day, but doing 10-15 minutes of basic maintenance cleaning around the house is a good use of your time.
Although it feels like a short time, it’s enough to wash your breakfast dishes, pick up any stuff that’s out of place, and wipe down the bathroom.
Switch up what you do every day to make sure you won’t have to spend your entire weekend deep cleaning your house!
Expanding your vocabulary introduces you to a whole scope of things you may never have known about before.
Make a point of learning a new word every day to consistently grow your vocabulary.
You can do this easily by signing up to an app that sends you a word of the day every day. Another option is to keep a list of words you read but don’t recognize, then looking them up later to learn their meaning and usage.
Instead of just focusing on learning more words in your native language, why not put a little time each day into learning a foreign language?
Practicing for 10+ minutes every day adds up. Over time, you could become fluent in multiple languages, expanding your professional skill set and enriching your life.
Podcasts are a really good way to keep learning and getting new perspectives on important issues. Switch on your favorite podcast and go on with the rest of your morning routine, listening and absorbing the information as you go.
Your daily habits slowly build up to the big milestones and achievements in your life.
Invest your time well. Make sure your morning routine is getting you closer to where you want to be, one day at a time.