While most people do much of the same activities each morning, they don’t usually have a purposeful routine. Instead, they’re running around on autopilot.
However, if you studied some of the most successful entrepreneurs, you’d discover that most of them have a very specific morning routine. Oprah Winfrey, Vogue’s Anna Wintour, Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, the late Steve Jobs, and even Ben Franklin, have (had) a set morning routine. Instead of rushing through a chaotic morning or walking through it in a fog, successful people have a well-designed morning routine. They are proactive, taking charge of their day, instead of being reactive.
Benefits of a Morning Routine
It may not seem like such a big deal, but in fact, having a morning routine has many benefits including:
- Alone time: Your morning routine gives you time in your busy day that is yours and yours alone.
- Wakes you up: Most successful people who have a morning routine involve some sort of movement that gets the blood flowing and wakes them up. That doesn’t necessarily mean a rigorous workout. Some people stretch or do yoga, or go for a short walk. Of course after that, many have a cup of coffee or tea.
- Sets the tone of the day: Jumping full speed into the day can make you feel disorganized and chaotic. A morning routine allows you to enter the day calmly.
- Increases productivity: A morning routine not only provides calm but focus as well. With more focus and purposeful actions comes increased productivity.
- Provides more time in the day. Most morning routines have early starts. While that’s not a requirement, you’ll find that the most successful entrepreneurs are usually up by 5 am which, for most people, makes for a longer day. Even if you go to bed earlier, odds are what you’re giving up is Netflix binging or another non-work related activity, as opposed to sleeping in and using up productive time.
How to Set Up Your Own Morning Routine
If your mornings are chaotic and you feel frazzled throughout the day, you might want to consider trying out a morning routine to see if it helps. While you can create the morning routine that best fits what you need, most recommended morning routines include the following:
- Wake up earlier. Even non-morning people who adopt a morning routine report that getting up earlier has helped them be more productive. Many successful people rise as early as four or five in the morning. That might be too early for you, but you should get up before everyone else in your home so you have the solitude for your morning routine. That means no hitting the snooze button either — when the alarm goes off, get up.
- Have a glass of water first. Many people automatically head for the coffee machine, but most morning routine experts suggest having a cold glass of water first. It will not only wake you up but also, rehydrate your body.
- Move a little bit. Some people workout during this time, but others simply stretch or do a few sun salutations. Another option is to go for a walk.
- Read. Leaders are readers. Morning reading is not only calming but also, it helps to wake up the mind and offers the opportunity to learn something or get inspired.
- Meditate or quiet time. Hal Elrod, author of "The Miracle Morning", calls this time “silence.” Basically, it’s designed to quiet the mind, give gratitude, or pray.
- Review your goals. Whether you have a vision board or goals written down, starting your day reminding yourself why you’re doing what you doing offers motivation and inspiration. This is a good time to repeat your affirmations if they’re a part of your success strategy.
- Write. Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist’s Way", recommends writing three morning pages, which she says, “…provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. “ Another option is to write down your notes and thoughts about what you read that morning. Or you can rewrite your goals and affirmations. While meditation calms the mind, writing gives it an outlet for all the thoughts that are running through it.
- Review your day. Ideally, you set up your day the night before, so all you have to do at this point is to review it and get yourself mentally ready to start on your activities.
- Eat breakfast. Food is fuel, so having a healthy breakfast gives you the energy you need to have a successful day.
What Order Are Morning Activities Done?
There is no set order for everyone. Hal Elrod uses the acronym Life SAVERS and organizes his morning routine with:
- Silence (meditate or quiet time)
- Scribe (write)
Other people use a different order. Some people include other activities, while others only do a few items on this list. The order you choose will depend on what works best for you.
How Long Does the Morning Routine Take?
A morning routine can be done in as little as 6 minutes, or 25 to 30 minutes. Some people prefer to take an hour. There are even others who have a morning routine that lasts an hour and a half or two hours.
The amount of time you dedicate to your morning routine depends on several factors including, how much time you can dedicate to it and how much time it needs for you to feel the benefits from it.
Getting Started With a Morning Routine
Like any new habit, jumping into a morning routine can be a challenge. Getting up earlier might be the biggest hurdle. However, you don’t need to dive into the deep end first thing when starting your morning routine.
- Get up earlier in small increments. If you normally get up at 7 am, getting up at five might be too difficult. Instead, get up at 6:45 am for a few days, and then at 6:30 am, working back in 15 increments until you hit your desired wake up time.
- Focus on tasks that benefit you most first. While each recommended action in the morning routine has a specific purpose, you don’t need to start doing them all at once. Instead, do the ones that you think will help you get the calm and focus you need to start your day. For example, you might first have a glass of water and do a few stretches, then read something inspirational, followed by a review of your goals, and then start the day. Once you’ve got this routine down, add other tasks one or two at a time. For example, add meditation or quiet time and journal writing.
- Keep your technology off. Notifications and the pull of technology can distract from a morning routine, especially in the beginning. Train yourself to not check your phone or turn on your computer until after you’ve done your morning routine. The only exception to the no-tech rule is if your phone is also your alarm and/or if you use an app to help in your morning routine (i.e. a meditation app). However, if you do use your phone as part of your routine, don’t check social media or email, or anything beyond the tools needed for your morning routine.
- Keep track of what’s working and what isn’t. Perhaps you’ll find you need to change the order of the tasks you do. Or maybe you’ll need to add time to one task while reducing the time on another one. The morning routine is designed to help you have a successful productive day, so tweak it to meet your needs.
Done right, the morning routine sets you up for success during the day. It offers calm before the storm, and clarity and focus on your goals for the day. While the tasks are fairly universal among those who have morning routines, like your home business workday, you can design morning rituals that best fit with your schedule and your needs.