Morning Routines

A good morning routine boosts your productivity, creativity, and sense of fulfillment.

When you have a good morning, you have a good day. It’s up to you to capitalize on the opportunity to start the day on your terms, and a morning routine can help.

Below are three morning routines (10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes) that have worked for me. I vary my routine based on my current goals and how much time I have.

10 Minute Morning Routine

Do not check your phone (0 minutes)

Your phone is full of inputs outside of your control that distract you from the outputs that you care about. Don’t subject yourself to these inputs when you first wake up, no matter how tempting it may be. Check your phone after your morning routine. No email, message, or notification can’t wait 15 minutes. To hold yourself accountable, put your phone in another room so that it is out of sight, or put it in airplane mode the night before so that you don’t receive any notifications.

Hydrate (1 minute)

Unless you wake up every hour during the night to drink water, you’re going to wake up at least slightly dehydrated. Instead of experiencing the fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and moodiness that dehydration causes, reward your body the hydration bath it deserves. I make a cocktail with 16 ounces of water, one-quarter fresh-squeezed lemon, and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. The lemon and sea salt replace the minerals and electrolytes I’ve lost while sleeping. Shake it up in a blender and drink at your leisure.

Get sunlight (3 minutes)

The sun is your reliable partner in crime. It energizes you and helps regulate your circadian cycle, alerting your body that it’s time to wake up! I enjoy soaking in the sunshine while drinking my morning hydration cocktail.

Exercise (3 minutes)

Exercise releases endorphins, boosts circulation, and improves cognitive performance. Pretty cool right? You don’t need to run a marathon or hit a Crossfit class to get these benefits. Instead, find an activity that you like and do it. I typically do 2 minutes of jump roping, 50 push ups, 25 resistance band stretches, or 100 jumping jacks.

Journal (3 minutes)

Journaling is clarifying and cathartic. You get your crazy thoughts out of your head and onto paper. You also learn and remember more through the process of organizing your thoughts. When I journal, I either write freely for a few minutes or answer the following three questions: What am I grateful for? What did I learn yesterday? How did I pay it forward yesterday? If you want something more structured, the Five Minute Journal is a great option. It uses positive psychology to help you get the most out of your journaling.

20 Minute Morning Routine (10 minute routine + meditation / coloring)

Meditate (10 minutes)

If you’re like me, you probably wake up with a lot of thoughts, some of which aren’t very productive. Meditation is an excellent solution to this problem. It calms your mind, clarifies your intentions, and prepares you for even the toughest of days ahead. If I want to do a formal 10-minute practice focused on my breathing, I use Headspace or Calm.

Color (10 minutes)

Turns out that coloring is not just for kids! It helps boost creativity while reducing stress and anxiety. If I want to have some kid-like fun with tangible benefits for my adult life, I pull out my Calm the F*ck Down coloring book and color my heart out. This coloring book is awesome because it has NSFW adult humor.

30 Minute Morning Routine (20 minute routine + reading)

Read (10 minutes)

The information you fill your brain with determines the quality and character of your thoughts. So unless you want to live in chronic outrage and fear, do not read the news first thing in the morning. Instead, find a piece of fiction that warms your soul or a nonfiction book that teaches you about something you care about. Check out my vetted reading list if you’re short on book ideas.

With any morning routine, you need to find the practices and exercises that align with your goals and personal style. Finding a good routine will allow you to start more days in a calm, creative, and productive mode. And when you start the day on more positive terms, you’ll have more enjoyable days and make greater progress in the directions that you’ve consciously chosen to go.