Let’s face it, mornings can be a struggle no matter how much sleep you got the night before. But having a great morning routine is a reliable way to set yourself up for having a productive day. Morning person or not, it’s important to focus on creating an inviting morning. Why? What you do before 9:00 AM can set the tone for the rest of your day.
From a before-bed tidy-up to meal planning, here are six easy ways to set yourself up for success. Don’t procrastinate! Most of these tips won’t take very long to implement, and the results could be life-changing. After all, some of the most effective and well-known entrepreneurs rely on a strict morning routine. Some of the most famous artists of all time associate their creativity with their morning plans.
Ready to join the ranks of morning people? Read on.
#1 - Your favorite hot drink, on-demand
If you like a hit of caffeine in the morning, why not make your routine a bit more automatic? Take the stress out of your morning and cut your prep time in half. Get a machine to brew your brew for you! Most automatic java-makers are pretty affordable. Simple ones are less than $50, and you can set a time in the morning to tempt yourself awake with the sweet smell of a cup of joe.
Of course, if you want to get fancy, there are far more expensive contraptions like espresso machines. The simple knowledge that you can trudge into the kitchen and enjoy your favorite brew, on-demand, is enough to transform even the most resentful anti-morning people into a chipper morning glory.
#2 - Invest in an alarm clock that you don’t hate
Nowadays, there are tons of innovative alarm clocks that aren’t shrill and annoying. If you find yourself being jarred awake by a startling alarm, it might be time to replace it with something better. After all, no one can be expected to have a good day when the first thing they hear is a scary beeping noise.
For light sleepers who need help regulating their circadian rhythms, sunrise alarm clocks are a great choice. They include a soft light that gently turns on, mimicking the natural sunrise. This slowly tells your body that it’s approaching wake-up time. It often takes up to thirty minutes and can be a pain-free, noise-free way to wake up.
If you’re a heavy sleeper, you may need something a bit stronger. There are some physical clocks and mobile phone apps that make waking up fun and complicated. For instance, there’s one clock that rumbles and leaps off your bedside table, forcing you to get up and chase it down before the noise abates. Alternately, you can download an app that makes you solve simple math puzzles and word rhymes before the alarm goes off.
#3 - Plan for movement or exercise at the top of your day
Whether it’s a brief online yoga video or a jog with an accountability buddy, studies show that moving your body first thing in the morning can help the mind grow alert. The endorphins you generate from exercise could make that 9:00 AM meeting far more enjoyable.
Of course, if you’re not a morning person then you may need to do a bit of planning ahead. Lay out your yoga mat beside your bed before you go to sleep. Queue up the yoga video on your phone and change the name of your alarm to “Yoga” rather than “Wake up.”
If you find yourself avoiding exercise, then try asking a friend to join you. You could even schedule a phone call with a parent or sibling for the mornings, and take yourself on a walk around the neighborhood before you start work for the day. Figure out what makes you look forward to the mornings, and then make it happen.
#4 - Meal plan like your morning depends on it
Don’t start your day on an empty stomach. It only goes downhill from there. And no, a power bar doesn’t count as breakfast! With a bit of simple meal planning, you can turn mornings into a delectable and delightful affair. Isn’t it worth spending 30 minutes on meal prep to enjoy tasty breakfasts all week long?
Here’s one strategy. Prepare your breakfast the night before. Overnight oats are quick, nutritious, and delicious. Mix oats with fruit and milk and let it soak in a jar in the refrigerator overnight. All you have to do in the morning is remember you already made breakfast.
Need another idea? Smoothies are a classic but reliable solution to busy mornings. Keep frozen fruit in your freezer and blend with milk and nut butter for a protein-packed, portable breakfast. This one is perfect for parents—kids love smoothies, too!
#5 - Brain dump your to-do lists the night before
Many people find mornings stressful because they’re worried about the rest of the day. Will they forget an appointment? Will they accomplish all the tasks on their “to-do” list? But this is a terrible way to start the day. Instead, switch things up.
Try to brain dump your worries onto paper or your phone’s Notes app the night before. Spend 10 minutes reviewing your calendar, looking ahead to tomorrow’s projects, and thinking through the problems you might encounter and how to solve them. Now, you can wake up peacefully and give yourself some calm me-time, knowing that you’ve already prepared for the day.
#6 - Try not to beat yourself up if you have a bad morning
Sometimes, we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. A cup of your favorite hot beverage isn’t always enough to make someone a morning person. It’s okay; we get it. If you just can’t find the time to carve out a morning routine, the least you can do is not beat yourself up for it.
Try to start your day with a bit of positivity and kindness towards yourself. The world will throw enough challenges at you during the day. There’s no need to pollute your morning with self-criticism and anxiety.
Implement these tips—and join the coffee club—and you just might find that morning becomes your favorite time of day.