When I worked for a corporation over a decade ago, my mornings looked something like this: Hit snooze until I have to get out of bed. Feed cats while coffee brews. Shower, get dressed, put on makeup while chugging coffee. Race out the door and (possibly) eat breakfast in the car on the way to work while fighting traffic. Arrive frazzled yet mostly functional.
When I started working from home years ago, my mornings looked like this: Look at smartphone, including emails, before I even get out of bed. Feed cats while coffee brews. Sit down at desk as soon as coffee is ready and start my workday. Eventually make breakfast when my growling stomach can no longer be ignored. Eventually get dressed when I realize it’s noon and I’m still in PJs. End day feeling like a slave to my business and clients.
Any of this sound familiar?
Then I was introduced to the concept of the “morning routine” — a glorious notion that advocates for starting every day with a purposeful set of activities. Having become a morning routine convert a few years ago, I firmly believe it brings a greater level of calm to even hectic days. And for PR pros, this can be a huge benefit.
What does a morning routine include?
There’s no “right” way to do a morning routine. Some people’s morning routines last 15 minutes, some last 2 hours or more. It depends on what is meaningful and realistic for each person.
Common morning routine activities include:
- Setting barriers around stress-inducing experiences. For example, not checking phone messages and/or email until a certain time (especially not while still in bed)
- Enjoying an un-rushed morning beverage and healthy breakfast
- Walking, yoga, working out
- Spending quality time with a family member(s)
- Learning about something that interests you
- Taking time for a creative pursuit or hobby
- Personal care time – teeth brushing, showering, getting dressed, etc.
If there’s a lot you want to accomplish during your morning routine but time is at a premium, consider combining activities. For example, listen to an inspirational podcast while taking a walk or getting dressed. Or write in your journal while drinking your coffee.
What are the benefits of a morning routine?
There are many benefits of a morning routine, and I’ll share resources below for further reading. But here are my top four:
1. Sets the Tone
Simply put, having a morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. It puts my mind in a good, calm place. It reminds me how nice it feels to be in control of my thoughts and actions. This daily reminder is extremely helpful, especially in an industry where we’re constantly reacting to and juggling the requests and needs of others.
2. “Me” Time
Setting a morning routine means you acknowledge that it’s important to take care of yourself — mind, body and spirit. When I spend time every morning doing things I find meaningful, it meets the “fill your cup” philosophy. I charge up my batteries in the morning and then am more eager to fully dedicate myself to my clients and projects during the workday, without resentment.
3. Sets Intentions
I’ve found that following a morning routine helps me set intentions for the day. This typically takes the form of what kind of mood I’d like to maintain or actions I’d like to take later, whether related to work or my personal life. For example, I might decide in the morning to be a good listener on a client call that afternoon, or commit to calling a friend I haven’t talked to in a while. A morning routine provides the time and space to think clearly and purposefully about what’s important to you and what you want to accomplish.
4. Fuel Your Body
To set the stage for a more balanced day, I highly suggest including eating breakfast and drinking water in a morning routine. Not only is it good for your physical body but also for your mental and emotional state. According to an article on WebMD, eating breakfast helps keep your blood sugar steadier throughout the day. This is important because drops and spikes in your blood sugar can affect your mood, making you more nervous, grumpy, or angry.
Morning Routine Resources
If you’re interested in learning more about morning routines, here are some of my favorite resources:
- The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Morning Routines and Strategies (#253)
- Inc’s 50 Ideas to Help You Design Your Perfect Morning Routine
- Forbes’ What You Can Learn From The Morning Routines of Super Productive People
- The Five Minute Journal Will Make You Happier
- Perfect Your Morning Routine With 10 Research Backed Steps
What do you think? Have you tried a morning routine? What works for you? What didn’t? Share your insights in the comments below!