What’s a typical morning like for you? During the workweek, mornings often become a frantic race to locate lost keys, pack bags, and cram a nutritious breakfast into yourself and your family. If you’re ready for a better morning routine, one that leaves you centered and prepared to move mountains and conquer to-do lists, try implementing these changes.
1. Get Enough Sleep
It is perhaps a cliché to say that a good morning begins with a good night’s rest. But it’s inarguable that waking up exhausted is challenging and unlikely to lead to an easy morning. The Centers for Disease Control boldly claims that lack of sleep is a public health epidemic among Americans.
Instead of bemoaning your lack of sleep, consider setting an “go to bed” alarm—use this to remind you of when it’s time to start winding down each evening. Consider, too, developing a nighttime routine to ease you into dreamland.
2. Do Your Advance Work
Assume your morning will be busy enough as it is, and prepare for it accordingly. Avoid being late for work, appointments, or school drop-off by getting as much ready at night as possible. Before your first cup of coffee is no time to hunt for a must-bring file, iron your pants, locate lost keys, or sign school papers.
It’s relatively easy to prevent these mishaps: lay out your clothes for the next day the night before, for instance. Have a quick chat with the kids about their schedule at dinnertime. You may even want to create a list of goals for the following day, following the habit of American Express’s CEO, Kenneth Chenault.
3. Having a Landing Pad
Be smart about your front entry. Create a space for all the items you typically need before you leave home—keys, wallet, coat, and winter accessories. If you don’t depend on your phone as an alarm clock, you may even want to use your landing pad as a charging station as well. Keeping these items in one predictable spot will cut down on time spent rummaging for keys.
4. Take Time to Reflect
Maybe your reflection time will take the form of a list for the day. Or maybe you’d rather meditate. You may want to spend time being grateful for the things you have and the people in your life. Organize this reflection time as you’d like, but do try to spend a few minutes reflecting on the day ahead.
Having a good sense of what you’d like to accomplish, from spending thirty minutes reading with your child to preparing a presentation, can help put you in control of your day. Think about using a tranquility or renewal Mood-lite during your period of reflection, to create the right energy for your day.
Start your day with a little sweat—exercising will kick-start your metabolism and give you a blast of energy and endorphins. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of starting your day by knocking off one important item on your to-do list. If you’re short on time, consider downloading a 7-minute workout app, such as the one created by the New York Times.
6. Not a Morning Person? Establish a Routine
Not everyone shines in the morning. If mornings find you grumpy, unfocused, and zombie-like, do everything you can to automate your start of the day routine. Get the coffee ready to brew before you go to bed, for instance, or better yet, get a machine with a timer, and set it to brew just as your alarm is ringing. Reduce your morning responsibilities as much as possible.
Looking for inspiration? The site My Morning Routine is a great place to find out how other people organize their mornings. And share your own morning habits with us on Twitter and Facebook.