Want to have more productive and healthier days?  Pay attention to how you start, right from the moment you open your eyes.

A successful morning routine puts you in a positive mindset while taking care of your basic needs. Whether drinking eight ounces of water before your morning coffee or journaling and meditating before your feet hit the floor, preparing your body and mind for the day ahead pays dividends for your productivity and stress level.  Here are five tips you can use.

You Snooze, You Lose 

The biggest challenge to a successful morning routine is simply not waking up in time to have a routine. Committing to an earlier wake-up time can be a challenge especially if you are a two-snooze type of person. The first rule of a successful morning routine is “don’t hit snooze!” While those extra 15 minutes of sleep seem really appealing in the moment, 15 minutes of quiet time while you drink your coffee is a lot nicer than gulping it down in the car. 

Avoid Checking Email (or Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) First Thing 

A common morning habit is rolling over and picking up your phone immediately. While it may feel productive to get started on email as soon you wake up, it throws you into work mode immediately. Often, email brings about requests or problems to be solved which can trigger your body’s fight or flight response. Starting the day with an activity that allows you to ease into the day will help you respond to emails with a clear and focused mind later on.

“The first thing I do every morning is drink a cup of Yerba Mate, which is immediately followed-up with a 10-minute undisturbed, creative brainstorming session. The goal is to come up with an original idea, related to my job or not. I want something to get me thinking, keep me inspired and motivated before I get bogged down responding to team emails. If you can keep those thoughts going while you’re preparing breakfast or commuting to work, you’ve accomplished something.” Paul Shapiro, director of search at Catalyst/GroupM

Reflect On Your Mornings 

To start, reflect on how you currently spend the time between waking up and getting to work. What do you enjoy most about that time of the day? What works and what doesn’t? For some people, spending 10 minutes deciding what to wear can lead to a frazzled state of mind. For others, choosing an outfit may be a energizing start with an opportunity to be creative and reflect on the day ahead. Identify what currently isn’t working and work to eliminate challenges. As Bob Marley said, “Make way for the positive day.” 

Choose a Morning Routine 

The best way to learn about morning routines that might work for you is to learn about what others do. 

  • My Morning Routine – With stories from individuals with different styles including early risers, late risers and parents, this site includes a variety of ideas including bedtime and awake time. This is a great resource for those looking for practical ideas. 
  • The Morning Effect – This resource includes goal-oriented routines such as body, mind, finances or productivity. Choosing a routine with your own goal in mind will help you find focus. 

Learn From Successful People: 

Baby Steps 

When considering any change in habit, be realistic.  Try on some different approaches.  Start off small and build up as you go.

Starting a new workout regimen and writing three pages in your journal might be difficult if you’ve been rushing out the door barely making it to work on time.   Your goal is to create a morning routine that works for you, makes your days better, and gets turned into a healthy habit.  

Success is less about which routine you choose; it’s about intentionally focusing your body and mind to tackle the day ahead.  You are the master of your routine… not the victim.  You can choose to design how your day begins.  You got this!

A career coach can help you identify habits that contribute to work-life success. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.