So when I began to look into morning routines, I fought back a little bit. Doing the same thing every day seems pretty rote and not creatively spontaneous. I was wrong. No matter how successful or effective you feel you are, you can multiply that by simply developing and sticking to a routine. Here are three reasons why:
Stephen Covey uses the phrase "saw-sharpening" to talk about the things that we do to personally develop and maintain our strength and sustainability. Whether it's prayer, meditation, physical exercise, health and nutrition, writing, reading, or whatever fuels and energizes you, having a morning routine allows you the time to put the gas in the tank before things get too crazy.
Consistency = Creativity
Rather than limit creativity, I found healthy, consistent activity within a pre-designed system actually puts in place space for maximum creativity. As humans we need some amount of boundaries and routines to give us a sense of consistency that helps us feel safe, productive, and effective.
A Healthy Dose of Accomplishment
So often our work and life is open-ended and ambiguous, often taking days, months, or years to see completion of things important to us. With a morning routine though, you have instant accomplishment. Whether it's eating a healthy breakfast, drinking a few cups of water in the morning, running a few miles, reading the news, writing a few pages of something, whatever it is, you can see results both in the short-term and long-term. Let's be honest, that's a sanity saver!
So what's my morning routine?
I'll put this out there, I'm not perfect. I can't say that this happens each and every single day. That would be optimal, and I'm striving in excellence to be routine with my morning routine! But here's the routine I try to go by:
5:00am - 5:15am: Wake up, review my Values Statement and visualize 3-6 Month Goals, drink 2 cups of water to get internal organs awake and refreshed
5:15am - 5:45am: Read my Bible, practice Thanksgiving and Gratitude, Prayer for the day ahead
5:45am - 6:00am: Dress and stretch for running
6:00am-7:00am: Run 3+miles, listen to a podcast on personal/organizational development
I'm working on adding an hour or two after this in the morning to focus on writing, but that's a work in progress. Generally morning routines are designed to be 1-2 hours for fundamental saw-sharpening activities. This is my start and I'm pretty happy with it!
How to start your morning routine
Pick 4-5 things that are really important to your personal development or things that you really want to make sure you get to each day. Is it reading the news, working out, is it a religious/faith practice? Maybe it's a healthy breakfast to start the day, stretches, or journaling.
Once you get these things listed out, set how much time you want to allot, again keeping it between 1-2 hours as your lifestyle allows. Add it all up, and work backwards from when your professional or personal life needs to start. This tells you when your day needs to start, and when the previous one should end.
I've put together a little more in-depth plan and worksheet based on what has worked for me in designing my morning routine. If you're interested in going into this in more depth, reach out to me! I'd love to compile feedback and see if we can't do something together in the future.
Do you already have a morning routine? Comment below with what works for you, or what you most struggle with when it comes to designing and sticking with one.