Imagine waking up, feeling refreshed and thinking you beat your alarm. But that’s not the case. You actually overslept and only have 30 minutes to shower, eat breakfast and get out the door before you’re late to work. If you’re like me, you’ve fallen victim to the snooze button and in turn it can completely throw off your morning routine. As someone who identifies with being “Type A”, I LOVE organization and routines. So, if there is a day when my alarm doesn’t go off (it’s bound to happen from time to time), I still do my best to complete as much of my morning routine as possible to help set positive intention for the day ahead.
Studies have shown that making your bed each morning can lead to productivity, gives a sense of accomplishment and can reduce stress. These are a few of the reasons why making my bed is the first thing I do after crawling out of it. I then go to the gym, drive home to shower, make breakfast and great ready for work, all in that order and before 7:45 a.m. While my morning routine is fine-tuned now, it took time to develop these habits. Here are five steps I have found helpful to creating productive morning and evening routines:
Make a written list of daily priorities
By starting and ending each day with an intentional routine, I’m able to successfully complete daily goals and keep stress levels low. Each Sunday, I sit down and think about what I want to accomplish each day of the week ahead. Aside from differing evening activities, my Monday through Friday schedule is pretty consistent week to week. However, my weekend plans tend to change, so I also sit down on Thursday mornings and write out all the things I want to accomplish from Friday night to Sunday evening. This helps keep me organized and ensures that I make the most of my time during the week and on weekends.
What should your morning and evening look like?
Take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I a morning person or a night owl?” Depending on your answer, you can determine when you will be most productive and benefit the most from certain tasks. As a morning person, I have found that by waking up early to do certain things, like working out, I have more energy during the day and my evenings are less busy, allowing more time to complete other daily tasks and responsibilities. With only 24 hours in a day, it’s important to identify when you will be most productive so you can complete each task on your list.
Schedule daily activities
I LOVE lists. In fact, I will sometimes write out the same list several times. While this might sound a little crazy, I always know where I’m supposed to be and what goals I’m aiming to accomplish that day. To make sure I stay on track, I write out everything I want to do each day and the time at which I complete each task. This includes when I will go to the gym and eat breakfast. If it’s written at a scheduled time in my planner then it is more likely to happen!
Give the routine a try
Now that you’ve scheduled out each of your daily tasks, give your new routine a try! Ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. You may find that switching up the times you complete some of your tasks could lead to more productivity.
While structure is good, be flexible
There are only so many hours in a day and sometimes things out of our control may derail our routines. If this happens, don’t let it ruin your day. Learn to be flexible (this is something I’m constantly working on). Habits also take time to develop. While you may have heard that you can create a habit in 21 days, studies show that is actually takes closer to 66. However, this varies based on the person because some people are more habit-resistant than others, so be patient with yourself.
If you’ve been wanting to start a morning or evening routine now is the time to give it a try! Use these tools to see what works for you and what doesn’t. If you find yourself struggling to stick with the routine, don’t give up. Remember, habits take time to develop and by slowly implementing these steps into your daily life you’ll find yourself sticking to new routines in no time.