The Benefits of a Morning Routine
Have you noticed that it gets harder to make decisions toward the end of the day? You’re too tired to figure out what to have for dinner or even what to watch on TV. You started your day with good intentions for what you would get done after work. But then you just zone out on the couch when you get home. This can be a result of decision fatigue. Any time we are not operating out of our autopilot habit brain we are using up precious energy. Multiple decisions throughout the day exhausts us.
Knowing this can help you prioritize. You can cut out a lot of decision making by implementing habits and routines. A morning routine can make a big difference. That way you are able to put more things on autopilot and decrease the amount of decisions you have to make. Your brain loves to be efficient this way. It also frees brain space for morecreative and productive thinking. Routines are great tools that simplify our lives and cut out a lot of our daily stress.
Chances are you already have a morning routine. It just may not be one you have really thought about. Maybe you get up after hitting the snooze button a couple times. You make coffee, check email, scroll through social media, and fix some breakfast before heading into the shower. Let’s expand on that. What habits could you establish in the morning that might make your whole day easier?
How I Designed My Morning Routine
For me, having a great morning routine starts the night before. On an ideal day my lunch is already packed and my clothes for the next day are already chosen and ironed. The coffee maker is already set up to start automatically. If I am planning to work out in the morning I will set my workout clothes out ahead of time.
I have learned to get up right away when my alarm goes off in the morning. I used to be a night owl but now I get up early, even on the weekends. A helpful book for getting up the first time (and lots of other good stuff) is The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. On workday mornings I do a stretching routine, get showered and dressed, and pour some coffee to take into my home office. I spend some time reading my Bible and praying and then I write in my journal and make my food plan for the day. I record a quick Marco Polo video for my accountability group and usually by then it is time to head to work.
Implement some routines into your workday wherever possible. Meal planning helps you figure out what meals to fix and eat. A cleaning schedule makes sure you stay on track with your household chores without you having to spend any valuable decision making skills in the process.
The Morning Routine Starts the Night Before
A bedtime routine not only helps when you’re too tired to make smart choices, it also helps you fall asleep more easily. What works for your toddler works for you as well.
Start by doing a few chores that make the next morning easier. Making sure the kitchen is clean and the kids’ school things are in order are great examples. Come up with a few calming things that help you slow down and get ready for sleep. Read a book, listen to some music or wind down with a cup of herbal tea. I already mentioned some of the things I do in the evening to set my morning up for success. I also brush my teeth and wash my face after dinner. This is part of how I signal to myself that “the kitchen is closed,” to reduce the chance of evening snacking.
Your Turn to Take Action
Sit down with a pen and piece of paper and think about what parts of your day and week you can turn into routines. Write the down and create daily to-do lists for yourself until you’ve established these new habits and routines. Spending a little bit of time creating a morning routine and habits will make your day run a lot smoother. You might just find yourself less stressed and get more done during your productive hours. And that’s a beautiful thing. It allows you to save plenty of decision making for the fun stuff like figuring out what park to go to, what family movie to watch or what board game to play.