How to Architect the Ultimate Morning Routine

If you’re looking for a way to be more productive during the day, start with your morning routine. By rearranging the early hours of your day and optimizing them for efficiency, you’ll consistently get more done.

Mornings Matter More Than You Think

Most of us start our day in a rush. We bolt out of bed, run through a series of relatively unimportant tasks, hurry to the office, and then settle into our workdays. As a result, we tend to feel chaotic and disheveled. 

“Often our mornings set the entire tone for the rest of our day,” psychologist Steven Handel writes. “If you have a bad morning, you’ll likely feel more stressed and anxious throughout the day; and if you have a good morning, you’ll likely feel more happy and energized throughout the day.”

Truth be told, mornings matter more than we realize. A good morning can set you on a positive trajectory. It can give you the energy you need to be creative, as well as the motivation you need to push through friction. It can also give you a sense of control in the midst of chaos. 

When you add these benefits together, it’s clear: We need to take our mornings more seriously. The question is, how?

Tips for the Ultimate Morning Routine

As you think about building your morning routine, here are several suggestions that might help:

1. Plan Ahead

The best morning routines start the night before. We recommend doing everything you can the night before to eliminate friction. This might include picking your outfit, packing your lunch, and putting your briefcase by the door. Simple things like this only take a few minutes, but can save you a ton of mental processing power in the morning. (It also makes it easier to get up when you know there’s less for you to do.)

2. Standardize Your Alarms

If you’ve ever created a morning routine that quickly collapsed like a house of cards, it’s likely that you lacked consistency. In fact, consistency is the heartbeat of any successful routine…period. 

In terms of developing a consistent morning routine, it’s all about going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. By having consistent bedtimes and wake times, you train your body’s circadian rhythm to adapt to your preferred schedule. This eventually makes it easy to go to sleep and wake up. No more fighting with the alarm clock!

3. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is something we often think about in terms of weekends or vacations. However, you can (and should) practice self-care on a regular basis. This includes as part of your morning routine.

Your bathroom is where the best self-care happens. (If you don’t love yours, low interest rates make this the perfect time to remodel your bathroom.) Give yourself time for a hot shower/bath. Listen to some relaxing music. And be leisurely with washing your face, brushing your teeth, shaving, etc. You deserve this!

4. Eat a Clean Breakfast

You might love waffles with syrup, greasy biscuits, or fat breakfast burritos with onions and jalapenos. However, your breakfast choices might actually weigh you down (physically and mentally).

Breakfast is important, but it needs to be clean. In other words, cut out processed foods and greasy ingredients. Instead, stick with fruits, eggs, nuts, and tea. This will give you fuel without dragging you down.

5. Avoid Distractions

Nothing kills your morning mood or productivity quite like distractions. That’s why experts recommend avoiding electronics during your morning routine. This means no checking emails, watching the news, or scrolling through social media. That can wait until you get into the office. For now, focus on being present.

There is no one-size-fits-all morning routine. We all have unique needs, strengths, desires, and circumstances. The key is to intentionally develop a routine that works for you right now. (It might look different in six months, but you want something that fits your life at this very moment.) Once you find that routine, stick with it. It’ll take some time, but within a week or two, it’ll feel normal.