How To Create A Productive Morning Routine And Win The Day

The perfect morning routine. From thought leaders swearing by a 5 am wake-up call to influencers pushing a perfectly aesthetic regimen, society’s current obsession is the ever-so-elusive amindnd seemingly unattainable goal: Starting your day off right.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to morning routines, and what works for someone else may not work for you.

Creating a structured and productive morning routine isn’t as out of reach as it seems. The key is finding a routine that suits your needs and preferences, considering your body clock, energy levels, and goals for the day ahead. 

So, if mornings intimidate you or you feel like you’re just going through the motions from when you open your eyes to the moment to begin work, allow us to help you reclaim your mornings. In this article, we’ll guide you through designing a productive morning routine that works for you, setting you up for a productive and fulfilling day. 

What is a morning routine?

A morning routine is intentionally carved out time to help you start your day. It is a set of daily activities you do consistently that can involve exercise, grooming, breakfast, journaling, or meditating – just to name a few options. Not only does a good morning routine help improve your mood, increase your energy levels, and boost your productivity, but it can also get you excited for each new day and set you up for success.

What are the benefits of a morning routine

Establishing a morning routine has been shown to have numerous benefits, both for our physical and mental well-being. A consistent morning routine that involve getting outside in the sun can help to regulate our circadian rhythms, allowing us to feel more alert and energized throughout the day. It can also provide us with a sense of structure and purpose, helping us to feel more in control of our day and less overwhelmed by the tasks ahead.

What’s more, incorporating self-care practices into our morning routine, such as exercise, meditation, or journaling, can have a positive impact on our mental health and overall mood. So yes, there’s some truth to the cliché “the early bird catches the worm,” and whether you’re a morning person or not, incorporating a consistent morning routine into your day can have a transformative effect on your life. Below are some of the benefits to having a morning routine, even if it’s just five minutes long.

1. Improved mood

Starting your day with activities that you enjoy can help improve your mood and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Engaging in such activities, like exercise, listening to music, reading a book, or practicing a hobby, can stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers, releasing feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins.

This can create a positive feedback loop, where our brain associates these activities with happiness, making us more likely to repeat them in the future. So without even knowing, your improved mood is leading to the formation of healthy habits. That’s quite the bonus.

Working through a list of personal activities each morning can also provide a sense of accomplishment. When we start the day with activities that we find calm yet engaging, we are more likely to feel motivated and excited to tackle the tasks ahead. This can help create a sense of purpose, leading to greater overall satisfaction with our day and lives.

2. Increased energy levels 

Taking the time to center yourself in the mornings will help you increase and maintain energy levels throughout the day. Engaging in activities such as exercise or meditation is a boost to our mental and emotional well being. Meditation, on one hand, can help calm the mind and reduce stress levels, leading to a more focused and positive outlook. And oddly, even though physical activity exerts energy, it contributes to better energy levels if done consistently — it increases blood flow to the brain, providing essential nutrients and oxygen that help to reduce fatigue and increase alertness. By incorporating these activities into our morning routine, we can set ourselves up for easier access to the flow state.

3. Boosted productivity 

For busy professionals, the ultimate goal is to yield productive days. Establishing a consistent morning routine can be a powerful tool for developing discipline and focus, two key ingredients for success in both personal and professional life. By committing to a routine and following it every day, we create a sense of structure and predictability that can help to reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a wonderful workflow. As mentioned earlier, when we complete tasks early in the day, we start to build momentum towards our larger goals. This sense of achievement can be a powerful motivator, encouraging us to continue making progress throughout the day.

4. Reduced stress 

For most people, stress hormones such as cortisol are naturally at their highest in the morning. We know, it’s a tough card we’re dealt, but by taking time for yourself each morning, you’re giving yourself a chance to decompress before the day begins, counteracting the negative effects of stress. Then when you are met with challenging situations throughout the day, you’ll already be functioning at a higher energy level, so the difficulties won’t seem so daunting.

5. Improved focus and concentration 

Another benefit to having a morning routine is the increased focus and concentration you’ll experience throughout your day. This is an extremely valuable reward, especially for busy professionals or anyone dealing with a heavy/complicated workload. By starting the day with intentional and focused activities, we are more likely to maintain that mindset and carry it with us, which can help to minimize distractions and keep us on track with our tasks and goals. If you really want to see a return, try incorporating activities like journaling or meditating (more on these later) into your morning, as they help to improve your mindfulness, focus, and concentration.

6. Better sleep quality 

Following a consistent morning routine can help regulate your sleep patterns, leading to better sleep quality. Our bodies have an internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. When we go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, we help to keep our circadian rhythm in sync, which can lead to better quality sleep. Inconsistent sleep patterns, on the other hand, can disrupt our circadian rhythm and lead to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling rested. This can cause daytime fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

7. Increased self-confidence 

The way you start your morning establishes the mood for the entire day. Oversleeping and waking up late can lead to a frantic rush to get to work, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, disoriented, and ill-equipped for the challenges ahead. Conversely, waking up calmly and adhering to a morning routine can cultivate a sense of stability and mindfulness that permeates your entire day.

Creating a morning routine that is both consistent and meaningful can lay the foundation for a successful day. It is essential to include activities that nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. For instance, incorporating a brief exercise regime can help shake off the grogginess and boost energy levels, while setting aside time for a balanced breakfast ensures that your body receives the necessary nutrients to stay focused and productive. Additionally, engaging in mindfulness practices like meditation or journaling can instill a sense of calm and clarity, equipping you to tackle your day with a positive mindset.

How to create a productive morning routine

Creating a productive morning routine involves choosing activities that work best for you. While one person might benefit from a long morning walk, you may prefer curling up with your coffee and journal.

To each their own!

That’s the best part about a morning routine — it is a special moment in your day that is carved out just for you. With your chosen activities set in a schedule, you’ll begin wondering how you ever operated without a morning routine. 

But most of all, a morning routine involves actually waking up on time to fit these things in. Below is our step-by-step guide on how to efficiently create your custom morning routine:

Step 1: Prioritize your sleep schedule

The truth is, a morning routine begins the night before. Figure out what you need to do in order to have a restful night’s sleep. Our bodies respond best to a consistent sleep schedule, which means making sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time every day — if your schedule and job allow for this.

Set up your sleep conditions. Make sure your bedroom is dark enough, cool enough, and is free from distracting electronic devices. When it comes to waking up, get out of bed on the first alarm. We know, the snooze button is our kryptonite, too. But realistically, dozing in and out of sleep in the mornings is what makes us feel so groggy. Encourage your body to wake up with a large glass of water, a big stretch reaching for the sky, and a dose of sunlight (if possible). Oh, and make your bed! That is the best way to prevent yourself from crawling back in.

Step 2: Choose your activities

The next step in creating a morning routine is to choose the activities that will work best for you. Do you need to be active to get yourself ready for the day? Do you prefer quietness and stillness? A morning routine is all about selecting activities that you personally benefit from and enjoy. Below are some ideas of popular morning routine activities to get you going:

Exercise 

Physical activity can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood, plus, you’ll feel as awake as ever afterwards. If you’re introducing exercise into your daily routine, start off small (time-wise and intensity-wise) and build your way up.

A good idea is to begin with a stretching routine or a short walk, then carve your way into being a morning jogger or gym-goer. If you don’t want to include something too rigorous in your morning, stretching or walking can be the mainstay activity. The choice is yours.

Meditation

As mentioned above, waking up in the morning is a stressful feat! Cortisol levels are spiked, grunts are made, and thoughts about hitting snooze are had. Practicing mindfulness and meditation is a wonderful tool in battling these negative feelings, leading to reduced stress and enhanced focus. After all, meditation is about clearing your headspace and focusing on your breath.

If you’re new to meditation, there are lots of great guided meditations on Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Music, plus loads of Apps that walk you through it. Be open minded and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Journaling 

This one scares a lot of people away, so we’ll preface by stating: you don’t need to be a good writer to enjoy journaling. Give yourself permission to jot anything down on paper, judgment-free. Consider it a brain dump where the words you write don’t have to sound good, make sense, or be read by anyone.

Writing down our thoughts and feelings is a healthy way to improve self-awareness and boost emotional well-being. Expressively writing about harder topics has even been linked to a boost in mental and physical health. Think of it like this: you’re freeing the thoughts that are otherwise trapped inside your head.

Reading 

Calling all bookworms! If exercise doesn’t entice you to carve out time for a morning routine, then hopefully reading will. Reading in the morning is beneficial because it gently wakes up your brain and gets your mind stimulated from the jump. Whether it’s the daily paper, online articles, themed essays, or your favorite mystery novel, tackling a story or learning something new — by choice — is a great way to get you excited for the day ahead.

Eating a healthy breakfast 

Ideally, this one should be on everyone’s agenda, regardless of if you have a morning routine. Breakfast is so crucial to your brain’s health and alertness, and is important for giving you the energy needed to handle whatever the day throws at you. What’s more, a hearty, healthy one will hold you over until lunch, and will stop you from mindlessly snacking throughout the day.

Taking a shower or bath 

Starting your day with a refreshing shower or bath can help you feel revitalized and ready for the day ahead. If you want to take it a step further, try cold showers. They have a plethora of benefits, starting with waking up your body and increasing your alertness. While you’re in the cold, it’s a huge shock to your system which forces you to not only think about the current moment, but steady your breathing. And from taking deeper breaths, your body is ridding itself of unwanted CO2. But for busy professionals, the best takeaway from integrating cold showers into your morning routine is that you’re getting the hardest part of your day out of the way. This sets you up for a stronger focus and a better problem-solving mindset throughout your day.  

Getting dressed 

This one is a great idea for anyone working from home. You might be guilty of rolling out of bed and swapping from pjs to a hoodie, or maybe not even changing at all. But putting on clothes that make you feel confident and put together signals to the brain the switching of a “rest” activity to an “engaging” activity. It’s the best way to increase your alertness and motivation, and a great way to feel refreshed. Ultimately, it can set a positive tone for your day.

Planning your day 

Consider sitting down for a few minutes to visualize your day. Thinking about that very moment through to the time you go to bed, plan out how you want things to go and what sorts of responsibilities need to be fulfilled. This helps to relax the mind as you get through your day, as you know exactly what you need to do to stay on track to accomplishing your goals.

Setting intentions 

Similar to planning your day, taking the time to reflect on your goals and setting intentions for the day can help increase motivation and focus. A great starting point is asking yourself: “How do I want to feel as I move through my day?” Your answer is personal to you, and can range from “courageous” to “excited” to “grateful and grounded.” There are no limits when it comes to setting your intentions for the day, and it can be a different process each morning. 

Listening to affirmations 

Positive affirmations help improve self-esteem and confidence. Take some time to reflect, and find some that resonate with you. Perhaps it’s from a great podcast or a holistic book, or a motivational quote from someone you admire. The goal is to reinforce positive thoughts and challenge the negative things we say to ourselves (often without even noticing). Commit to reading, listening to, or reciting these affirmations every day. Pro tip: say them out loud in the mirror for the best results. It’s only weird at first, we promise!

Spending time with loved ones

Connecting with others can help improve your mood and build strong relationships. Oftentimes in our busy schedules, we rush through mornings and frantically dismiss any chance to connect with those we care about. Carve out even just five to ten minutes to call a relative or friend, drink coffee with your partner or household member, or cuddle your pet. It will instantly make you feel happier as you head into your day.

Doing something creative

Engaging in creative activities can help stimulate your mind and boost your mood. With whatever time you have available, set a timer and work on your creativity. Whether that’s mindfully coloring, sketching, or planning your home reno, it will surely give you that satisfying feeling of creative agency and accomplishment. Plus, it’s a great way to loosen up!

An act of kindness

Acts of kindness can help improve your mood and create a sense of fulfillment. While there isn’t tons of time in the morning to go volunteer somewhere (but hey, if you head out for an hour before work to help kids safely cross the road or volunteer at a food hall, shoutout to you), any little gesture that makes another person smile is a rewarding kickoff to the day. Examples of this include walking your neighbor’s dog or making breakfast and coffee for your household members. This morning habit also helps to challenge your point of view and shift your perspective for a moment.

Step 3: Set a schedule

Once you’ve chosen your activities, it’s time to set a schedule for your morning routine. This will help you stick to your activities and make the most of your time. Consider how much time you have available each morning, then evaluate how long it will take you to complete each activity. If you’re into time blocking, insert your first time block of the day as “morning routine.” Any executive assistants of yours will now know that this time is allocated for and will never schedule something else in its place.

Step 4: Stick to your routine

As a busy professional, you are most likely aware that your habits form the basis of your entire life and, ultimately, establish what you can do. So what we’re about to suggest won’t be too groundbreaking: The most important part of creating a morning routine is to stick to it (even on weekends!). Making your morning routine part of your weekly schedule is how you’ll see its benefits. 

Now, if you aren’t great at that, there’s absolutely no need to feel bad. You can decide to change that right now, and although sticking to a new routine is difficult at first, with consistency and the right mindset it will become a natural part of your life. Over time, you’ll start to feel optimally rested, aligned, and grounded on a regular basis. 

To help you stay on track, consider setting an alarm or using a habit-tracking app like Notion or Streaks. If you prefer analog-style, get a journal and track your morning habits manually. We highly recommend checking out James Clear’s Ultimate Habit Tracker Guide, and even consider reading his life-changing book Atomic Habits, to really shift your subconscious into favoring routines.  

Stick to a morning routine with habit tracking

Step 5: Adjust your routine as needed

As you get used to your morning routine, you may find that you need to adjust it. This is perfectly normal. Just make sure that you’re still doing the things that help you start your day off on the right foot. If you notice that one particular activity is not giving you as much of a jumpstart as you were expecting, swap it out for something else. Once you’re settled, continue to regularly evaluate your routine and make changes as necessary to ensure it remains effective and enjoyable. After all, our life circumstances are always changing, so it’s best to adapt accordingly.

Tips for creating a productive morning routine

Creating a morning routine that works for you is all about being realistic. What works and what doesn’t? Are you enjoying it and is it malleable enough to be sustained through any circumstance? There are many moving parts that can be challenging to first-timers. Once you’ve solidified a plan for your morning routine and started integrating it into your life, keep in mind these helpful tips. 

1. Make it realistic

Don’t try to do too much at once. Start with one or a few simple activities and gradually add more as you get more comfortable. Essentially, stack each habit at a pace that works for you. 

Also, be realistic about your circumstances. If you know that the area you live in has unruly traffic, driving to and from a gym before you start your work day might just make you more stressed out. In this case, consider working out at home or going for a jog instead. That’s just one example of how you can build your morning routine through a realist lens.

2. Make it enjoyable

Your morning routine should be something that you look forward to. If you’re not enjoying it, you’re less likely to stick with it, and that snooze option will just look too good. Scientifically — but simply put — when your brain experiences something joyful, it will look forward to the next time it can re-experience it. That’s pretty much how habits are formed; it’s largely subconscious. Choose activities that bring you joy and help you feel energized. After all, the whole goal with a morning routine is to improve your day and increase your productivity as a busy professional.

3. Make it flexible and give yourself grace

If you miss a day or can’t complete your entire regimen, don’t be too hard on yourself; just try to get back on track as soon as possible. Sometimes things come up and that’s okay! Be adaptable and adjust your routine as needed to accommodate unexpected events or changes in your schedule. There’s always an alternative. If you can’t travel to the gym one morning, do an at-home workout rather than no workout at all. If you wake up feeling under the weather and know that a big workout isn’t really a good idea, just do a light stretch in your bedroom. Remember that it’s a process and it’s okay to have setbacks. 

4. Prioritize self-care

Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining productivity and overall happiness. If your glass is empty, how can you expect to pour into your career and personal life? Make sure to include activities that prioritize your mental and physical well-being. Understanding this — and embodying it without guilt — will enable you to have a holistic morning routine experience.

5. Set boundaries 

To jump off of that point, a key form of self-care is setting boundaries. Boundaries are a set of personal rules or guidelines that establish your limits; it helps those in your life understand how you would like to be treated. They’re meant to protect your energy and help you feel respected. In this case, establish boundaries with work, family, and friends to protect your morning routine. Let them know that this time is dedicated to yourself and your well-being, and once you’ve gotten through the time you set aside for it, you can be fully present for them. 

Start your day on your own terms

As a busy professional, it’s always helpful to integrate systems into your daily schedule that boost your productivity. Aside from personalizing a morning routine, hiring a personalized executive assistant is a wonderful way to boost productivity right from the moment you open your eyes in the morning.

At Persona, we connect the world’s best remote executive assistants with the world’s best companies and professionals — essentially, we vet and hand pick the most ideal VA for you. So once you’ve finished your morning routine, certain daily responsibilities of yours will already be underway, thanks to the efficiency and independence of your VA. Easing into your days from here on out will be such a breeze.

By taking the time to prioritize our own needs and set intentions for the day ahead, we are more likely to feel focused, motivated, and productive. So give it a shot. You’ll begin to operate with a better mood, higher energy levels, and increased productivity. By following the tips in this article and creating a morning routine tailored to your needs and preferences, you can set yourself up for success each day. Remember that consistency is key and don’t forget to give yourself grace during the process. 

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