morning routine

Can’t Keep up? 15 Ways to Simplify Your Morning Routine

It can become pretty stressful, right?

Every morning we have to struggle to get ourselves ready, get everything done and be out the door on time. And not to mention what it’s like if you have kids as well who just want to play around :-)

How would you like to start you day stress-free, happy and empowered by a new day? Wouldn’t that just change not only the quality of your mornings, but also the quality of your life? I just think that many of us haven’t realized what the true benefits of a great morning can be.

There is a very powerful Chinese saying that goes something like this (freely translated by me…):

“Springtime is the most important part of the year because it makes it possible for a great harvest in the fall and plenty of food in the winter.

Morning is the most important part of the day because it makes it possible for great accomplishments in the day and relaxed sleep during the night.”

So if you’re spending the first hour of every new day rushing and stressing, then that’s pretty much how the rest of your day will look like as well. You see, you’ve set the tone for your way of life.

With this mind I would simply like to propose 15 small ways you can use to improve and simplify your morning routine. Here goes…

1. Prepare your breakfast

Having breakfast is for most people the biggest part of their morning routine, and it can be a real stress inducer. It usually takes quite some time to make it and with our head still half-asleep it can be a bit tricky to make the process smooth.

So all I do is to simply prepare myself for breakfast. For example, if you have different breakfasts during the week, then write a schedule so you know once you wake up. And if you’re going to set the table, use a mnemonic of the items you need or even place them out the evening before.

In short, do whatever you can to make the breakfast as automatic as possible.

2. Lay out your clothes

You know why – it just saves time and minimizes stress in your morning routine.

3. Use a bathroom schedule

In case you are several people and only one bathroom in the morning, then I really recommend having some sort of schedule in place. It might sound boring and old-school, but it really works to avoid a lot of stress induced waiting.

4. Set a to-go alarm

I always have a second alarm at 8.00 in the morning. That’s the time I want to be out the door. By every day noticing this exact time I can easily see how I’m doing versus my wanted position and adjust something when needed.

5. Write down your morning routine

It doesn’t hurt to take 10 minutes right now just to write down how your morning routine actually looks like. You might find out that it’s all very chaotic and random. So now you have the opportunity to design your very own way of starting each day.

How would it be?

6. Jump out of bed

In essence, snoozing is bad for your morning routine and I bet you know that already. The single most efficient way to remove this type of behavior is to practice, practice, practice.

And I mean practice while being awake.

You want to make the process of getting out of bed as automatic as possible so you won’t even have to think about how tired you are when the alarm goes off. So go to bed, right now, set the timer for 5 minutes and pretend that you’re sleeping. Then as soon as you hear the alarm, jump out of bed.

Then repeat. At least 5 times for the upcoming days. Just trust me, it will pay off.

7. Let the sunshine in

By opening the curtains and getting some light you will notice how much easier it is to really wake your body up and get energetic. And energy and well-being are both good remedies against stress.

8. Get pumped up and smile

But getting some sun might not be enough. Why not really get excited? For me at least, there’s no better way than changing my physiology.

By stretching myself tall, extending my back, breathing from the top of my lungs and putting on a big smile it’s virtually impossible to try to not be happy and excited. Try changing your state and see if you can still be tired and stressed.

9. Skip the TV

If you want to make your mornings as calm and comfortable as possible, then try leaving the TV turned off for once. Having the TV on in the background just steals both your focus and your time. Don’t worry, you will find out what the latest news is quite soon anyway.

10. Ignore your phone

Same goes for your phone as with your TV. Just postpone checking your emails and don’t let that new app steal your focus – it will just make your newly awakened mind cluttered.

11. Turn on the music

I am talking about some soothing and relaxing music that will get you all relaxed and down to earth. As you go about your things, follow the rhythm of the music and just let it flow through your body.

12. Have fun

No one can feel bad while having fun. I strongly urge you to make your morning routine a bit more fun and include some activity that you know gets you motivated.

If you get to spend some time doing what you really love, that can really make all your other must-dos feel much simpler. Your worries will just go away and you can build on the excitement from having fun. You know what hobby gets you going, so just see if you can include it in your morning routine.

13. Breathe

What’s the ultimate way to bring yourself back to reality? To breathe.

What’s the best way to calm yourself down? To breathe.

What’s the most powerful way to simplify your morning routine? To just take some time to focus on your breathing.

To accomplish all of this, I like to do a small exercise. It goes like this:

  1. Breathe in for 2 counts
  2. Hold your breath for 8 counts
  3. Breathe out for 4 counts

Then repeat that for 8-10 times. It’s simple, right? But if really does good for both your body and your mind.

In short, it helps to cleanse your body and it gets your mind focused and clutter-free.

14. Wake up early

To avoid putting any pressure on you, I have waited all the way until point number 14 before mentioning this. But we all know it’s one of the most efficient ways to improve a morning routine.

Nowadays, when I wake up at 4 a.m., I have all the time in the world to do what’s most important in my day before heading off to work. I can barely remember the time when I had to eat breakfast in a rush. It just makes everything so much simpler to have the time to focus on myself for a few hours before the normal hectic day begins.

15. Plan your day

If you manage to have a relaxed and simple morning routine, then why not bring that into the rest of your day as well? At least you can try. Just sit down for 5-10 minutes and write down what your main goal and most important tasks are for the upcoming day.

Just getting it down on paper will usually make it easier much easier to stay on target and avoid useless worrying.

 

These 15 ways to simplify your morning routine can actually do much more than that. If you try some of these methods and really take your morning seriously (serious as in important, not as in making it like work) you might find that you’re taking back a little bit control of your life.

Remember, you are the designer of your days and creator of your habits so I wish you all relaxed and joyful mornings!

This guest post is contributed by Matthew M. McEwan from Early-Riser.com. His blog is loaded with ideas for how to have an awesome morning routine. He also just started the brand new site 80Words.com – Where change happens fast and each article is only 80 words. You can also Follow him on Twitter.

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  • growthguided

    #10 and #13 are incredibly powerful. Most of the time people wake up in tension and anticipation fearful of who and what they need to connect with during the day. If you just take 10 minute meditate you will create space between your thoughts that allow for much stronger mindset to start your day!

    Thanks for the post

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      Yeah, it’s usually the simplest things which give most impact! I didn’t want to go as fair as traditional meditation in my list, but just taking the time to breathe is often enough :-) Btw, do you have any more strong insights or tips for meditating in the morning?

      • Ramchandra Kumble

        Meditation are of many types. Mind and heart mainly. The mind/brain aspect is for good health and concentration. Heart centred meditation if practiced under a good guru can take you to actual spiritual dimensions which will elevate the soul. And you need not renounce the world for attaining this. Let me know if you have any more questions.

        • Matthew M. McEwan

          That’s a really good summary actually, thanks. I have so far mainly been focusing on the concentration part for my mind as to achieve a higher level of awareness and calm.

  • http://mesandeep.wordpress.com/ Sandeep Khanal

    #6.Jump out of bed! This part has always been so tiresome and stressful for me! I don’t even know how to!!But,every time i try my best to get up early! Hope, I will keep trying and get succeed in it one day.
    It’s really helpful article and it was fun reading it. Thanks for the post!

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      I’m sure you will ! =)

      Try using what I call the “inverted snooze” where you put your alarm far away from bed and then when it rings you do everything you can to stay out of bed until the next snooze (9 minutes later).

      If you manage, you are most likely not so sleepy anymore. Have you tried any other methods?

      • http://mesandeep.wordpress.com/ Sandeep Khanal

        But, Alarm doesn’t work out for me! It’s sort of irritating and annoying for me! :)
        Yeah! I did tried my own one trick ! I tried postponing my works for the morning and I was compelled to do the work however! So, I had to wake up, there was no excuse for going to sleep again! That method did worked out for me sometimes but usually I had my assignments half- finished. =D

        • Matthew M. McEwan

          That’s a tough one :) But you should be aware of that if you manage to get up at the exact same time for, say, only 10 days in a row, then your body will most likely “learn” this. I always wake up 2 or 3 minutes before my alarm so I don’t really need it now.

          I bet you have experienced this before. But the tough part as you say is to get past the initial struggle!

          I would just say you should have something extremely motivating as first thing in the morning. Something that can get you running up =) Must be something you’re damn excited about.

          • http://mesandeep.wordpress.com/ Sandeep Khanal

            Thanks for the tip, Mathew. Yeah!You’re right! I put myself into bad things and it’s fun to beat those tasks. :)

  • Bianca Carranza

    Quick question, if you wake up at 4am, what time do you head to sleep at night and still get a good nights rest? Or does this vary with everyone?

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      Hey, good question :-) I go to bed at around 10.30-11.00 nowadays. I have found that it’s most important to make sure I get straight up at 4 am. No snoozing! Then I just go to bed when I become tired, which is almost always the same time in the evening. My body kind of knows…

      So for me 5+ hours is enough. But when I started waking up really early I went to bed at 9 for quite a long time. That kind of changed my social life a little bit =) but then I have tried to decrease my sleep amount as time has moved on.

      It definitely varies for people, but I think the best way is to set your wake up time and then be incredibly consistent – then everything else will follow.

  • Uday

    Hi Mathew, Thanks for the Blog, Though I have been following few of the things already on the list. I’d sure like to follow all that you have mentioned. Everything that is there in the list helps you to make your day start with a bang!!… Great blog..

    And I’d like to add just one point here If it’s ok with you. I find that reading affirmations early in the morning more than we actually think. It will set the day up.. :)

    • Matthew M. McEwan

      Hey Uday,
      Yeah, that is really good advice! I use it myself actually almost every morning :-)
      Which type of affirmations do you use? Any tips for us? :)

  • Saumya

    Thanks…!!

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    I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my
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