I haven’t always been a morning person. I definitely used to be one of those that struggled to get out of bed and get organised for the day. But it is something that I have been working really hard at getting better at, and I reckon I’m pretty good now, at getting my self “up and at ’em” in the mornings.
These are the 10 things I try and work into my morning routines (well week days, anyway) to get my day off to a flying start.
1. DO SOME PLANNING THE DAY BEFORE
My morning routine always starts the day before. Last thing before I knock off for the day, I make my list of to-do’s for the next day. First I schedule in any meetings, phone hook ups or appointments I have for the day, and then knowing how much time is already taken up with these items, I can now list other tasks that I hope to acheive for the day. By having my appointments and to do list mostly planned out the day before I know I can hit the ground running in the morning.
2. EVENING PREPARATIONS
I have three kids, so I need to make sure I have the kids morning routines sorted as well as my own. Hopefully I have written any school activities of importance on our family planner, which I check each night, and prepare for if needed. I also get all the lunch boxes out ready, and have a quick discussion with them regarding sandwich fillings. The last thing I want to be doing in the morning is arguing about what to give them for lunch.
I also lay out my clothes and shoes for the next day. Whether I’m getting up early to exercise, or heading into town for a meeting, I want to make sure all my gear is ready to go the night before.
3. GO TO BED AND GET UP AT A SET TIME EACH DAY
Each week night I try and be in bed, lights out by 10:30pm. Usually I manage it, we have crappy tv so there’s not much to tempt me there. Quite often I actually go to bed earlier and read a novel for an hour or so, which really helps me wind down, and get ready for sleep. In fact often the book is dropping on my forehead, way before 10:30!!
Getting up at a set time each day, is a great way to train your body clock. Your body gets used to waking up at a set time, and before you know it, you are awake before your alarm goes off! For me its 6am. I have been getting up at 6 0’clock for a few years now (week days anyway) and I pretty much don’t even need to set an alarm. I wake up naturally, which makes it much easier for me to get up – my body is ready for it.
4. GET UP BEFORE THE REST OF THE HOUSEHOLD
I love getting up before Cam and the kids – they tend to get up between 6:30 and 7am, so I often have nearly an hour of uninterrupted time. I vary how I spend this time. Usually I will do some form of exercise – either go for a run or a walk – usually about half and hour. Often the house is still quiet when I get back so I’ll run around like a mad thing, putting on a load of washing, or hanging out a load I put on the night before, getting a bit of general housework done. Other mornings I will sit and enjoy my coffee and breakfast in peace, maybe flick through a magazine at the same time. How ever I spend this time, I feel better for it!
5. NATURAL LIGHT
I like to keep my curtains in the bedroom open slightly so that in the morning, as it starts getting light outside, my room also starts lighting up. Science has shown that the body wakes much easier when it is in rhythm with the level of daylight. Now, in the middle of winter, this is impossible, as it is often 7 or 7:30 before the sun starts rising above the horizon, but you could try putting a timer on your bedside lamp, so that it comes on 5 or 10 minutes prior to when you want to wake up. You can even buy alarm clocks now that will emit a glow just prior to wake up time.
As I mentioned above, I love to exercise first thing in the morning. Besides knowing that it is done and out of the way for the day, there are a lot of benefits to early morning exercise. Firstly it kickstarts your metabolism for the day – but many researchers have shown that it also kickstarts your mental focus. Not only will you feel awake and have more energy after your workout, but your mind will be ready to take on whatever tasks you have lined up that day. If exercise isn’t your thing – try having a really good stretch session!
8. HAVE A LARGE GLASS OF WATER
When you wake up after a long sleep, your body is naturally dehydrated. No matter how much water you drank the day before, you have used up your stores and it’s time to refill the tank. Also, the brain is 75% water – so without water your brain is not going to function at its optimal level. A morning glass of water will leave you feeling sharp and clear throughout the day.
7. HAVE A GOOD BREAKFAST
I don’t need to tell you the importance of a good breakfast – we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Not only does it break your overnight fast, it refuels your glycogen (energy) stores, kick starts the metabolism, and provides you with the energy to keep you going throughout the day. My personal favourite is smoked salmon and avocado on homemade sour dough toast – Yummo! And of course its always teamed up with a coffee!
8. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Having your favourite tunes playing in the background is a sure-fire way to give you motivation to start the day – no TV though, TV is the quickest way to distract you from what you need to be doing!
9. DRESS UP
Working from home can be a real trap to stay in the PJs all day, or just wear some comfy – but daggy – trackies. Sure it can be nice to not have to “suit up”, but I feel much more “work” focused if I am at least dressed in a way that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone came to the door. For me its nothing too formal, but a nice pair of jeans and respectable top (and mascara – always mascara!) puts me in the right frame of mind to face the office.
10. DON’T CHECK PHONE OR EMAILS IN THE FIRST HOUR
This one is possibly a bit controversial – but crucial for me! If I checked into my social media – or worse, my emails, before I had done everything else listed above, then there is a very good chance they wouldn’t get done.
Well this is my mornings in a nutshell! They don’t always run according to plan, but by trying to do these 10 steps, I’m well on the way to starting my day in the office on the right foot! I’m sure there are more great ideas out there – feel free to send more tips my way, I’d love to hear what works for you!