2020 has been a year where many of us have had to re-construct our daily routines. Suddenly, we all found ourselves working from home (and spending way more time at home in general). And while working from home opens up so many new possibilities for how we can structure our workdays, it also leaves a lot of opportunities for slacking off or getting lazier. It gets harder and harder to maintain any kind of morning routine.
I’m not an exception to this! My first reaction to being told to work from home full time was, “Awesome! Now I can sleep in, roll out of bed, and start my day immediately!” Even before lockdown began, I would pride myself on being at my desk at work within thirty minutes of waking up. I had no morning routine at all, and I felt it. I spent the first hour or two of my workday completely groggy and inefficient, and I even forbade myself from reading or sending emails because whatever I wrote ended up being an incoherent jumble of words semi-resembling English.
So, when lock down began, I took this new chapter of working from home as an opportunity to form a full morning routine to set myself for a productive day. And I can say that four months later, I am really proud of the result! I feel ready to go and energized from the moment I open my work laptop, and I feel so much more productive than I was in the past! Check out my tips for a solid morning routine that sets you up for a productive day below!
1. Wake up early (or at least at the same time you always have)!
It isn’t any secret that many successful (or at least very productive) people swear by starting your morning as early as possible. I find that it’s best to wake up with enough time to do more than splash some water on your face before starting work. I like my mornings to be slow and calm because I myself tend to move pretty slowly in the mornings. And the best way to allow for that is to wake up a bit earlier!
Waking up early allows for so many possibilities! You can start your work day earlier so that you can have plenty of free time in the afternoon or you can fill your morning with activities to put you in the best mindset to start the day with. I personally love to wake up early! The feeling of being awake before the world gets crazy and noisy is just so relaxing. If you don’t consider yourself to be a morning person, that’s okay! You can set your alarm earlier in small increments until you are comfortable waking up at your desired hour. Take it slow!
I find that keeping hydrated all day is so important for maintaining focus; especially while working from home! I like to start off by drinking a glass of cold water as soon as I wake up. I always wake up super thirsty, so not only does drinking water right away help resolve that but it also wakes my entire body up! Plus, keeping hydrated minimizes the number of times I am walking back and forth to my kitchen instead of focusing on work; I tend to snack so much while I work from home, and drinking more water helps me feel fuller longer.
Once I’m done with water, I move straight on to caffeine (the second most important form of hydration). There’s no shame in needing a little help waking up in the morning! And, honestly, my morning tea is what I look forward to the most when I wake up!
3. Take a minute (or a few) to breathe!
When working from home or taking classes from home, it can be very difficult to define your working life from your normal life. That’s why I make a habit of taking pauses throughout my day to just stop and breathe; starting from the moment I wake up!
Instead of flying out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off, I like to sit up and take a minute or two to focus on breathing prep myself mentally to get out of bed and start my day. You’d be surprised at how well this helps you transition from sleep to work!
The perfect way to feel energized from the moment you start working is to begin your day by moving your body! And I’m not saying that you need to go run a marathon as soon as you wake up! Even just ten minutes of yoga or a nice walk around your neighborhood can help you start your day off right and really wake you up!
Plus, creating an exercise routine is something that everyone should be doing, even if it isn’t in the morning! So if you’re feeling like you’re in a slump or needing a bit of an energy boost, find a fun activity to do to reinvigorate yourself!
5. Don’t skip hygiene!
Wash your face! Brush your teeth! Take a shower! It’s so important not to skip over hygiene in the morning! If I’m not feeling fresh, I’m not going to be performing optimally. Moreover, your hygiene routine is an essential piece of self-care in your morning that you should never feel the need to skip over!
My skincare routine–though it may seem excessive to some–is my way of pampering myself for five minutes in the morning and reminding myself that I am important!
6. Don’t eat breakfast while you are working!
To me, nothing sounds more relaxing than sitting outside, sipping on some tea and just soaking in the morning. So often, we find ourselves taking our meals in front of a screen–be it our cellphone screens or television screens or any other screens.
But the best gift you can give yourself is time to simply eat and do nothing else. Not only does this slow down the pace of your morning, offering a sense of peace and calmness, but it also helps prevent you from over-eating. So instead of bringing your breakfast over to your desk and shoveling food into your mouth as you read emails, carve out at least fifteen minutes of “me time” for breakfast!
Creating a solid morning routine is something that takes time but will really benefit you in the long-run. I remember reading in a magazine when I was younger that it takes 14 days to establish a routine, so don’t expect for all of this to stick right off the bat. Give yourself time, and soon you will love having a more structured morning that will set you up for a productive day!
What is your favorite part of your morning routine? Anything that you already do that I outlined above? I’m always looking for new things to add to my mornings, so let me know!