The Benefits of a Morning Routine
Does your current morning routine consist of hitting the snooze button four times and walking out the door five minutes later as you put on your shoes and eat a protein bar, all while checking email on your phone? From that point on, our entire day can feel like we’re always trying to rush and catch up, never really feeling on top of our game or very productive. We can do better!
Many of us are busy, have a lot of responsibilities and obligations, and often feel strapped for time. Having a great morning routine can make all the difference in being productive, achieving goals, feeling organized, and doing all of this with confidence.
It is well known that morning routines can be a deal breaker for people having great, productive days. Particularly in the professional fields of sales and leadership, the development of a solid morning routine can be a dealbreaker in terms of productivity and success. Although not all of us are in sales or a leadership position at work, we are all designed to be leaders of our own lives. This includes giving ourselves the best opportunity for feeling confident and productive each day.
Productivity coaches suggest that daily habits can be an indicator of increased productivity and achievement. Although coaches have varied ideas on the types of daily habits to include, most agree that how we begin our day has a tremendous impact on how the rest of the day seems to go.
Creating a morning routine is not focused on who can accomplish the most or check off more boxes than everyone else, it is about allowing yourself to begin your day with confidence, peace, and a positive attitude. Starting the day this way can allow us to effectively complete tasks and to handle things that come our way without constantly feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
According to researchers from Harvard Business School and Stanford University, workplace stress can be as damaging to our health as secondhand smoke.1
Feeling good, physically, can certainly influence how we feel emotionally. We usually don’t walk around having the flu with a smile on our face or being overly optimistic. Our emotional health can be impacted by how we feel we are managing our day.
When we are constantly in a rush and trying to make the next appointment, always running behind, or feeling lost in a sea of tasks, we can easily become overwhelmed, stressed, sad, and frustrated. Over time, if this were a continual pattern, it makes sense that we could possibly begin to feel hopeless as if we’ll never catch up! A sense of peace and confidence in our day can help us maintain positive emotional health and help us to become much more resilient during times of stress.
When we feel overwhelmed and stressed, our emotions can easily show up in our relationships with important people in our lives. How many times have you come home from a long, stressful day and taken your frustrations out on a loved one? This could be through venting, anger or even isolation from those we love.
As we start building a morning routine that allows us to feel more confident, productive, and resilient, we might find that our relationships feel closer, more connected, and positive as well.
The morning routine helps us set the tone for the day, better allowing us to control our schedules rather than our schedule controlling us. As we start each day fresh, we can better focus on what is in front of us, where to prioritize our time, and, ultimately, increase our productivity.
Productivity is not always about how much we are getting done but can also refer to the level of quality and intention we are giving to tasks. Finishing the day with 10 half-completed tasks feels a lot different than completing six tasks and feeling proud of the quality of your work. When we are constantly reacting to additional tasks, stressors, or needs of others, we can find it very difficult to effectively prioritize and follow-through.
Being confident means more than simply saying, “I like myself.” Authentic confidence is grown through experiences. Self-efficacy is a term that refers to our belief that we can achieve goals and complete tasks—a belief in our own abilities. Different from self-esteem, which is an overview of our feelings of self-worth, self-efficacy is more influential in helping us build confidence and resilience.
Walking through experiences in our day and actually observing ourselves completing tasks and feeling a sense of accomplishment helps to reinforce our sense of self-efficacy. Having a morning routine helps to set the stage for better prioritizing, more effective time-management, and greater productivity. All of this, in turn, is likely to have a positive impact on our self-efficacy.
Stress can cause us a lot of trouble, emotionally, physically, in our careers and in our relationships. Not feeling as if we can accomplish tasks, or feeling as if we are always behind, causes great stress. Our self-efficacy feels low, we can begin to experience negative self-talk and end up feeling distressed and overwhelmed.
A solid, consistent morning routine can offer us a time to practice intentional mindfulness and/or prayer, leading to feelings of greater peace as we go through our day. Feeling productive in our day can lead to a more peaceful evening and, in turn, a better night’s sleep and a refreshed morning the next day.
Give Yourself Time
Don’t hit snooze! It can be so hard, especially in the beginning, to not go back to old ways and hit that snooze button so you can lay in bed just a little longer. A good morning routine allows you enough time to actually enjoy—and benefit from—your routine!
The amount of time can vary from person to person but could range anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. There is sometimes the assumption that you have to wake up at 4 a.m. in order to have a good morning routine. Productivity professionals suggest that you listen to yourself and know what would be realistic for you to do and keep up with. Don’t worry about what others are doing.
By Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP