Some of us would say we’re not morning people. The alarm goes off and we struggle to get out of bed and get motivated for the day ahead. Others would say there were night owls, coming more alive later on in the day and being able to party into the small hours. I think I’m something in between.
I force myself out of bed when the alarm goes off at 6am. Once I’m showered and have drunk my coffee I want to get on with things. Equally, I’d be happy if the alarm didn’t go off and I got another hour or two’s rest. I do tend to struggle more in the evenings and often end up asleep on the sofa by 9pm, waking up in time to go to bed. Predominantly that’s because I’m bored. If I have zoom meetings, or I’m out #bellringing, or with friends and family, I can stay awake and on the go. It’s almost as soon as I stop and sit down for half an hour, I’ll zonk out.
It is down to programming though. The more we do something, the more it becomes habit. I know that if I stayed in bed longer, I’d want to do it every day. I also know that I can keep myself awake of an evening if I’ve got something to do.
The Live Life Connected programme that I’m participating in has released the latest module and its all about making the most of our mornings. Taking a few minutes, or an hour, to ourselves, to give us a chance to exercise, meditate, read, journal or do whatever we need or want to do, that we always put off because we say we’re too busy and don’t have time.
The first thing we are asked to consider is what our perfect morning would look like. Think about it as your specific time before anyone or anything else gets hold of you. Make a list of those things that you’d like to do just for you.
The next step is to put a time against each item on your list. No need to be too specific about it, but just put an estimate of how much time each item on the list would take. It could be setting aside ten minutes to meditate, time to exercise, time for planning your day out.
The final step is to add up the time you’ve allocated to each of the things on your list. This is the amount of time you need to reclaim from each day. Don’t panic if it comes out as a big number. There are ways around it.
In order to bend time we can do a number of things to cover off all those items on your list. Option one is simply to get up earlier to fit in that time before the rest of your day starts. Option two would be figure out how much time you actually have, and make your perfect morning fit. Option three is to refine your morning routine to fit into your morning. Do you need to spend so long on a particular task or could it be done in less time?
To help you wake up on time, every time, we need to reprogramme our primitive brain and plan ahead the night before. The wake-up plan can support this in three steps. Your emotional and physical state is very different in that moment of waking up. Set your intentions before you go to bed. One good thing to do as soon as you’re awake is to move your body to regain control of your morning. As soon as you awake engage your presleep plan. When you wake up count down from five as you pull back the coves, sit up, move your legs over the side of the bed, sit up, then stand. Step two is to brush your teeth. When you do this, it signals to your brain to be alert and on it.
In order to wake up, you need to consider what time you need to go to sleep to make sure you get the right amount of rest each day. If you want to get up earlier, you need to go to bed earlier. Simples. Rethink some of those evening rituals and consider whether some of them could be done in the morning instead. You could start in incremental shifts, going to bed ten minutes earlier in order to get up ten minutes earlier the next day, gradually increasing it until the time you need to do everything on your perfect morning list. Or you could go for the short, sharp, shock treatment and move that alarm and go for it.
SAVERS is the six minute tool to help you master your mornings for success:
S – silence. Sitting quietly, being prayerful if that’s your thing, or meditating.
A – affirmation. Sayings that enthuse you, or get you thinking for the day ahead, that focus you.
V – visualisation. Imagine moving through your day as you embody your values and goals. Live that experience in your mind.
E – exercise. Move and wake up your body, get outside if you can.
R – reading. Read inspirational quotes or text to set you up for the day.
S – scribbling. Journaling, writing down your thoughts and plans. No need to spend ages on reflecting. Write three things you’re grateful for.
The theory being that you could do all those things in six minutes, and when you start to do them, you’ll start to feel better. Then you’ll want to spend more time doing them as you start to see and feel the benefits of them, and before you know it you’ve built it up to sixty minutes.
My morning routine currently consists of getting out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, showering, drinking my coffee whilst playing a couple of brain training games on my tablet. I often find being able to solve puzzles in games first thing sets me up to be able to solve things better during the course of the day. If I don’t do so well at the puzzles, I notice I don’t do so well at being able to make decisions, or solve problems. Once my coffee is done, time to brush teeth and get out of the door to the office. I start work at 7.30am which is great as it gives me quiet time before everyone else starts to arrive and the interruptions begin. I often get more done in that first hour and a half than the rest of the day.
I don’t think my morning routine is too bad really. I would like to have more time to read, and I recently saw something suggesting we should aim to read at least 50 pages a day. I managed it once! It’s more difficult to read at the end of the day as my eyes are more tired from staring at a screen all day and, usually C had turned the tv on which means I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading. I prefer to read in silence. I ought to do better at exercising. When I lived in Ipswich and worked in Chelmsford so had an hours commute in the morning, I did used to get up at 5am to do a half hour Jane Fonda workout, so I know it can be done. These days I’m neither motivated to get up that early, nor feel comfortable doing it any longer.
I wish my end of day routine made better use of time.
One thought on “Managing your morning routine”
I’m lucky in that because I don’t work I can take my time in the morning. I am someone that doesn’t really want to engage with the world until I’ve had coffee but am up early and go to bed early. I like that savers 6 minute idea though 👍