6 things You Should add to your Morning Routine Checklist to increase Productivity and Positivity
As I continue my creative journey, I’ve been digging a little deeper into the method behind optimal productivity. Working for yourself, by yourself, and from the comfort of your own home, while extremely rewarding, presents it’s challenges. You have no boss to answer to, no deadlines, and no one to bounce ideas off of. You must create your own structure, and be the cheerleader behind your work.
The morning is such a vulnerable time for your brain and wellbeing. You have just finished recharging in a deep sleep, and the brain neurons and nervous system are still waking up. It’s so important to protect that state you’re in, and ease into your day. What I’ve found in my research is that if you can focus your energy on setting up your morning the right way, you will see results in productivity and positivity.
Read below to find out the 6 things you should be implementing into your morning routine! I also created a free morning routine checklist for you to download at the bottom that will help you implement the following habits into your day!
1) Make your Bed
I’ll admit, even I raised an eyebrow at this one. Make your bed? That’s it? However, as I dived deeper into the psychology behind it, it made perfect sense. This principle comes from the Navy. All Seals must make their bed first thing in the morning before doing anything else.
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.” – Naval Adm. William H. McRaven
This was taken from an incredible commencement speech that I recommend watching for a little pick me up. Watch the full video here.
The best part of this exercise? Think about how great it feels to climb into a well made bed at the end of a long (productive!!) work day. Ain’t that better than jumping into a heap of lumpy sheets and blankets?!
2) No phone for the first hour
No phone?! Acca-scuse me?! Hear me out. If you aren’t already aware, checking your phone when you first wake up causes alllll kinds of problems for your mental well-being. Instead of trying to convince you myself, here are three highly successful people’s opinions on the whole no phone when you wake up thing:
Tristan Harris, Google’s former design ethicist, says :
- “Technology is hijacking your mind. When we wake up in the morning and turn our phone over to see a list of notifications “it frames the experience of ‘waking up in the morning’ around a menu of ‘all the things I’ve missed since yesterday.’”
Srinivas Rao of Medium writes:
- “When we turn our devices on first thing in the morning, we get bombarded with inputs. It’s like drinking from a firehose of information that keeps shifting our attention from one stimulus to another, each providing a hit of dopamine, that keeps us craving more.
- It’s the digital equivalent of snorting a few lines of cocaine when you wake up. But unlike cocaine, there’s no stigma to this behaviour and so we don’t think it’s that big a deal.”
Momentum author Michael McQueen writes:
- “A lot of people operate on autopilot, so they jump straight on the phone. … But this means they instantly start spending the day reacting, and they’re not in the driver’s seat. Straight away the day has been directed by someone else.”
I’ve started to put my phone on airplane mode when I go to bed so that I can still use the alarm, but I make a point of not using it for anything else for at least an hour after I wake.
Bonus points are also awarded to anyone that can put the phone away an hour before bedtime as well.
3) Free-hand Journal Writing
I’ve always used a journal to spill my thoughts onto paper, but the hobby was always very sporadic. Now, I journal each and every morning. I make my coffee, and sit down and write whatever comes to mind. It usually involves where I want my day to go, the internal struggles I’ve been having, what I still want to accomplish, and honouring the things that I am grateful for.
I don’t put a time limit or a word limit on the process, and I try not to think too much. I just write until I’m done. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’s 15, sometimes it’s 50.
4) Read Something Simple and Inspiring
Starting your day by reading the news usually brings a negative feeling into your consciousness. With news outlets capitalizing on shock value, there are always disturbing and heartbreaking headlines at the forefront. These articles are hard for the brain to process at such a vulnerable time.
Instead, read things that inspire you. As a writer, some books I’ve drawn from in the morning are “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”, “You Are a Circle: A Visual Meditation for the Creative Mind” or poems from “Leave her Wild” by Atticus. These creative works get my brain going in a positive and creative direction. Find a few books or websites that inspire you, and have them handy for your morning routine checklist.
5) Outline Goals & Set an Intention for the Day
Start by asking yourself, “What are 3 things I want to get done today?” Try to make them as specific as possible. Then, set an intention for the day, similar to a yoga practice. It can be as simple as, “Today my intention is to be grateful for the place I’m at in my life, and to not focus on where I’m falling short” or “Today my intention is to reduce my screen time and channel my creative energy”.
If you are struggling to set your intentions, just think about how you want to feel throughout the day. Happy? Fulfilled? Loved? Content? Curious?
6) Eat Something Nourishing & Energizing
I’ll admit, I used to be the person that wakes up and just has a piece of toast with some almond butter and jam and then off to work I go. After awhile of feeling super drained by mid-afternoon, I went to my naturopath.
She stressed the importance of eating a really nourishing meal in the morning. Something with substance that will fuel you for the day. This involves protein and brainpower foods.
Try a smoothie with protein powder, leafy greens and berries, or eggs if they are in your diet. I’ve also been loving eating steel cut oats with tons of added ingredients like goji berries, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seed, maca powder, protein powder, and a bit of organic real maple syrup. It stays will me so much longer than a piece of toast ever did, and it’s more satisfying.
I hope this helps you set yourself up for success each day. I can’t tell you how beneficial this has been to my creative practice, productivity and overall positivity throughout the day. Try it for a week and see how it goes! I’ve created a super handy checklist for you to help ease these habits into your daily routine! Fill in your e-mail below to access my Free Morning Routine Checklist!