Start Your Day With A Better Routine
It can sometimes be thought of as a dirty word, but there's nothing wrong with a morning routine. Having a set schedule in the morning can reduce stress, improve your mood, and even make the rest of your day more productive.
There's plenty of famous people with unique or odd routines; from waking up at 2:30 am to workout to downing a few raw eggs for breakfast, you don't have to adopt the oddball things you hear about. Instead, incorporate a mix of productive things with things you enjoy doing to make the first few hours your day work for you.
Things You Have To Do. Part of what makes the morning hectic is all the things that need to be taken care of to get yourself and your family out the door. Making breakfast, walking the dog, showering...all these things take time. While it might not always go as planned, try to give these things a set order in which you take them on, and think of the most productive sequence. For instance, take the dog for a walk before you wake up the rest of the household, so that you're available for whatever comes next.
Make breakfast a fifteen minute period, max; if you're spending more time than that to prepare your food, consider opting for something you made the night before, or something quick like instant oatmeal, toast, or cereal. This will free up more time before you head out the door. Consider prepping overnight oats for something you can grab and go, too!
Do your dishes now. Rinse out or take care of your dishes and leave time to do it. Don't let them stack up in the sink, just meaning you'll spend even more time on them later in the day.
There's also value in dividing and conquering. Each day of the work week, pick one area of your life to take care of and spend ten minutes on it. It might be cleaning the kitchen, the living room, or garage. It might be making a point of calling your family, writing a letter or email to a friend you haven't talked to in a while, or even looking at your finances. You can schedule these to be the same every week, or plan out your focuses on Sunday night, depending on what's new or what you're interested in.
Things You Want To Do. You should dedicate at least fifteen minutes to something you enjoy in the morning. That could be reading the news, listening to music, watching highlights from the game, or catching up on a blog you enjoy. These fifteen minutes should brighten your day, inspire you, and get you motivated to get out into the world and make it a better place.
Whatever your passion is, pursue it. Even if you have more time to spend on it throughout the day, setting aside a short window in the morning helps you stay motivated and dedicated. If you're an athlete, read up on a recent or up-coming race, read articles about training, or take the time to stretch or work on a cross-training hobby. Watch highlights, blogs, or listen to a podcast that make you excited about your next run or bike ride.
Routines reduce stress by taking the guesswork and rush of your morning. It also helps avoid decision fatigue; you make countless decisions every single day, ranging from what to eat and what to wear on up to whether or not to quit your job. By reducing the number of small decisions you make, like what you're going to do next, you'll find yourself having more energy, more positivism, and more productivity not just when you leave your house, but all day long.
Learn more about some daily routines that work for others, and incorporate what you like into your day right here. We love Benjamin Franklin's daily 'air bath'!