One of the things I encourage my clients do is to set up a great morning routine. Having a routine can have a profound impact on your mindset and has the power to set you up for a productive and fulfilling day. A morning routine is a simple ritual – an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set manner. Michael Hyatt addresses the role of rituals in his book Free to Focus. He explains three key benefits rituals offer:
- Rituals liberate creativity. “You focus your creative energy on something once, put a system in place to apply that solution every time, and then you are free to focus your creativity on other things.”
- Rituals speed up your work. “Once you define a ritual, you know exactly what comes next at every step. It’s automatic.”
- Rituals correct your mistakes. “They allow you to anticipate different points of possible failure and build in safety nets for each step in the process.”
The first point resonates the strongest for me. As much as we’d prefer otherwise, energy is a limited resource. You only have so much mental energy each day. A morning routine frees up creative space and allows your mind to wander. A clear mind often produces ideas that enable you to be more productive than you could be while you’re in problem-solving mode or multitasking the items on your to-do list. Has a great solution come to mind in the shower or on a walk? These activities are often integrated into a routine. Because it becomes muscle memory to carry them out, your mind has the freedom to imagine. Why is it that children are so imaginative and can make up fanciful stories? They are not bound by lists and commitments – their minds are free to explore possibilities.
A morning routine doesn’t have to be long. It can be 2-3 things, or it can be 8 things. Individualize it according to your needs, environment and stage of life. Make it enjoyable and doable. Here are some simple ideas for developing a personalized routine.
Get up. Get out of bed when your alarm rings the first time. Don’t hit snooze.
Move. Get your blood flowing with morning stretches, yoga or a workout.
Be still. Spend some time in silence, read a daily devotional, meditate or simply have uninterrupted quiet time to focus on the day ahead.
Eat. A great day starts with a great meal.
Be consistent. It may be challenging at the beginning, but habits are formed over time. It will become easier if you stick with it.
Grace. Give yourself grace when it doesn’t happen and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
I’d love to hear how you developed your morning routine, how it frees your mental energy and sets the tone for your day.