Routines. Routines help us structure a well-balanced and productive day. Give us a sense of purpose. And give us a sense of control. Especially in times of instability.
Lots of folks have studied the benefits of having routines. I'm going to share a little bit about my morning routine today.
Jay Shetty in his book, Think Like a Monk, talks about some things not to do first thing in the morning. Most important among those is–Don't reach for your phone. Don't pick up the phone and check social media, check your emails, check your messages. He likens this to just inviting 200 people into your bedroom to help you wake up before you've even processed what this day is going to be.
Hal Elrod in his 2012 book, Miracle Morning, talks about secrets to success in his 6 steps of habits you should do before 8 AM to have a successful day. And folks have studied the health benefits of morning routines on your long-term health.
This is a little about my morning routine that I do each morning, depending on how much time I have. The first thing I do is starting off by waking up when I plan to wake up. Set the alarm the night before, I have a recurring alarm, one for the weekdays and one for the weekend. On weekdays I wake up at 5:15 AM. And the first thing I do is wake up. It sounds simple enough. But, waking up when you plan to wake up. Not hitting that snooze button gives you an early win that starts the day off right.
Secondly, I make my bed. If there are no kids in it. My kids are aged 5 to 11 right now and usually one or two of them are in bed by the time I wake up. But, if I can, the next thing I do is make my bed. Getting up when I say I'm going to get up, making my bed, starts to accumulate small incremental wins that help propel me to a productive day.
Next, I start off with fluids. I like to start off with a Joe's cup. If you know what that is, you're from Oklahoma or you've been here. About 24 oz or so of lemon water. And a cup of black coffee. I prefer a dark roast coffee; that's just preference. But lemon water and black coffee to kick things off.
Then I move over to my quiet time. Again, I've not touched my phone yet. I tried my best not to bring my phone with me at this stage. I leave it charging where it has been. My quiet time; this is my time to both have a devotional spiritual time and a journaling time. To get my mind untangled as I start the day. So, I endeavor to read one chapter in the old testament and one chapter of the new testament each day. And I follow that up by a devotional morning reading through some ministry writings.
And then I take some time to journal. And I do this in a couple of different ways depending on the day. My favorite right now is a doodle journal. This is after just taking some time to clear your mind. You just freely doodle. Just take 5, 7, 10 minutes. Have no structure in mind; have no plan in mind. Just take a pen or pencil and just freely doodle. So that's one way to just kind of release what's in your mind in an abstract way, and that's something I've been liking recently.
Another method is to have a brain dump. Just put everything you're thinking about, concerned about, worried about, planning on, deadlines, all of that on a page. Then you can use things like a bullet journal or other things to organize those thoughts into a plan for later.
Lastly is a more purpose-driven journal. This is where I take my personal statement and just kind of touch base. How am I doing on each of the points in my purpose statement? Reflect on the past couple of days. Reflect on the time since I last journaled. Add those thoughts and considerations and also set new goals and new intentions related to that purpose.
So those are the key elements to how I start my mornings.
If I've got time, then my next steps are always a form of meditation, yoga, exercise, or all of the above. I just recently wrapped up a half marathon last weekend and while I'm not sure I'll go with that journey, I do enjoy running. So if I'm able to fit in a meditation time, yoga time, then I'll add on a run and then officially kick off my day.
So, I hope this inspires you. I hope this helps you as you structure your day, structure your mornings. Maybe you have one or two takeaways that you can implement.
And, I'll just add-in, you've got time to do this. It seems like the mornings are rushed. But that's just because that's how much time we leave ourselves. If you stretch yourself just a little bit at a time. Take 15 more minutes tomorrow, take 30 more minutes next week, take an hour 2 weeks from now.
You can fit in a whole world of organization and motivation to help you kick off your day.