Career Series: Morning Routine
A morning routine can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day. I try to begin every day with the same routine in order to create a sense of calm and productivity which will last for the whole day.
If you are like me and find that organisation and structure work for you, here are my top tips for starting your day well and in order to build the foundations for a positive and meaningful day.
1. First thing phone ban
This is so important and could be the difference between an OK morning and a great morning. When you first wake up, do NOT roll over, grab your phone and start looking at your social media or emails. Unless you’re currently in the middle of closing a huge deal with someone on a completely different timezone, the likelihood is your world will not end if you don’t check your emails the second you wake up. Force yourself to wake up and get up. Don’t lay around for 20 minutes scrolling through endless Instagram pictures or tweets, don’t even unlock your phone, just get up and out of bed. Social media and emails can wait.
2. Make your bed
This is commonly spoken about and something that really does work. Once you are up and have rubbed the sleep from your eyes, shake out your duvet, plump up your pillows and make your bed. This is a discipline that will set the tone for your day. A tidy bed = a tidy mind and will help to draw the line between your night’s sleep ending and your day beginning.
This comes next for obvious reasons, hygiene! This is more of a personal preference but I like to make sure I am showered, tooth brushed and dressed before I carry on with any other daily activities, this again, helps me to create a transition from a lazy morning and wanting to crawl back into bed to feeling clean, proactive and ready to take on the day.
4. Getting dressed, properly
This is one for those of you who work from home. It is incredibly tempting when WFH, to sit in your PJs on your bed with your laptop on your lap but I promise you - as comforting as it is - it will not help your productivity. Dress as though you are going out to the office. Wear a new, clean outfit everyday. It really does create a separation between personal time and work time. Then when you clock off at the end of the working day, change into your lounge wear and relax.
5. Create a hot drink ritual
Again, this is personal preference, for some this may be a cup of coffee, for me it is Yorkshire tea. I have created a full ritual around my morning mug of tea. This involves switching off from everything and focussing on nothing but the tea. Thoughts of my day will drift in and I can visualise what I want my day to look like then allow the thoughts to drift away again. I like to use this moment to practice mindfulness and savouring, I focus on any smells, the warmth of the mug in my hands, the taste of the tea on my tongue, any sounds that come with the experience — usually in the form of birdsong outside my window. Anchor this feeling of calm to this ritual and have a little 'me-moment' each morning.
Alongside my tea I have a smoothie, I love having a green smoothie in the morning as it is a great way to load my diet with greens and fruit, plus it’s really tasty! Here is the recipe I make using my Nutri Bullet although any blender would work for this.
2 blocks of frozen spinach — I use frozen spinach as it lasts so much longer than fresh spinach and I don’t have to worry about it going off, it also comes in handy blocks so I know exactly how much to use
3 strawberries — again I use frozen as it is so much cheaper and lasts much longer
50 ml semi skimmed milk
1 teaspoon almond butter
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
Whether this involves getting off the bus to work one stop early or getting up early and going for a full round walk to start the day, some light exercise is essential to get your morning off to a good start.
Having a brisk walk, doing at least some of your 10,000 daily steps and getting a blast of fresh air before settling down to a day of work will guarantee a more productive day. Walking is also an excellent form of exercise so it keeps both your brain and your body happy and healthy.
Whether you give all of these suggestions a go or maybe just pick one or two, I hope it helps you to find a rhythm to your mornings. If you struggle with creating routines that work for you, check out our Habit Notes journal to help you create habits that stick.
Lili Sinclair-Williams is the Founder of LSW London.