There’s no shortage of articles telling you what successful people do in the morning, how early most of them get up and why meditation is the way to start a super productive day. What these articles don’t say is that there is no one perfect morning routine. “What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for everybody,” says Nicole Bandes, a.k.a. the Productivity Expert. And what works for you when you’re single and can get up and out to the gym first thing doesn’t work years later when you have kids and have to get them ready for the day.
Rather than trying to force yourself to adopt practices just because a CEO or celebrity does them, use these steps to create your own personal best morning routine that will help you kick off a productive day with confidence and energy. “When we can stick to a morning routine, it’s an instant boost. Your morning starts off successfully, even if it’s as simple as one small habit. That’s a powerful way to start your day,” Bandes explains.
FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR DREAM MORNING
1. DO ONE THING THAT EXCITES YOU
When she’s working with clients, Bandes starts by asking them to think of one thing they’re really jazzed about doing each morning. “The biggest saboteur to a good routine is when you dread doing it and sleep in instead,” she says. “Start with something that excites you.” This could be taking an indoor cycling class or simply getting up and calling a loved one.
2. EVALUATE YOUR ENERGY LEVELS
Are you the type who needs a quieter, slower morning and therefore something like meditation or journaling might be great in the a.m.? Or do you have lots of energy, making it a great time to hit the gym or do a 15-minute cleaning session before heading to work? Choose a routine that aligns with your energy.
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3. WORK BACKWARD
You know what time you need to be at work or wherever your first stop of the day is. From that time, factor in your commute and all the other things you want to do or add to your morning routine. “Between your wake-up time and leave time, figure out what are the most important tasks that must get completed so that you can have the best day possible,” says Helene Segura, author of “The Inefficiency Assassin.” Then add 30% more time than you think you need since we often underestimate, she adds.
4. START SMALL
“Don’t try to create the perfect routine out of the gate,” says Bandes, who recommends changing or adding one or two things at at time. And give those things a legit chance — commit to doing them and actually do them for 2–3 weeks.
After that time, reflect on how things are going. “Are you flowing each morning? If so, stay with your routine,” Segura says. “Were there any hiccups? If so, was it a one-time anomaly, or has life changed a bit?” Adjust things accordingly.
Don’t only evaluate your morning, though. Think about how your routine is affecting the rest of your day, since that is the goal. “After a few weeks, you should feel more relaxed, less hurried and calmer during the day, so you don’t react [to stressful things] like you used to at work,” says Susie Moore, life coach and author of “What If It Does Work Out?“
In the end, it doesn’t matter if visualizing your day doesn’t work for you, but standing in a power pose like Wonder Woman for five minutes does. Whatever routine makes you productive and happy, do it.