How to Create a Morning Routine for Productivity

How to Establish a Productive Morning Routine

Before I started my blog, I never had any semblance of a morning routine. I was easily distracted by things that were time-wasters like social media or even just lying in bed for more time than was needed. Since I’ve started Macarons in the Morning, I’ve seen a need to establish a more concrete routine to maximize my productivity and complete my goals faster. I found that I was more creative and motivated in the early hours, so I set up a morning routine rather than an afternoon or evening one. With my routine I have become a more balanced, centered, and productive person.

WHY YOU NEED A MORNING ROUTINE

  • A morning routine works with the natural tendencies of our bodies and minds. The mind loves structure and pattern. Our brains work best when they know what to expect. When we know what’s coming up, we can prepare appropriately, and make the most of the event. To contrast, when our next action is undetermined, we waste an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what to do, how to carry out the action, and only think about how we could’ve been more efficient after the fact. With a routine, we’ve totally skipped the middle man and can jump right into the efficiency and productivity part.
  • You’ve accomplished something before your day has even started. Don’t you just love crossing things off of a to-do list? A morning routine is like a daily to-do list full of things you actually enjoy doing and that you can cross off before it’s lunch time. Having a sense of accomplishment can help your mood and set a confident, grateful attitude for the rest of the day.
  • You live with purpose. A theme that’s gone viral this year is intentional living. Often coupled with a minimalistic lifestyle, living intentionally means applying purpose behind your actions. When you develop your personal morning routine, each part of the routine has a specific purpose. You will feel more accomplished and fulfilled when you’ve completed goals that have meaning behind them. Into-Mind has a great graphic of how you can have a more full life by living with intention and breaking down bigger and more abstract goals by establishing manageable daily habits.

MYTHS ABOUT ROUTINES

  • They’re too strict and don’t allow for spontaneity. Routines can be as broad or as down to the very second as you want them to be. For the more free-spirited mind, a more general morning routine with looser time slots (or no time slots at all!) might be better fitting. It’s all about completing the things you want in an orderly fashion, and making productivity a habit. Life will always bring its spontaneity. I promise, surprises will never be scarce.
  • They stifle creativity. While this is a highly debated topic, I’d definitely say that my morning routine has increased my creativity. Allotting a time to sit down and create something has been a lot like going to the gym everyday and working out. It’s gotten easier and easier to come up with cool stuff the more I train myself to work that creative muscle. And, of course, if I have ideas throughout the day, I won’t shut my brain off and say “ah ah ah, it’s not creativity time!” I simply jot down the ideas in my notes app or in my Moleskine and work on them when I have time.

How to Establish a Productive Morning Routine

HOW TO CREATE YOUR ROUTINE

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. A few things you should keep in mind when creating a routine:

  1. Have a goal in mind. It can be as abstract or as specific as you want. And you can have multiple. My main goals for the morning are to get as much creative work done for my blog as possible, enrich my body by working out or eating a good breakfast, and enrich my mind by allotting time to read a novel, journal, or catch up on the news.
  2. Keep your priorities straight. Every list of goals has a hierarchy. Prioritize the ones that are most important to you. They don’t necessarily have to come first, but you should spend the most effort and time on them. Blogging is a huge priority in my life and I spend hours on it. I start my blogging duties last because I often go well into the afternoon with it, but getting started in the morning assures that I will get something done.

Now, it’s time to ask yourself some questions. Once you have your goals set, you need to figure out which order they should go in, and where daily chores might fit best into your routine. Your routine should have a natural flow of events.

  1. What is the best time for me to wake up? Does this allow enough time to complete my routine?
  2. Does the first thing I do after I wake up center me and prepare me for the upcoming events of the day?
  3. Have I taken care of chores and daily necessities like eating breakfast and getting dressed that could later become distractions?
  4. Have I allotted time for reflection, self-enrichment, and goal planning? 
  5. Have I broken down the more abstract goals into achievable daily goals?
  6. How and when am I most productive? Am I completing the most important parts of my morning at that time?

The best way to start and stick to a routine is to do a little at a time. And don’t be afraid to mend it as time goes on. Your morning routine should be something that you enjoy and find useful. If it ever becomes a burden or you find that it doesn’t work with how you naturally function, make changes.

PRODUCTIVITY TIPS

  • Delayed Gratification: There is nothing that will make me work faster to finish a task than if I know a box of macarons or a Gilmore Girls marathon is waiting for me at the end of the finish line. Setting up a reward system, whether it be earning a 30 minute break or a yummy snack after a tedious task, can make you more productive because there’s an incentive involved.
  • Work with Yourself: At certain times of the day, I just can’t work up the energy to get a task done. And that’s totally fine. When it comes to creativity or putting out great content, I never want it to be forced or for it to become a chore that I don’t love. Learn how to work your mind. Identify the times you work best, and make the most of it, and don’t punish yourself for the times where you aren’t at your best.
  • A Cluttered Space is a Cluttered Mind: People underestimate the influence that the physical world has on their ability to work. If your work area is a total mess, your brain can easily become overwhelmed and distracted. Make sure your space is organized before you start your work. You’ll be a lot more focused when there isn’t all kinds of displaced items scattered around you.
  • Understand the Why: When working towards a very large goal, there are a lot of laborious steps in between that tire us out and can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the big picture. Once you’ve broken down your big goal into smaller goals, always remember to put purpose behind them. No matter how small, how annoying, or how tedious it can be, keep in mind the why and it will become much easier to complete the task.

Your routine can be adapted for nighttime as well, and I encourage you to develop one for whichever time of day you see fit.


So Tell Me: What’s your favorite part of your morning routine? Answer in the comments below!

-Lots of Love, Lola

8 Comments

  1. sarahmullaney1996 July 10, 2016

    I’m definitely not a morning person but this post will really help me create a good structure so I can get the most out of my morning before I go to work – even if it’s just making time to chill, eat breakfast and read some blogs. I really like how you’ve broken this post down, it’s made me realise I could get so much more done and why I should sacrifice my extra few minutes in bed. Have you heard of the book called the Productivity Planner? It’s where you can write down your goals etc and prioritise your tasks so you can get the most out of everyday, your post reminded me of it 🙂

    Sarah xx

    Reply
    • Lola Adewuya July 10, 2016

      Hey, Sarah! I’m glad you found this post helpful. It’s great to spend your morning doing things you enjoy to get you up and positive before it’s even 12pm. I haven’t heard of the Productivity Planner but I’ll definitely look into it, it sounds right up my ally! Have a great summer.
      -Lots of Love, Lola

      Reply
  2. Kyia Belle July 12, 2016

    I love how you wrote this! Very informative and useful. I’m normally a normal person, but recently since it’s summer, I have been sleeping in a lot more than usual. I’ll make it my goal to get my stuff together and actually plan out my mornings! xx

    Reply
    • Lola Adewuya July 12, 2016

      Hi, Kyia! I totally get sleeping in during summer break. It’s important to relax at this time too! I’m glad you’ve resolved to get a bit more done this summer. I hope your routine works well for you. Thanks for reading!
      -Lots of Love, Lola

      Reply
  3. Roli July 23, 2016

    Hi Lola! Love your blog, love the style and topics you blog about! Seems like we have so much in common : blogger, 17, nigerian?, just finished high school, lol. Hope we can be blogger friends! Come say hi:

    here’s my blog – http://www.roliedema.com
    and twitter is @roliedema

    Reply
    • Lola Adewuya July 24, 2016

      What’s up, Roli! That’s so cool that we have a lot in common, I’d love to be blogger friends! Followed you on Twitter girly.
      -Lots of Love, Lola

      Reply
  4. Kenya August 14, 2016

    Love this post! Your advice is so nuanced and informative and thoughtful, I’m so glad I happened upon your blog and can’t wait to read more posts! And I’m so looking forward to putting this into practice as I head into my freshman year! Thank you for sharing your wisdom friend!

    Reply
    • Lola Adewuya August 16, 2016

      Thank you so much, Kenya! It’s always so gratifying to hear that my blog posts are helping others. I can’t wait to publish more of my thoughts and advice on here. I hope your morning routine works out and helps you to be more productive!

      Lots of Love,
      Lola

      Reply

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