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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

July 8, 2016
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Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assets

It’s easy to underestimate the influence that your friends can have on you. We sometimes forget that our friendships can serve as another rung in the ladder towards achieving our dreams. In a generation of entrepreneurs, hustlers, and professional risk-takers, we should start considering the people we keep close to us as assets to our business and life goals. How Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assets

If you take a good look at who you keep in your circle, what is their general makeup? I recommend having some friends who are as ambitious and inspired as you. Having friends that you can be constantly discussing, dreaming, and bouncing off ideas with will carry you much farther towards self-improvement than you know.
For example, I have a group of friends who all bring some level of excellence to the table. We’re big on academia, some of us are great creative thinkers, others are political buffs, and all of us are social justice participants. Together, we have deeply profound discussions about topics like current events and politics, philosophical and psychological questions, and our next big ideas and goals. Despite the occasional debates that turn into arguments, I always leave feeling more inspired, more educated, and a more enlightened person. I don’t think I would’ve gotten the idea to restart my blog without seeing a new creative spark in my friend at the discovery of writing poetry.
Having people around you who perform on the same wavelength as you, who want to reach the same level of success as you and who will encourage you to do the same are powerful.

A relationship like this takes a good amount of intellectual confidence on your part to get the most out of it. Your friends might excel in areas where you have room for improvement.  If you want to benefit from a friendship like How Friends Can Be Your Biggest Assetthat there is no space to be insecure about yourself. Their expertise and ambition in their skill set should inspire you to reach that same level in your own endeavors. And you will motivate them as well! That is how these friendships will push you towards greatness.

Similarly, I wouldn’t rely too much on friends who lack your same spirit and ambition. It’s easy to be dragged down by these types, and it will be a little bit harder to work for your goals if nobody else around you is doing the same. They might be great for emotional support, comic relief, and all of the great things that come with friendships, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are not on the same path as you.

When meeting new friends or evaluating the ones you currently have, always consider who will help you become a person you can fall in love with. It comes down to having a healthy balance of friends who just make you feel better and friends who actually make you better.

-Lots of Love, Lola

 

June 28, 2016
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