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Optimal Morning Routine

Do you really have to get up before the sun to have a great morning routine? No! In today’s episode, I’ll tell you the real key. 

I asked my network which activities were critical to their morning routines, and wow, the response was overwhelming. Instead of trying to detail every activity, I noticed a few themes. Those themes are what I address in today’s podcast episode. 

Here’s the podcast episode:

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Today, we’re going to talk about the optimal morning routine, which can be something different for everybody. So I asked my network on Linkedin and GirlBoss what a critical part of their morning routine is. 

It’s Not When, but How

This is important because, according to a video Mel Robbins posted on Instagram, it’s not when you get up, but how. So don’t worry, I’m not telling you to get up 4 o’clock in the morning, although that is what I do sometimes. 

She said it was how you woke up. That’s a critical distinction that’s really important, and it’s one that I’ve always held onto. Let’s say you work a swing shift and you don’t start working until 2. Well then, you don’t need to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning. You’re in control of your morning, and you have the opportunity to do the activities that set you up for success. 

If you don’t have 4 children running around in the morning (like I do), and you can get up at 8 o’clock, and still be in control of your morning, then get up at 8. Do it if that’s what you need to feel rested and be at your best for the day. 

Common Themes in the Responses

Something I noticed was that there were some common themes in the flood of responses that I got. If you also answered any of those questions and you’re listening to this episode, I really appreciate it. Thank you. 

Mental Focusing

One of the first things I noticed was that people liked doing some sort of mental focusing activity. 

Meditation, Prayer, Reflection, and Journaling to Start the Day

For some, that was meditation, prayer, or reflection on things that made them grateful. One of the more actively mental things that came up a lot was journaling, which is something I wish I did. For a lot of people, it’s just 5-10 minutes of getting their thoughts out of their brains and onto the paper. That can really do a lot for you. 

Especially first thing in the morning, when you’re still in touch with your dream/creative side, and you just want to word vomit those things out. Journaling is also one of the things that all the most successful people in the world do. 

Planning Out Your Day

Another thing that’s really great for you to do is plan out your day. This is something I put a lot of emphasis on. 

I pick my top 3 priorities for the day. I need to get these 3 things done and if I do, then yay! I try not to beat myself up too much if I don’t get them done, but you’re supposed to identify the top 3 priorities that will move your business forward. 

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re listening to this, there’s never a day when you get everything on your to-do list done. It’s just not happening. You will reach a point where it’s good enough. Some days we feel like we’ve gotten a lot accomplished and we’ve checked off a lot of things on our to-do list, but that’s not what these 3 priorities are about. 

When you plan out your 3 priorities for the day, it’s supposed to be critical activities. If you have a virtual assistant or something, your top 3 activities should be ones you can’t delegate. They should be the things that you have to do. If you can delegate them, then you should do so, and then find a more critical activity that you have to do. 

Physical Activities to Jump Start Your Day

There Are Countless Ways to Exercise

The other trend that I noticed was doing something physical. A lot of people exercise, which can be done in various ways. I’m not going to unpack that one, but you could be outside, inside, doing yoga, weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, etc. 

Doing anything physical is good for you. I think this is important because, if you’re an entrepreneur or you work from home, you work remotely. It’s really easy to put those things off to the side. These days, what enables many of us to work from home is the computer. 

Right now, as I’m recording this, I’m sitting, and sitting is not the best thing for you. Some people have standing desks and things like that, but the inactivity that many of our jobs and businesses force us into isn’t good for our health. You didn’t start your business to be unhealthy or make your life worse. 

Anything Is Better Than Nothing

Exercise is also something the most successful people do in the morning. I used to be a personal trainer and a fitness competitor. Sometimes, I’d spend 2-3 hours, 6 days a week in the gym, depending on my training cycle. You could do as little as 10-20 minutes of exercise, maybe break it up throughout your day. It’s great for your brain and mood, so go accomplish something physical! 

A Glass of Cold Water

Another thing a lot of people mentioned is that they would drink a glass of cold water first thing in the morning. I have to imagine that’s a shock to the system, and it’s probably very effective! 

Drinking Coffee or Tea

Other people mentioned that they drink coffee or tea. I’m a tea person myself. I really like that cup of coffee or tea in the morning! I can kind of relax before my kids get up. So that’s a part of my routine. 

Immediately Wash Your Face

Something that came up a lot in the GirlBoss community was that some people wash their face immediately; their alarm goes off, they get out of bed and wash their face. I feel like this has a similar effect to drinking the cold glass of water. It kind of shocks your system wakes you up, and then your face is already washed! 

Do Not Check Your Phone

This was a common tip, which I’ve decided to be more firm with myself about as well. Do not check your phone before you’re done with your morning routine. Don’t check social media, don’t check any notifications. 

Apps That Limit Your Social Media Time

It would probably be better if you couldn’t even see the notifications. In my case, my Do Not Disturb is on, but there are also apps that will lock your other applications for you. 

I don’t want to make it sound like all of us are addicted, but sometimes you get on your phone, you’re looking through it, and you’re suddenly like, “What was I even doing?” And you’ve already clicked on a social media just out of habit. That’s what I’m saying! 

You can download an app to help you snap out of it, “Oh, that’s not what I actually meant to do. I wasn’t meaning to check Linkedin right now.” There are apps that lock your phone for a certain amount of time, as well as help remind you of your actual goals. 

So a big key to keeping your morning routine on track and keeping your mood high is not checking your notifications. Just last week, I checked my notifications when I woke up, I saw something that I wasn’t happy about, and it put me in a bad mood for a good portion of the morning. That was before I had gotten through my routine, and I wasn’t prepared to perceive that as soon as I woke up. Whatever it is, it can wait until you’re done with your morning routine. 

Customize According to Your Own Needs

Your morning routine might take 15 minutes or 1 hour, but just make sure you structure it so it sets you up for success. What this might mean for you is mapping out a few activities and doing them for a few days, seeing what fits, seeing what makes you feel, seeing what doesn’t. 

And if it doesn’t work, then you can always swap out the activities that you’re not pleased with, and try out your new routine for a few days. Everybody needs something different. There’s always going to be a lot of variety, and you’re always going to have something to recommend. 

However, an optimal morning routine puts you in the right mind frame, no matter what you’re doing.