Create a Daily Morning Routine for a Less Stressful Day

by Vanessa Hayes

in Organizing

Are you feeling a little rushed in the mornings? Are you stressed out ? Do you find yourself getting distracted from completing your important tasks? Do you feel like you’ve wasted your day? Well, maybe it’s time to create a morning routine to help get your day off to a great start. I’m not talking about hitting the snooze button on your alarm 5 times before you actually roll out of bed.  I’m talking about establishing a consistent routine to help create order in your home and your life and to help you gain control of your day.

When you establish a routine for you or your family, you are creating an environment of consistency. With consistency comes known expectations of roles and responsibilities, known outcomes and a happier, calmer family.  Think about it like this…we are drawn to certain businesses, products, bosses and friends because they provide consistently good food, products, leadership and friendship, right?  Well, if we expect and value consistency in those things…why not value it in our own lives?  A morning routine is just the thing to give you order and calm.

Now, before you jump into creating a daily routine, remember to keep these concepts in mind:

Specific tasks. You’ll need to identify your specific morning tasks and how long it takes to do them.  I suggest writing everything down: shower, getting dressed, eating, drinking coffee, making the bed, etc.  It may seem tedious and excessive at first but by identifying all of your tasks and the time it takes to complete them, you’ll have a better idea of how to manage and schedule your morning routine.

Specific order. You’ll then need to decide on an order to complete your tasks.  Figure out the most logical sequence of events for you and schedule each event in a time slot.  I highly recommend writing this schedule down on paper or on your calendar.  Electronic calendars like iCalendar, Outlook or Google (my personal favorite) are especially wonderful because you can rearrange your tasks without wasting time rewriting and erasing events.

Consistency. This is key!  Once you’ve figured out your tasks and order, now you’ve got to stick to it.  There’s no point in going through all the effort of creating a routine if you’re not going to follow it.  It’ll take some getting used to at first but soon it will become second nature.

If you’re having trouble putting together a morning routine, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Wake up. Take 15-30 minutes to wake up, enjoy your coffee, check out the news or read.  Check out my morning coffee routine post on prepping your coffee the night before.  Having a fresh cup of joe already made first thing in the morning makes all the difference!

Review your daily tasks. Refresh your memory of the tasks and important “to-do” items you need to get done.  I like to spend 1-2 minutes reviewing my to-do list in the morning to mentally prepare me for the day and adjust my schedule if I need to.  I also prepare this list the night before during my nightly de-clutter routine so I’m not trying to figure out what I need to do at O’Dark Thirty in the morning.

Make your bed. Beds take up a lot of space and when they aren’t made they look like a whole lot of clutter!  Simply taking 5 minutes or less to make your bed will instantly make your room look cleaner plus you’ll feel much more relaxed when you come home to a tidy room. If you don’t like the process of making the bed, consider cutting down on the amount of pillows you have and use a duvet cover over your comforter.  The duvet can double as a cover and a top sheet so all you have to do is pull the duvet across the bed…no wrestling with or pulling back the top sheet.  And when it’s time to do laundry, just pull of the duvet and throw it in the washer.

Prepare for dinner. Make sure all of your food items are defrosted and that you have all the necessary ingredients for the evening’s dinner.  Also consider how long it will take for you to make dinner and adjust your schedule if need be.  I usually take this opportunity to refer to my dinner menu for the following night to see if I need to take anything out of the freezer to defrost or if I’ll need to stop at the grocery store.  This is also a good time to prepare your crockpot meals…another easy way to streamline your dinner prep.

Empty the dishwasher or dish rack.  Put your dishes away first thing in the morning so that you and your family can fill it up after breakfast and throughout the day instead of waiting to do all of it after dinner.

Workout, shower and dress.  After you shower and get dressed be sure to put dirty clothes in the laundry, put away your toiletries and makeup, wipe down the sinks and hang up your towel.

Prep kids for school.  Allot time to make lunches (or better yet, make them the night before), eat breakfast, dress, brush teeth and get school bags ready.  Of course, if your kids are old enough be sure to get them in a routine too and have them take on some, if not most of the responsibilities.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “kids love routine” so get them involved!

Make breakfast and cleanup afterwards.  Return all food items in the fridge, pantry or cupboards. Scrape leftover food in the trash and put your dishes in the sink or dishwasher.  Wipe down all of the counters, sink, stove and microwave.  Like your bed, the kitchen has a lot of counter space and when one counter is cluttered the whole kitchen looks messy.  Take just a couple of minutes everyday to wipe down those counters and appliances…you’ll be amazed at how refreshing it is to come home to a clean kitchen after a busy day at work.

Get on with your day! Now that you’ve got your morning routine complete you can head off to work (on time of course), or to your home office if you work from home, spend time with your kids or take care of your priority tasks and errands.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anastacia Hauldridge April 11, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Very helpful article thank you! I will use these suggestions.

Vanessa Hayes April 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Anastacia,

I’m a huge advocate for routines..for myself, my kids and my clients ;o) Routines help keep you on track and less stressed. I’m glad you found the article helpful. Good luck and thanks for your comment!

Jennifer April 29, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I enjoyed your article. I feel like it is time to take charge of my morning routine. I have two questions: What time do you start your am routine? For the last 17 years I have been a night owl because of my job; often staying up until well past 3:00am. It’s going to be a big change in my life, but I am mentally prepared to make the shift. And, do you have any suggestions for becoming an early morning riser rather than going to bed during those hours? Thank you :0)

Vanessa Hayes May 2, 2013 at 1:09 AM

Jennifer,
I use to work mid shifts when I was in the military and it was a little tough getting into a different schedule but I eventually did. Right now since I’m self-employed…I usually get up between 5:30 – 6:00am when I have clients because that gives me time to wake up, workout, get dressed and get kids ready for school before working with my clients (usually starting at 9am). If I don’t have clients then I get up between 6-7am. It’s only an extra hour but I still try to treat my days without clients just like any other work day…more like an office day. When I had a traditional 8-5 job, I had to get up no later than 5am otherwise I wouldn’t get my workout in. Now…to help you transition to an earlier routine, I highly recommend reading this article: http://zenhabits.net/10-benefits-of-rising-early-and-how-to-do-it/ It’s got great advice. Good luck to you!!!!

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