Morning Routine

What’s your morning routine?  It is predictable, organized, or chaotic and stressful. Or are you on automatic pilot going through your morning tasks without really being connected to the world.  It seems the way we start the day sets the tone for the entire day. That's why many successful people make plans and commitments to a morning routine that maximizes their energy, productivity, and creativity all day long.  For example, Tony Robbins promotes taking an hour of power each morning. Steve Jobs talked about looking himself in the mirror every morning and asking himself if he would be happy with his day if it were his last.

Your morning routine does not need to follow a formula. The most important take-away from a morning routine is that it should work for you. It should not drain you or stress you out. Your morning routine should elevate you and make you feel ready to face the day. So while you may think that rushing around looking for your keys and shoes is a normal part of your morning, it might be actually draining you of your energy and possibly giving you a negative outlook that will carry through the day.

A recent study conducted at Ohio State University found that both positive and negative moods effect can effect employee productivity (Rothbard, & Wilke , 2011). Most importantly, they discovered, the mood you bring with you to work has a stronger effect on the day’s mood and on work performance than mood changes caused by events in the workplace. Also, our willpower is at highest early in the day so it is a great time to start a new healthy habit (Haynes, Kemps, & Moffitt, 2016)

If we all had lives with no roadblocks and plenty of time to go through our routine as we planned, it would be easy to stay even keeled and go orderly through our routine. Very few of us have those kind of lives. Lots of things happen in the morning like, waking up late, a sick child, bad weather, car trouble, or an argument with a loved one. All these things can take us down a bad path and have the potential to color the whole day. None of us are immune to this and we are not able to completely compartmentalize these events.

Here are a few ideas to get you started thinking about a morning routine that will energize you and prepare you for a great day:

  • Set aside enough time to complete the essential morning tasks. Start by making a list of the that you must do each morning (e.g. shower, coffee/breakfast, waking others, preparing lunches, or packing bags) and assess how much time you really need for each. Keep in mind that these things consistently take more time than we think.
  • Consider the things that seem routinely throw you off-balance and prepare back-up plans.
  • Make a list of things you can do the night before to take some of the pressure off the morning. Do time-consuming tasks the night before. If your mornings normally involve a lot of tasks that slow you down, do them the night before to save yourself time and stress in the morning.
  • Consider your own unique rhythm and design accordingly—are you a slow mover (needing extra time) or really efficient in the morning (needing less time or fitting more tasks into less time). Understanding yourself is the best way to design a morning routine that fits to your individual needs.

Instead of letting your morning just happen.  Take steps to make the morning your time to set the tone for a fulfilling and productive day.


Haynes, A., Kemps, E., & Moffitt, R. (2016). Is cake more appealing in the afternoon? time of day is associated with control over automatic positive responses to unhealthy food. Food Quality and Preference, 54, 67-74. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2016.07.004

Rothbard, Nancy P. ; Wilke, Steffanie L. “Waking Up on the Right or Wrong Side of the Bed: Start-of-Workday Mood, Work Events, Employee Affect, and Performance.” ACAD MANAGE J October 1, 2011 vol. 54 no. 5 959-980.


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