When you work for yourself, establishing routines can be hard — but they become even more crucial without a deadline of getting into an office. Here’s what my mornings look like since I left Corporate America to help set me up for a productive day.
I pride myself in being really disciplined (maybe too much so?). I’ve worked hard to create habits that serve me well, like not being addicted to caffeine (anymore, ahem!) and having a consistent workout schedule. By no means are my habits perfect, and my routine changes all the time, but the key is that I’m always attempting to make good habits. I’ll adapt where necessary and give myself some grace when it just doesn’t happen one day.
But, as with all habits whether it’s eating healthy, working out or staying focused at work, creating routines that work all starts with a plan and consistency. It’s also important to recognize when a plan you’re trying to implement just won’t work and pivot!
I get asked what my morning routine looks like pretty frequently since I often post early coffee shots on IG. Since I left Corporate America I have a completely different schedule than I did a year or two ago. For about 9 months I worked 80+ hour weeks, and then I had to adapt my schedule to life post-Corporate America, working for myself. And now, I’m bracing myself for another schedule change when our baby comes this fall! Like I said, things change all the time.
I do have a pretty consistent morning schedule, though. And I have five habits that are part of my day, every day.
5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day
1. Read the news 2. Move my body 3. Eat breakfast 4. Map out my day 5. Block social media
These things have helped me navigate the craziness that 2020 has been, and helped reduce my anxiety.
Wake up! I try to grab my phone right away since that helps me wake up to engage my brain and helps me wake up. I know lots of morning routine or productivity experts say not to start your day by looking at your phone, but it helps prevent me from hitting snooze! However, I don’t get on social media or Voxer (which I use for Beautycounter work) – I only triage emails (deleting, flagging or forwarding to an employee) and read the news. I’m especially careful to stay away from Instagram as it can become a stress inducer if my DMs are full. I often delete Instagram in the evening so I don’t get it on it too late in the evening or too early in the morning!
I get out of bed, get coffee, read more news, read a short devotional. Tommy has been bringing me coffee in bed recently which I love. Or, if I wake up before him, I’ll take him coffee in bed. It’s nice to spend just a few minutes together before we both get into work mode.
If I’m doing a shorter workout (30 minutes or less or taking a rest day), I’ll go on a walk first to warm-up my body and sometimes I’ll answer Voxers while I walk.
8 – 8:15
Finish workout, rehydrate, stretch.
8:15 – 8:30
8:30 – 9:00
Eat breakfast and watch the news (Noticing a pattern? I know some people hate the news but I love it. I like knowing what’s going on with national current events, politics, and things around the world. Tommy and I are both news junkies!)
For breakfast, I have two go-to’s these days: Ezekiel English muffins or sprouted bread. If I’m doing an english muffin or bread, I toast it (I like a dark toast!) and then slather it with Kerrygold butter and a sprinkle of salt. Sometimes if my stomach is feeling settled, I’ll make avocado toast with a fried egg. Or, I may slather peanut butter and apple butter on the toast. I also usually drink a glass of nuun electrolytes and half a cup of coffee with it.
Note that this is just my first breakfast! I have a second breakfast about an hour later.
9 – 9:30
Finish getting ready. I read a book while I blow dry my hair, and I listen to an audiobook while I do my makeup and curl my hair – I have too many pregnancy and newborn care books to get through, ha! (I’ll be writing a post on that later!) And, I really hate blow drying my hair so reading a book distracts me! 🙂
Sit down to plan out the day. Before I end work every day, I list out everything I need to accomplish the next day and throughout the week. So when I sit down at this point in the morning, I prioritize that list and map out by day hour by hour with what I’ll work on when. It helps me stay focused. I also identify the most important task I have to get done that day and start with that. I agree with the Bryan Tracy approach to “Eat That Frog!” Science shows that we actually do have a limited amount of willpower, so it’s best to knock out the most important or most annoying tasks before motivation runs out by late afternoon.
And after that, I make a second breakfast (usually this smoothie or this one) since toast is not enough food, but I just can’t eat big meals while pregnant! And THEN, I’m off to work…and by “off to work” I mean I move to my home office. Sitting at my desk vs. my kitchen counter tells my brain it’s really time to start working! Oh, and I bring a big water bottle with me that I refill all day long. Drinking water and staying hydrated helps keep my energy up!
It isn’t super crazy or interesting, but I’m pretty consistent with these morning habits and they work well for me. If you’re getting a little stir crazy and are craving a schedule, a simple step is to outline your ideal morning. Write in detail how you’d like to start your day. (If you’re not a morning person, read this post about how to wake up early!) You may not be able to implement all of it overnight but you could start to take steps towards it!