I love reading about other people’s routines. I’m always on the lookout for ways to increase my productivity and make more out of my time and articles about someone else’s work processes or daily schedules are often full of useful tips and tricks. So I thought it might be interesting to share the way I organize my time and I decided to start with this post about my morning routine.
Why morning routine? Well, because for me morning is the most important part of the day. The way I spend it has a huge impact on my productivity and well-being throughout the day.
My morning routine has evolved over the last couple of years and I’m constantly looking for ways to make it more useful and fun. What I’m sharing with you today is my ideal morning routine, which means that I don’t always follow it to the dot, but when I do I feel energized, focused and in control. And who doesn’t want to feel that way, right?
So let’s dive into it.
I do my best to wake up somewhere between 7 and 8 o’clock in the morning. In summer it’s easy, because by this time the sun is already up. In winter it’s harder, but even more important. We, humans, need sunlight. It’s indispensable for our health and productivity (you can read more about it here). So getting up early to catch some day light is a must.
PRO TIP: Putting the alarm clock or the phone somewhere you can’t reach when in bed increases the chance of actually getting out of bed.
I make a point of not checking my phone right after I open my eyes. Some smart people think that if you do this, you’re instantly putting yourself in reactive mode, when your actions are determined by what others want from you, and not by what you think is important for you. I find it to be true.
Besides I’m not good at making decisions right after waking up, so I might just end up reading my Twitter feed or looking at pictures on Instagram instead of doing all the wonderful things that give me energy for the day. So I’m better off not starting doing it in the first place.
PRO TIP: Switching on the airplane mode on your phone the night before will guarantee there are no new notifications you’ll definitely want to check.
After I wash my face and take a shower, I go to the kitchen to drink some warm water with lemon and honey. This is a great thing for your health. Warm water helps digestion and lemon and honey give your body a boots of vitamins.
PRO TIP: To help myself stick with this habit I put some warm water into a small bright thermos bottle, which keeps it warm till morning and is pleasant to use.
Now it’s time for some physical activity. It may be running (although obviously not in winter), doing some yoga or just dancing to the music. It shouldn’t be long and exhausting, though.
We, translators, spend most of out time perched in front of our screens and getting in a quick workout first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. For me it’s also an accomplishment that motivates me to do more and be more productive.
PRO TIP: Prepare for the workout the night before. If you run, lay out your running clothes and make a play list. If you do yoga, put your yoga mat on the floor (don’t do it if you have cats, though, unless you want to do some early morning vacuuming). You get the point. This way you won’t have any excuses not to do the workout.
After the workout I do a short meditation. I use the Headspace app. You probably hear a lot about the benefits of meditation some of them being reduced levels of stress and increased focus. You can read more about it here.
I notice that on the days when I meditate I do find it easier to focus. Besides trying to maintain this habit is another way to develop discipline.
PRO TIP: Listen to yourself and find a way to meditate that suits you. I love Andy Paddicombe’s approach and serene voice. But you might want something different. They say that even spending a couple of minutes sitting still in silence can bring some great results.
Now it’s time to put the kettle on and make some breakfast. While the kettle is boiling, I write down 10 of my most important goals. The point of the exercise is to remind yourself about things that matter. I try to be as specific as possible and write the goals in the present tense. I read about this exercise in one of the posts on Goals On Track blog.
Then I have breakfast while listening to a book in blinks. Blinkist is a service I discovered a couple of months ago. It helps you learn more in less time and I think it’s amazing. I’ve a premium subscription, but there’s a free version, where you get to read one preselected book per day. By the way, they’ve got a great Christmas offer at the moment.
After breakfast I quickly check my emails and Twitter. By now I have enough self-control and it takes only 5 minutes and then I go for a walk with my dog (remember, we need the day light!). During the walk I usually listen to some music or a podcast. When we get home, I feed the dog and the cats and I’m ready to start working.
This whole routine takes somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 hours the walk being the most time consuming activity. If I have some urgent tasks waiting for me, I only spend about 15 minutes outside. If I have more time, we go for a longer walk. That’s the beauty of being a freelancer — I’m free to adapt to my schedule.
Starting my day in such a way helps me feel in control of my life and be more productive and happy. Here are some final tips that can help you design your own morning routine if you feel like it and stick with it:
- Choose the things that you like. If you think meditation is weird, don’t try to force yourself to do it. If you don’t like
exercising first thing in the morning, you can skip it too. We’re all different and no one knows yourself better than you do.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. Start small. This will help you stick with the changes.
- Make sticking to the routine as easy as possible. Prepare things the night before. Eliminate the necessity to make decisions right after you wake up.
Want to learn more about morning routines? Writer Jeff Goins shares what his morning routine looks like in this post (and there’s a whole bunch of links to other people’s posts at the end). There’s been an episode on The Invisible Office Hours podcast about the benefits of a morning routine (I really love those guys, if you haven’t heard of them, I recommend you check them out). And there’s a whole website called (surprise!) My Morning Routine devoted to people’s morning routines.
What about you? Do you have a morning routine that helps you start your day well? If so, I’d love to read about it in the comments.
Image courtesy of Annie Spratt (check out her blog, if you love photography, it’s amazing!)