Four months ago, my morning routine was non-existent.
I lived my life by the ‘ten more minutes’ promise.
‘Just ten more minutes and I’ll get out of bed’.
‘Just ten more minutes and I’ll exercise.’
‘Just ten more minutes and I’ll start working on that blog post.’
I was a morning person because I woke up super early but I lacked the motivation to get things done. I didn’t have a morning routine and my whole day suffered for it. I was the half-caffeinated version of myself – permanently. I blamed everything under the sun: not enough hours in the day, too cold, too hot, “I’m a single mum, damn it!’. The list goes on.
Then, one day, the excuses ran out.
I had landed myself a real life, adult career. One that had responsibilities, people to answer to and clients to disappoint if I slacked for one second. I knew – then and there – my lifestyle had to change. And fast.
So, how did I become an annoying, sunshine-y morning person without one drop of espresso flowing through my veins?
01. Set your priorities
I love to have a stress-free, productive morning. That is my #1 priority in the morning. I used to run around like a chicken with its head chopped off, but that old, real quick. Now, I swear by my morning routine which is tailored to my priorities. I love waking up and knowing exactly what I have to do for my morning to be as productive and stress-free as possible. Some people like to drink an espresso, some like to exercise, some just roll into getting ready for the day.
Find out what makes you feel good and do that first. Always. I scroll through the news or read a chapter of my book before getting out of bed. It makes me feel ‘connected’ to the rest of the world and I have a great arsenal for conversations with work colleagues. Win-win.
02. Utilise your phone settings
It sounds silly, but playing around with my alarm settings helped me turn into a morning person. Recently, I discovered iPhones have a ‘bedtime’ setting in the alarm application. I use this every day so I can wake up to the sound of birds chirping instead of a foghorn alarm that makes me want to punch someone. I also set my alarm to start ten minutes before I have to get out of bed so I can: a) wake up gently, b) press ‘snooze’ once, and c) scroll through Instagram at a ridiculously early hour (hi, 5am Instagram users!).
03. Eat breakfast
Fuel your body with what it needs in the morning and it will thank you. I’m not hungry at 5:30am, so I’m eating breakfast at my desk but that’s no excuse to skip out on proper nutrition. I’ve found that eating breakfast is much like making my bed and working out, it’s just another signal that it’s time to work.
Being time-poor is no excuse as there are many breakfast ideas that are quick, easy and tasty to boot. Recently, I’ve taken to making a chia seed pudding with protein powder, milk, banana, and kiwifruit as my ‘breakfast to go’. It’s quick, easy, tasty, and packed full of the nutrition my body needs to get me through the morning.
Set aside an hour at night to prepare for the next day. Prepare your breakfast, lunch (and dinner!), pack your work bag and organise what you’re going to wear. It’s ‘just another thing to do’ in your already busy day but it makes your morning run smoother. It’s easy to be a morning person when you know all you have to do is get up, shower and eat your (pre-made) breakfast. Can I get a ‘hell yeah!’?
05. Make your bed
It’s like brushing your teeth at nighttime. It’s a signal that the day is about to begin and you need to go kick some ass! An unmade bed is a) messy, and b) just an invitation for you to crawl back under the covers. I don’t know about you, but I hate messing up my bed once I’ve wrestled my 1,622,325 blankets into place.
06. Set rewards
I’m a person who is motivated by extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. I like knowing that I’m getting something for something. By getting up earlier, I know I can take my time with my hair and makeup and still be able to spend some quality time with my son before he goes to daycare.
This goes hand-in-hand with my extrinsic reward: coffee. I’m a coffee-lover. I drink it like it’s going out of fashion, which is why it’s the perfect ‘reward’ during my working week. If I’m early to work every day of the week, I’m allowed to splash out and buy a coffee. If I’m late, I can’t buy a fancy coffee that week. Simple, but motivating. Choose something that motivates you and I bet you’ll be a morning person in no time!
These days, I’m all about the small, simple steps! Because you know what? Everyone was right when they said the small steps add up in the end.