I used to hate mornings. Getting up and being in the office on time was especially hard in winter, when it’s pitch black and freezing cold outside. With Nanohabits™ theories in mind I began to trace what made mornings particularly stressful and worked on creating new habits to make them bearable. Over time I have developed a simple 10 minute routine which makes my mornings so much easier; pleasant even. Now, not just do I arrive on time, but I’m also fresher and more awake when I get to work.
Today I want to share three key elements from my routine with you.
Sync with your calendar.
First of all, I find it extremely important to be on top of my schedule for the following day, before I get off to sleep. There might be a meeting or a yoga practice, or an important phone call to make. I take a look to my digital calendar and jot down in my planner every appointment I will have. Writing things down forces my mind to be fully present for a moment, but then easier to shut off when I know I have control of my schedule. I outline key goals and tasks for the next day to get a head start in the morning.
Tip #1 Check your calendar half an hour before bed. Write a list of every appointment down and outline 3-5 key goals and tasks for the next day.
Prepare clothes and bag
One of the things that used to take a lot of time in the morning was choosing an outfit. Some days it would take 20 minutes to figure out what I wanted to wear; then I would get dressed only to change into something else. I quickly realised this silly dilemma ate 20mins of my sleep each night, so I made a small decision: prepare my clothes the night before. I choose what to wear based on my plans for the day and put the clothes on a chair in the order that I will put them on: cardigan on the bottom, then the shirt, pants and underwear on the very top. At the same time, I pack my bag and set it next to the chair. This way I don’t have to think about my outfit in the morning, sort through items before putting them on or stress what to put in my bag when in a rush.
Tip #2 Buy yourself half an hour of sleep or reading the morning news by preparing your clothes and packing your bag the night before.
Prepare your breakfast
I prefer eating my breakfast at home; however, I don’t want to wake up 20 minutes earlier to make sure I have the time to prepare a meal. Thus I started to prepare my breakfast in the evening. I clean my coffee maker, so that it only takes a few seconds in the morning to put it on the stove and turn a knob. I look in my fridge and decide what I will have for breakfast. If, for example, I choose to have cereal, I put a bowl on the counter and set the cereal box next to it. The only thing left to do in the morning is to pour out the cereal and get the milk from the fridge. It only takes a few minutes to make the coffee and about 30 seconds to prepare breakfast, if I have properly prepared the night before.
Tip #3 Prepare your breakfast menu, appliances and coffee maker the night before. It saves time and energy in your dreary morning state! If it turns out the milk has ran out perhaps you’ll realise that you need to set the alarm 10mins earlier to get some breakfast on the way to work.
My experiments with the morning routine started about 6 months ago, and the difference is significant. When my day starts with little exertion or stress, things generally continue in the same vein. Whilst this habit began with the aim of getting more rest and feeling more organised, it has not just impacted my morning routines but those throughout my entire day. Try it for yourself!