The holidays are over, and the new year has arrived! That means saying goodbye to the slower paced, less structured mornings of holiday break and returning to the busy, chaotic mornings of work and school. Busy mornings absolutely require routines. For my family—and for me, too! As I began working on my morning routine this week, I realized that there are a few elements that I always include in my morning routine, because they line up with my priorities and help me get a positive, productive start in the morning. So, let’s talk about the 5 essential morning routine elements and why they matter!
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Starting our morning in a positive and productive way sets the tone for the rest of the day, and I’ve found that by including these essential elements in my morning routine, I can start my day in just that way.
5 Essential Morning Routine Elements & Why They Matter
#1 Time to Connect with My Husband
Getting back into the grind can be hectic and overwhelming. But the element that starts my day in the best possible way (and often spills over into the rest of the day) is starting with a little husband connection time.
My husband and I have created a morning tradition of having a cup of coffee and a little quiet time to connect and chat before the rest of the family gets up and going. That means we get up a little earlier than absolutely necessary, but it’s so worth it! Not only do we have time to connect, but it’s a positive way to start the day.
#2 Time to Connect with My Kids
I like to have some time to connect with my kids before I send them off to school. When they were younger, that time was when I walked them to elementary school or drove them to middle school. But now that they’re teenagers they drive themselves to school, so this essential morning routine element needed a little tweak.
Now, my husband and I make breakfast for the kids, and we all sit down at the table to eat it together as a family. Sometimes it’s only for 10 minutes, but it’s a wonderful time to talk and laugh. And it starts the day off with positive family connection time. Breakfast is often the only meal we eat as a family (evenings are completely crazy around here), so we’re hitting two priorities in one morning routine element!
#3 Check the Calendar
I usually check the calendar several times throughout the early morning:
- Before my husband and I sit down for coffee, in case we need to coordinate schedules.
- And before we have breakfast as a family; that way I can remind the kids of activities or deadlines, and we can review the happenings of the day, so we all know where we’re going.
We use and love the Flylady calendar!
The Flylady calendar has large squares for each day, so I have plenty of space to write in appointments and activities for each member of our family along with event reminders. I color code the entries, so that with a single glance I can see appointments and activities specific to each family member.
It also has a handy pocket in the back for holding permission forms, invites, game schedules, etc.
Our calendar hangs on the wall right next to our kitchen, so it’s easy to glance at as I come in and out of the kitchen (something I do many times each day).
For details on how I use my calendar and how I created a calendar checking routine, check out this post: Add Hours to Your Day with One Simple Tool.
#4 Make the Bed
Making the bed is another essential element of my morning routine.
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven
It’s a small thing that makes me feel ready to start the day, and according to U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven, it can help me change the world!
U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven goes on to say “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
I find this to be completely true!
In addition, our bedroom is often one of the cleanest rooms in the house, so as I go in and out of our room throughout the day putting laundry away or getting items out of the closet, I see a freshly made bed and a clean room. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of calm.
Don’t believe U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven? Here’s even more support that making your bed can lead to greater productivity:
According to the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, making your bed is a “keystone” habit. Keystone habits help us to make good decisions throughout the day and to feel like we’re taking charge.
And that’s exactly how I feel on days when I make my bed….like I’m taking charge and in control of how I spend my time!
U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven wrote a book that was released last year, appropriately titled Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World. You can grab the Admiral’s book here!
#5 Intentional Check-In Time
After my husband leaves for work and my kids head off to school, it’s just me and the dachshunds. The house is quiet, I’ve had breakfast, made my bed, and I’m ready to start my work day. But before heading to the office and jumping right in, I take a few minutes of intentional check-in time.
I check my to-do list and my habit trackers to make sure that all of the important items are covered in my plan for the day. I write down a few things that I’m grateful for, and I write my 3 morning pages. When I have the time, I also read at least 3 pages in my book. This process takes me about 30 minutes to an hour, but it starts my work day with intention and helps me to make sure that my most important priorities are scheduled and in the forefront of my mind.
Wondering about that “read 3 pages in my book” thing? It’s a mini goal, a technique I learned about and shared in this post: How to Meet Your Goals…Every Time!
How to Discover Your Essential Elements
My essential morning routine elements have developed over time. I’ve tweaked my morning routine multiple times, and it shifts according to the time of year (summer vs. during the school year), my time of life (toddlers, elementary/middle schoolers, teenagers), and based on many other variables.
But other than time and tweaking, there are a few things you can do to find your essential elements if those listed above don’t resonate with you.
Take a class
Take a time management class! Even better if it’s specifically related to creating a morning routine!
I highly recommend Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Mornings course.
It’s a 14 day course that’s well organized and presented in a logical way that isn’t overwhelming. And it’s not all about getting up earlier (although, that might be an important morning routine piece for you). Plus at $17, it’s very affordable!
You can learn more and purchase the course HERE. If you’re not sure this course is for you, you can get FREE access to Day 1 by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the landing page and filling in the form with your first name and email address.
Check out my post, 5 Things I Learned by Making Over My Mornings, to learn more.
Read a Book
I’m a big reader, and when I’m searching for information or answers I almost always turn to books first!
Here are a few I’ve read and found very helpful when tweaking my morning routine:
Time Management Mama by Sarah Korhnak and Beth Anne Schwamberger (the founders of Brilliant Business Moms).
Time Management Mama isn’t about routines specifically, but it helped me to determine my top priorities and passions and to focus my goals and action steps around them (one of which was having a better morning routine… go figure). It also gave me a hefty dose of hope and inspiration, made me smile, and sometimes even had me laughing out loud.
You can read my full Time Managememt Mama review here.
And you can snag your very own copy of Time Management Mama HERE!
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project chronicles Gretchen Rubin’s year-long project of trying to be happier. One task she took on? Making her bed!
Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
I just finished rereading Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise for the third time. I love it! And it provides a simple yet effective strategy for adding positive habits to your life (like the tasks included in a morning routine).
You can learn more about my experience with reading and implementing the techniques in Mini Habits in this post: How to Meet Your Goals…Every Time.
Creating and sticking to a morning routine isn’t always easy, but it will be much simpler if you know why you’re completing specific tasks and how those tasks relate to your passions and your priorities.
And that’s a wrap on 5 essential morning routine elements, why they matter, and how to find yours!
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Other Posts You Might Find Helpful
If you found today’s post helpful, you might also enjoy these posts:
Have you found any parts of your morning routine that are always present and essential? Let me know in the comments below (I might need to add a few items to my routine)!
Thanks for joining me today ~