There can be a lot of pressure to try to fit in as much as you can in the morning. Gurus flaunt the ideals of waking up before your kids. Journalling, exercising and doing some form of self-care before doing anything else.

Yet that doesn’t seem realistic.

For me, my house is not designed in a way that shuts rooms off from one another. If you played music in any room of the house, you could hear it from each and every other room. Except maybe the garage. So it’s not practical for me to be doing much before anyone in my house is awake. Even more so if were other people in my house, since I’m such a light sleeper.

It can be frustrating if you’ve tried different routines but none of them seem to stick. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to do all these things. And it’s often to the detriment of our mental health

And the answer to why you can’t make it work can be found in the tasks that you feel resistant towards.

Any time there is resistance toward a task we don’t want to do, it creates friction. And what is friction? It’s a conflict caused by a clash of wills, temperaments or opinions. If you find your morning routine tasks pointless, ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

Maximize Productivity with Anti-Mourning Routine

An anti-morning routine is an intentional decision not to have a structured or predetermined set of activities to follow upon waking up. 

It’s rejecting the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to starting your day that makes room for a willingness to embrace flexibility and spontaneity.

It can involve anything from sleeping in, taking time to relax and reflect, or engaging in creative activities before starting the workday. The main focus is on listening to your own needs and allowing for a more natural and organic start to your day.

Mornings can be a stressful time for many people, with the pressure to get ready and out the door on time. However, taking a more fluid approach to mornings can help make them more enjoyable and productive. This means having an open mind and being flexible with your daily routine.

By allowing yourself to be flexible with your morning routine, you will also benefit from increased productivity. Because you won’t feel as rushed or overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be done before you leave for work or school.

Additionally, this type of approach allows you to prioritize what needs to be done first so that you can make sure everything is taken care of in a timely manner.

Perhaps it’s not imperative that you have your coffee before school drop off.

Maybe you actually prefer going for a walk around sunset when you can all go as a family.

And it could be that you hate meditation.

What my mornings really look like

If I’m so anti-morning routines then I must be a night owl, right? I’m actually a morning person, an early bird.

When I wake up I’m usually ready to go. Hit the ground running and I’m ready to have a real conversation. Some people aren’t so lucky and need some extra time to wake up.

If I were to say I have a morning routine, it would look like this:

  • At 6.59 am alarm goes off on my watch (who uses an alarm clock these days?) and the first thing I do is a minute of long deep breaths prompted by my watch or the world’s shortest morning meditation.
  • grab my phone and check everything and anything. From checking every social media app to downloading the latest podcast episode. If I don’t feel like getting up yet I’ll keep scrolling. I know it’s not a great way to start the rest of the day, it’s a habit I’m working on.

And then, finally, when I really have to get up, I get up. But the time I get up tends to depend on the day of the week.

Once I’m out of bed the following things happen. 

  • go to the bathroom
  • get dressed
  • eat a healthy breakfast of Biscoff on toast
  • brush my teeth
  • make the bed
  • open my daughter’s blind to get her up for school
  • make my daughter’s school lunch
  • wash my face and maybe put on a face cream
  • make my daughter breakfast 
  • brush my daughter’s hair
  • put my shoes on

Then we leave for school at about 8.35 am

But those things above generally never happen in the same order each day. What I eat for breakfast often changes each day. And some days I don’t even have breakfast before I do the school run. Sometimes I have a shower as soon as I get out of bed.

Things people often put in a morning routine

There are a lot of great morning routine ideas out there. And while I like to stick to the essentials or the bare minimum, you might be here to find the ultimate morning routine.

Journalling or morning pages

I’m not sure how to best convey my feelings about journaling. I certainly dislike it but I have also experienced the benefits. So for me, journaling is a when I feel like it kinda thing. Not you must write 3 pages each morning kinda thing.

Exercise

Here is another love-hate relationship. I often remind myself that an hour of physical activity is only 4% of your day. And I often redo that math to remind myself that it’s correct, even when it doesn’t seem right. But I feel like if you are going to exercise you should do it for at least 30 minutes. I know it’s not a requirement, but then you often feel like you need a shower. So it may as well take an hour of your day. 

Meditate

This is another thing that I can’t get into. But just like journaling, I have seen the benefits. But I just feel like I don’t have a spare 20 minutes to sit and think (or not think).

Meditation can help you better manage the stresses of everyday life as well as making you more mindful.

Morning skincare routine

While I will admit that I have been trying to take better care of my skin lately (40 seems to be creeping up on me!). I don’t actually use the same products each day. I tend to pick and choose what I feel like and what I think my skin needs for the day. Plus I can’t think of many things worse than using a jade roller or Gua Sha or using oils each day.

Drink water

I know we all need to drink water. And I know it took me a long time to manage to drink half the recommended amount per day. But it’s not something I make sure I do in the morning. Sometimes I’ll have some water, and sometimes I don’t. But I make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Eat a home-cooked nourishing breakfast

I do not care for cooking much. And that certainly applies in the morning. I love seeing all these baked oatmeal recipes that make you feel like you’re eating chocolate cake for breakfast. But if I have to turn on my oven to make breakfast, it’s just not happening.

Avoid checking your phone

If I don’t check my phone in the morning, it frees up about 15-20 minutes of time. Which is decent. But then I find myself sitting in the car in the garage after dropping my daughter off at school just scrolling for an hour.

Write a to-do list

While I am a fan of a to-do list, it’s not something I do at the same time every day. And it’s not even something I do every day. 

I just don’t feel like getting up earlier in order to add any of these into what I do each morning.

Do all successful people have morning routines?

You’d be mostly right to assume that most successful people have a solid morning routine. And you’d be right in thinking they make more money. A study by The Sleep Judge found that on average, respondents with a consistent set of morning habits earned roughly $12,500 more per year than those without them.

But plenty of successful people don’t have a morning ritual or do tasks deemed as sacrilege: 

  • Financial guru Ramit Seth doesn’t have a meditation practice, instead choosing to check Instagram
  • Billionaire Elon Musk checks his emails upon waking
  • Oprah Winfrey relies on her circadian rhythm rather than an alarm for wake-up time
  • Gweneth Paltrow works out after checking her emails
  • Shark Tank host Barbara Corcoran writes her to-do list before she leaves the office for the evening

​Creating successful morning routines that work

The truth is, everyone has their own unique flow, and what works for one person may not work for another. So, instead of feeling guilty or inadequate for not adhering to a strict morning routine, why not embrace your own unique rhythm?

Maybe you’re not a morning person, and that’s okay. Maybe you prefer to exercise in the evening or have a leisurely breakfast instead of rushing out the door. The point is, there is no right or wrong way to start your day. The most important thing is that you do what works for you and sets you up for a productive and fulfilling day.

If you’re not sure if you have the time to add anything productive into your morning routine, time yourself. Time yourself every day for about a week doing each task that you want to do. At the end of the week, you should be able to spot patterns in how long your tasks take.

I know that on the mornings that my daughter has breakfast before school, everything else seems to take longer. When she skips breakfast we are ready to leave with a lot of time to spare. So I know I have a bit of extra time on those days. And I know what I can fit into that extra time. Sometimes it’s starting a load of washing before we leave for school. On other days it’s reading a few pages of a book. 

If you want to include more in your morning but don’t know where to start, think about what you want more of and what you want less of.

  • less time on your phone
  • more time with your partner
  • hit the snooze button less
  • adjust your wake up time so you can see the sunrise
  • to practice perfecting your pancake recipe
  • get enough sleep
  • create good habits like flossing or taking vitamin C or cold water therapy
  • leave for work earlier to get a better carpark
  • wake up an hour earlier on work days to work on your side hustle or personal goals
  • draft replies in your work email to send later

An anti-mourning routine can save you time and boost productivity by focusing on only essential tasks. This helps to eliminate unnecessary activities, allowing you to efficiently utilize your day.

By letting go of the pressure to conform to a “perfect” morning routine, you can reduce stress and anxiety and focus on what really matters – your own well-being and happiness. So, whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, embrace your own unique flow and start your day on your own terms. Remember, the key to your best morning routine is not about following someone else’s blueprint but finding what works for you and sticking with it.

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