How I Formed My Morning Routine

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June 28, 2014
Haiii there friends! Notice anything different around here? I've been practicing digitizing my hand-lettering and I'm working to incorporate it more into my designs. Not to be all egotistical and all, but I think it looks rather smashing. I especially like my new signature (scroll down and see it!).

Anyways, today I want to talk a little bit about morning routines. We all have one, even if it's just rolling out of bed five minutes before you need to be at work. But the interesting thing to me is how I've found that my morning routine--what I do for the first hour or so that I'm awake--shapes my entire day.

On mornings where I sleep late, exhausted after a busy night of work, stumble out of bed at 11 and don't shower for an hour, I find that the rest of my day is similarly unfocused and honestly, wasted. On those days, I never really do anything until I have to get ready for my night at work. But not only am I unproductive, I just feel badly. I know it's been said before that sleeping in late can keep you from being productive, but have you ever noticed the impact of sleeping late on your mood? The way you interact with others? Even the choice of what you wear (and therefore, how you carry and present yourself)? 

In the summers, morning routines are especially hard for me to form. I work nights, until about 11:30 or 12 every night. And I often find that I'm so wound up from talking to customers and being cheerful all night that sometimes it can take me hours to feel "ready" to get to bed. So I've struggled to balance the two sides of my day so that they don't ruin the middle. 

I've found that first, I have to focus on calming my mind so I can sleep as soon as possible at night. In the past, I would start a blog post when I get home, maybe do some cleaning, and before I knew it, it would be three or four in the morning. Now, I choose to quiet my mind, stay away from active technology (meaning no blogging--I just can't say no to my Netflix habit), do some yoga if I need and settle in bed as soon as possible. I like to take my ride home from work as a chance to clear my mind of all things work and transition into planning for sleep.

The other key part is setting an alarm. I know it sounds so terrible not fun, but I'm really a big believer in setting an alarm everyday, even if you set it for noon. I set my alarm to allow me seven and a half hours of sleep, which I have found is my sweet spot of waking up rested but not groggy and lazy. I set a second alarm clock for 30 minutes later. If I wake up with the first alarm and don't feel rested, I'll go back to sleep until the second. But I've found that I don't even use the second alarm most of the time. 

Lastly, I like to make my plan for the day (or at least until lunch) first thing in the morning or right before I go to bed. I like to choose 2-4 big things to get done (weed, write a blog post, exercise, go to the grocery store, etc) and then list a few reminders for smaller things (i.e. reply to a certain email or catch up on my blog feed). I make sure to add at least one item for something I'm looking forward to about my day.

Here's a peek at my morning/night routine:

12:00 am // Get home from work, get ready for bed, watch some Netflix.
1:00 am // Turn off all technology, lights, etc, and go to sleep.
8:30 am // First alarm goes off. Relax in bed or go back to sleep.
9:00 am // Second alarm. Get up. Brush teeth, wash face, etc.
9:15 am // Breakfast. I'm not a huge breakfast person, but even a yogurt reminds me that my day has begun.
9:30 am // Blog or exercise/shower. I mostly alternate days, but some days I get ambitious and do both.
10:30 am // Begin my to-do list.

So even though I don't get up all that early because of working nights, scheduling out my mornings has helped me stay productive all day long.

Now, I want to hear from you! What do your mornings look like? If you want to write your own Morning Diaries post, please leave a link!

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