One thing I have learned about myself is that I am happier, more productive and efficient, and just function better in general when I have a routine that I follow.
I think I spent about half of my adult life coming to this realisation, that I not only enjoy but actually need some kind of routine. The younger version of me seemed to think routines were suffocating creativity-killing responsibilities for boring people. I wanted to stay up all night doing whatever I felt like in the moment, eating whenever the urge struck me, following whatever whim showed up in my sleep deprived hungry young brain. It was fun, but not very productive, not even a little bit healthy and actually totally exhausting. Learning the lesson of having a time to sleep, a time to eat, a time to work, and a time to play has been a long hard road that I still stray from sometimes.
Yes, I also still enjoy spontaneity. Yes, I am that girl who will call you one day and announce all of a sudden that I am on going on a big trip, moving to a new city or marrying some person you have never met! But, there is a time to be spontaneous and there is a time to follow a routine. I have learned about myself that I get anxious when things are just happening in no particular order for no particular reason at no particular time for days and days on end. This stresses me out! I like knowing that when I get up in the morning there will be coffee, for sure, without a doubt. It helps me sleep at night. And don’t get me started about sleep! Yes, occasionally I still enjoy burning the midnight oil when I’m caught up in a particularly exciting moment of creativity. But 99% of the time I would rather enjoy being awake and feeling rested as I watch the morning sun rise over my majestic river. I am a morning person. There. I said it.
But I didn’t always know that I would thrive under a routine. I actually took a life altering online workshop that taught me how to develop a morning routine and showed me that I needed one. I can’t even remember what it was called now or where I would find it online, if it even still exists. But I remember it taught me to set an alarm and immediately leap to the floor when it rang in the morning, clap my hands twice and say “It’s a great morning!” or something like that before running to the bathroom, brushing my teeth and saying affirmations to myself in the mirror. It was dramatic! And definitely overkill! But it worked and I did it long enough that my internal clock seemed to evolve and I started to understand the value of starting my day earlier. I just needed something to get me out of bed and going, and that exercise worked. Becoming a morning person has been one of the most productive and efficient changes I have ever made in my life.
My Weekday Morning Routine Now
So I don’t do all that clapping and running stuff anymore, but I do still very much have a morning routine. I like to have lots of time before I leave the house in the morning. There are certain bodily functions (for lack of a prettier term) that I want to get out of the way in my own bathroom before I go anywhere else. These things happen every morning usually and I absolutely CANNOT do them publicly. So yes, I don’t like to run around clapping in the morning, I like a more leisurely pace.
On weekdays my alarm sounds on my phone at 6 am. I don’t need to be at the office until 8:30 and I only live about 10 minutes away. If I had a late night before I might hit snooze and get up when the 6:15 alarm sounds. If I had a super late night before I might hit snooze again and get up when the 6:30 alarm sounds. There are alarms every 15 minutes through 7:15 am, just in case, but I am always up by 6:30. If I fell asleep early or had a particularly good rest I will wake up all on my own around 5 am. And when that happens (usually a few times a week) I will lay in bed checking social media on my phone for a half hour or so and then shut off all the alarms before they sound and get up around 5:30. Still other times my bladder is the alarm that tells me to get up and that can happen anytime after about 4:40 am. If I feel alert and rested I will just stay up.
After I have my morning pee. I head to the kitchen where I fill the kettle with water and turn it on to boil. While it boils I will put together my lunch bag for work and get my breakfast. Usually I will make a sandwich using some pre-made filling I have in the fridge, then add an apple or two, a protein bar, pudding, a little bag of nuts, some raisins … it depends what I have on hand, but the process requires very little thought and only takes about a minute to complete. I usually haven’t eaten everything from the day before so there will already be some snacks in the bag.
For breakfast I pretty much always have cereal and fruit. I like to make up steel cut oats on the weekend and then just microwave a bowl every morning throughout the week, but lately I’ve been doing cold boxed cereal, a mix of Kashi autumn wheat biscuits and Love Grown Sea Stars with Almond milk, a fresh banana and some frozen blueberries defrosted in the microwave. I will put this together while my coffee drips. And when everything is ready I head to the living room with breakfast, coffee, water, and my daily vitamins. I’ll plug in the tv and put on YouTube, usually the opening hot topics segment from the Wendy Williams show the previous day, or if she’s on hiatus I’ll watch something from my subscription list, last night’s The National, yesterday’s The View, the latest video from Happy Healthy Vegan, Plantriotic, or High Carb Hannah or maybe something from one of Abraham’s talks. I watch and eat.
When I’m finished eating, some mornings I will go on social media or write a blog post but most mornings I just keep watching television and play games on my phone. Around 7:30 or so I will head to the bathroom to shower, brush my teeth, and start getting ready to leave. After the bathroom I will heat the kettle again while I dress and then I’ll drip a cup of coffee into my travel mug while I make sure I have everything in my big bag and either call a taxi or get my boyfriend to start the car. I leave for work between 8 and 8:15 depending on how quickly things are coming together and how late I waited before showering.
This is my current morning routine, Monday through Friday. But this week I want to start implementing some small changes to make it more productive and efficient.
New to my Morning Routine
I can rid myself of a lot of house cleaning anxiety, lighten my overall workload and enjoy a more organised and clean home if I just add a few little things into my regular morning routine. I learned this from the FLYlady.
So this week I am going to:
- make the bed as soon as I get up.
- swish the toilet and swipe the sink while I am in there after my shower.
- take a few minutes to prep my day in my planner.
- quickly (like 2 minutes each) Swiffer all the floors
- and run a duster over shelves and tables.
Just five little things I can easily sneak into my morning routine everyday, it will take no more than 15 minutes to complete all of them, and likely closer to 10 minutes. So I turn off YouTube as soon as I’m done eating … or maybe I don’t turn it on at all. I certainly don’t play games on my phone. I really don’t have to give anything up, just use my existing time more wisely and just by doing these few little things my life will be easier. I will notice a difference.
Wish me luck! I will keep you posted as I implement these changes and add more things to my morning routine. Here’s to a fabulous week!