Developing A Morning Routine

A Morning Routine To Have An Intentional Day

 

Feel free to skip this post if you have a morning routine already. I’m writing this because I have observed some colleagues who don’t have a morning routine which seems to lead to a more chaotic day. Those that have them appear more calm and collected.

The purpose of a morning routine is so that you can outline your day instead of your day outlining you. In a society filled with advertisement, tasks and responsibilities you need a plan in order to navigate your day. If you don’t have a plan someone else will make a plan for you; sometimes without you knowing it.

Morning Routine Methods

Some people are the mental type and some the literal type. The mental person will most likely need to find a way to decrease distractions and think through their morning routine. The literal person (like myself) will need to write things out or speak things into a microphone (‘speak to themselves’ without appearing crazy).

A morning routine can be as simple as saying exactly what you’re going to do for the day and thinking it through step by step. In doing so often times you will realize what’s important and what’s not. You will of course recognize where your priorities are by reflecting on how you schedule your day. This is one reason I like the writing out method, the journaling style of  a morning routine. Reading old entries is also beneficial to hone this skill.

Write Without Filtering Your Thoughts

I like to start by just writing out everything I feel, everything I’m thinking. Then I write a brief reflection of the previous day. I do very little filtering, I think it’s important to give your mind that mental freedom.

If you are the mental type mentioned above, then you may enjoy going for a morning walk and thinking about your day ahead. Visualize going into the shower, prepping your food for the day perhaps, walking into work, preparing your work-space, maybe checking patient messages, then seeing your first patient etc.

I like writing this out, something like: I’m feeling a little anxious and annoyed this morning. Maybe I didn’t sleep very well last night or maybe I’m stressing about something. Nothing major is going on so I’ll just have to be a little more aware/present today so that I don’t give off a lot of negative energy. I definitely want to make it to the gym today and I also want to email Dr. K about giving our department that talk in November. I don’t have anything else important that I need to do for the day. After I shower I’m gonna pack up the food I made last night, get on the bike around 10:20am which will give me time to cruise to work without stress. I’m gonna listen to the rest of that audiobook. I’ll hang out at the gym and just do whatever, either climb or lift, don’t feel like planning anything specific. I’ll shower there and try to head out by 12:30pm. I have scrubs at my desk so no need to pick up new ones. I’ll go for a walk on my dinner break instead of staying in and I’m gonna send those emails off right before I start my evening shift. I’ll bike home and try to be in bed by midnight. The past few days I’ve gone to bed at 1pm and I feel groggy in the morning. I’ll skip coffee after 5pm today…  

And honestly I don’t hold anything back… well for this post of course I will since my craziness is nobody else’s business. In general I just start writing and I try to write out how I feel, what I’m thinking, and if anything major is going on. And I try to plan 1-2 things in my day. On days when I start writing a lot of things out I know that I need to curb it otherwise I’ll stress myself out.

Wrapping Up Your Morning Routine Before Bedtime

I also like writing once before going to bed. I briefly browse what I wrote in the morning just to see how close I’m getting to my ‘plan’. As humans I believe that we tend to think the most realistic right after waking up. We then tend to be way too idealistic after coffee and showering. Then we get overwhelmed/stressed by mid-day. By evening we build up a little anxiety which isn’t usually well disposed off which leads to bad behavior by night-time. This could be binge eating, picking fights with loved ones, procrastinating important work etc.

The Opposite Of A Morning Routine – Surefire Way To Burn Out

Avoid waking up last minute with just enough time to get ready, throw a snack in your bag/purse, rush out of the door, speed through the streets to get to work and arrive late at your clinic. Mindless activities, especially repetitive ones, dull your senses and mask your underlying emotions.

It might sound cheesy but stepping into the shower intentionally, feeling the water hit your skin, enjoying the pleasure of drying your skin with a towel and stepping onto the cushy bathmat are all ways you can become more present/aware.

In Summary

I find a morning routine is a way to meditate and take charge of your day. It will hopefully give you the sense that you can dictate your emotions, anticipate stressful moments and accomplish the things that are important to you without getting overwhelmed. This takes practice so chose your method of either typing things out, writing it out on paper, dictating it into a recorder or having a conversation in your head about it.

 

What’s your morning routine like?

Are you more the mental type or the literal type?

Share your thoughts...