Build Your Own Morning Routine (27 habit ideas + a worksheet)

I think everyone should have a morning routine. Why? Oh, let me count the reasons why (there are five).

Why you need to have a morning routine

1. It sets the tone for the rest of the day

If you wake up late, rush to get ready, and sprint out the door, you’ll start the day on a frenzied note and harm your productivity for the rest of the day. On the other hand, if you start out cool, calm, and collected, AND get some important things done before you’ve even left the house, you’ll feel pretty freaking confident as you head into your day.

2. It wakes you up

Pretty much everyone feels sleepy in the morning. I’m not sure how much sleep you would have to get to always feel alert in the morning, but I’m guessing it’s a number that’s pretty unattainable in modern society. You don’t want to slog off to school or work when you’re still in a daze, and your morning routine helps you snap out of that.

3. It gives you a quiet space to see what’s ahead of you

It’s like setting out all of your ingredients and reading the recipe before you start cooking. Instead of jumping into your day with no awareness of what you actually need to accomplish, your morning routine allows you not only to figure out exactly what needs to be done, but when you’ll be able to do it.

4. It maximizes the effects of habit stacking

Allow me to explain what “habit stacking” is. Say you want to introduce a new habit - meditation. If you resolve merely to meditate at some point during the day, you’re less likely to actually follow through with that intention than if you connect the meditation habit to an already existing habit. Perhaps you already brush your teeth every morning (hopefully you do). Schedule your meditation every morning right after you brush your teeth, and your chances of success skyrocket. That’s habit stacking.

When you create your morning routine, you are essentially stacking and stacking a bunch of different positive habits, each habit being the foundation for the subsequent one.

5. It minimizes the amount of decisions you need to make

That doesn’t mean that you’re not mindful or aware of what you’re doing, it just means that you have a crystal-clear plan and all you have to do when you wake up is follow those steps on auto-pilot mode. It is said that we all have a limited amount of decision-making energy to use throughout the day, and you don’t want to waste that right away on silly morning problems.

What should your morning routine be?

There are so many ideas for habits that you can incorporate into your morning routine and it really just depends on what YOU personally feel you need in the morning.

That’s why instead of sharing with you the “ideal” morning routine and promising that “the most successful billionaires in the world” all follow this routine, I’m going to be real with you and just give you a long list of morning routine elements to pick and choose from. Sound good? Let’s get on with it.

P.S. I highly recommend writing out your morning routine, which is why I put together a worksheet you can print out so that you can actually circle your favorite elements, write out your routine, and commit to it! Grab it at the bottom of this post!

*INSERT GRAPHIC FOR WORKSHEET HERE*

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A successful morning routine should set you up for a productive day. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your day goes as smoothly as possible.

Take a look at your plan for the day

Sometimes it’s just as simple as reminding yourself of what has to be done. Making to-do lists is all fine and good as long as you actually look at those to-do lists. The to-do list won’t magically do your tasks for you!

Set 3 priorities for the day

I think defining your priorities is so dang important that I dedicated two days of the Build Productive Habits in 30 Days challenge to it. We’re not superhuman; we can’t do absolutely everything. The only way you can ensure that you get the most important things done is to declare what the most important things are and schedule them in FIRST.

Spend some time reading a book

I think non-fiction and fiction books are both great, but I prefer non-fiction in the morning. Starting your day by learning something or picking up a bit of inspiration just starts your day on a productive note and gives you some ideas for how you can improve your day.

Choose “the one thing”

So you’ve graduated from setting 3 daily priorities. You might be ready to move on to the ultimate in productivity - “the one thing”. The ONE Thing is a book by Gary Keller that is all about the idea of choosing the one most important task. I haven’t personally read the book but it has received rave reviews and you might want to adopt this strategy.

Take care of one task that you’re dreading

I don’t recommend this for everyone. Personally, I like to completely finish my morning routine before I move on to doing any actual work. But for others, scheduling a bit of time into their morning routine that is dedicated to getting a head start on a dreaded project is a very valuable use of their time. Try it and see if it works for you.

Review your goals

Just like to-do lists, goals don’t work unless you keep looking at them, find ways to work towards them, and adjust them regularly. I like to look at my 3 goals for the month as I plan out my day.

Your morning routine also has to include the steps you need to take care of yourself

Brush your teeth

Please.

Wash your face

There’s no need to go all “10-step Korean skincare routine” - unless you want to! Find what works for your skin, budget, and time constraints. At the very least, splash your face with some cold water to wake yourself up.

Shower

While I recommend a short cold shower, you might want to (especially if you work out in the morning) do the whole soap and shampoo thing.

Drink some water.

Ah, refreshing. Opinions vary on whether you should drink it warm or cold, with lemon or without, but really, just drink some water.

Make your morning drink

Most of us have that drink we always start our day with. Whether it’s coffee, tea, matcha, or an adaptogenic latte (choose your level of extra-ness). You might depend on it for a dose of caffeine, or perhaps it’s just a comforting part of your routine. Either way, make sure to write down this step so that you can figure out the most efficient time to prepare it. This is my personal matcha recipe.

Your morning routine should be a quiet space that you can use to sort out your thoughts and get in the right state of mind.

Journal

You can incorporate Julia Cameron’s morning pages technique to dump all of your thoughts out, follow a journaling prompt to give you some direction, or simply write a few sentences to give yourself a pep talk.

Meditate

This is a great way to practice focus before you start the day. Having that control over your thoughts will serve you in situations where your mind is racing. Just sit still and breathe for a few minutes or find a guided meditation you like (I like to use an app).

Take deep breaths

If you’re not quite sold on the whole meditation things, just take a couple of deep breaths. The extra dose of oxygen will do your mind and body good. (Deep breaths are also a great thing to do throughout the day).

Write down 3 things you’re grateful for

Gratitude is everything. Personally, I have reframed this as a list of 3 things that I’m excited about for that day, but it’s the same idea. Focus on the positives, and your day will instantly brighten up.

Listen to music

Music is incredibly powerful, I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of that. I like Spotify’s “Wake Up Happy” playlist. Whether you prefer nature sounds or heavy metal in the morning, or anything in between, choose something that brings you joy.

Repeat your affirmations

Got affirmations? Your morning routine is a great time to say them.

Smile

This reminds of me of Adriene (Yoga with Adriene). She often tricks you into smiling by asking you to “lift the corners of your mouth”, and it’s amazing how much of an impact it has on your practice. Try smiling at yourself in the mirror, and see how it affects your state of mind.

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Your morning routine should wake you up and energize you.

Exercise

Whether you’re a morning workout person or not (I most certainly am not), I highly recommend doing at least a little bit of exercise. Try doing a set number of push-ups or jumping jacks or crunches or anything and then increase that number as it gets easy. Getting your blood pumping and your muscles burning will feel amazing, and you’ll work your self-discipline muscle.

Stretch or do yoga

In addition to more intense exercise, you should stretch out your muscles and get yourself warmed up for the day. You can create a little stretching routine for yourself, or just do what I do and do the stretches that feel good ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Take a cold shower

I talked about why I started doing this in this video. It’s quite a challenge, and not the most pleasant thing to do on a winter morning. But you step out feeling alive and energized and putting on warm socks right after is the best.

Go on a walk

Preferably outdoors, if your environment allows for it. Try doing it without your music/podcast/audiobook and just give your mind some space. Focus on the sounds and sights around you.

Wake up without snoozing

The very first step to any morning routine is, obviously, waking up. If you want to maximize your day, though, you should challenge yourself to wake up without pressing that oh-so-tempting snooze button. Slipping back into a light sleep will only leave you feeling drowsier during the day.

Get as much light as you can

Open the curtains, if you’re lucky enough to have natural light. Otherwise, turn on the good old-fashioned electric lights. The dose of light will help you feel awake.

Your morning routine should include the tasks you have to do to ensure you have a successful day

Get dressed

That’s a given

Pack your bags

Or do this the night before to save time and stress!

Eat breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day.

[Insert whatever else you have to do in the morning]


This is definitely one of the longest blog posts I’ve ever written! I hope it convinced you that you should have a morning routine and gave you plenty of ideas to either build or improve your own.

To make the process easier, I created this free printable worksheet that you can use to plan out the morning routine that will make YOUR life better. All you have to do to get it is use the form below. I hope you find it helpful!

What’s the most essential part of your morning routine?

Happy Monday,
Beatrice x

15 Hacks for a More Efficient Morning Routine

I used to not have any sort of routine whatsoever. In middle school, I’d waste time at school, smash through homework in no particular or logical order, then brush my teeth and jump into bed as soon as I was done. Then the next morning I’d get up as late as I could to capitalize on a few extra minutes of sleep, have a rushed breakfast, go to school, and repeat it all.

I can’t even imagine doing that now, to be honest. My morning and evening routines are like the bookends to my days and they keep my life from falling apart. Whatever happens in-between my morning stretches and my evening journaling, whether it’s an uber-productive day of conquering projects or a sad and unmotivated day, my morning and evening routines are easy to accomplish and bring me back to a positive mindset.

These days, even if I sleep through my alarm and wake up late, I still find a way to do my morning routine. Sure, I might have to omit some steps and shorten others, but I’d rather skip breakfast and eat a yogurt on the ride to school than completely skip my morning routine.

Because having routines has had such a positive impact on my life, I am 100% a believer in the power of a good morning routine (and so are some of the most successful people in the world). In order to help YOU put together your own morning routine that is efficient, energizing, and grounding, I wrote out this list of hacks that’ll help you start each day in the best possible way whether you’re a morning person or not :)

1. Wake up early

This might seem counterintuitive since these hacks are meant to help you make your morning routine as short and efficient as possible, but your first step should definitely be to make sure that you wake up early enough that you can get through your morning routine with as little stress as possible. Rushing through it will start your day on a high-stress note, and it’s hard to bounce back from that.

2. Fill your room with light

If you wake up to sunlight, consider yourself lucky. You can throw open the curtains and enjoy Mother Nature’s beautiful light source. But even if school/work require you to wake up at an ungodly hour before the sun has even risen, you need to resort to artificial lighting and fill your bedroom with light in order to tell your body it’s time to wake up.

3. Oil pull while you do other things

Oil pulling, an ancient Indian practice of swishing oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, has been getting more and more popular. This is a great article from Healthline on what health benefits have been proven about this and which are simply unfounded. As I mentioned in my morning routine video, I’ve noticed that my teeth are whiter, all of my dental check-ups have gone great, and it’s become an integral part of my routine, so I see no reason to stop doing it. You need to decide for yourself whether it’s right for you.

Okay, now that I’ve explained what oil pulling is, here’s how to hack it. Figure out when the most efficient time to do it is. I start it as soon as I wake up, so I can keep swishing as I put in my contacts and stretch. That gives me a good 10-15 minutes of oil pulling during which I am also doing other things. You might want to oil pull while you shower, or while you journal. Find what works for you, just don’t sit there staring off into space for 15 minutes swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. That’s a little weird.

4. Don’t use the snooze button

Ah, the snooze button. I’m so guilty of embracing it a bit too much. I actually don’t even use the snooze button, I just set little 1-3 minute timers and then end up staying in bed for another half hour or so. Don’t be like me. Snoozing your alarm clock actually makes you more drowsy during the day. Plus, you waste a lot of time lying in bed, not getting any quality sleep but also not doing anything productive, either. So just jump out of bed, no matter how much your body doesn’t want to. I know it’s difficult, so the next two hacks might help you achieve this.

5. Put your alarm on the other side of the room

Don’t worry, I’m sure you can find an outlet so that you can still charge your phone. Just make sure to leave it somewhere far enough away that you’ll have to physically stand up and walk to it to turn it off. Getting up and moving around will reduce your drowsiness instantly and make it easier not to crawl back into bed.

6. Use a sleep cycle tracking app

If you just can’t get yourself out of bed, you should first check how much sleep you’re getting. You can’t expect to sustainably get by on a few hours a night, that’s just not how it works (as much as I wish that sleep could work that way). But if you’re clocking a decent amount of hours of sleep, you might want to look into sleep cycles.

Sleep cycles, or the cycle of all of the stages of sleep that we go through, generally last 90 minutes. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle brings you out of deep sleep, leaving you very tired and drowsy. Waking up between sleep cycles rouses you in your lightest sleep, making it easier to wake up. Apps like this one use your phone’s microphone to track your movements at night and wake you up when you are in your lightest stage of sleep.

7. Prep your breakfast ahead of time (or as much of it as you can)

Prepping your breakfast ahead can save you a lot of time in the morning, especially if you like to have things like steel-cut oats or barley (I don’t even go there, it takes way too long). Plus, you might have an easier time getting out of bed if you know you have a delicious breakfast waiting for you.

Things like overnight oats or chia pudding are an obvious choice, but you can also bake some granola, or make some baked oats or baked eggs with veggies. I have a post with a bunch of healthy breakfast ideas if you need inspiration.

8. Lay your clothes out the night before

I know everyone gives this tip and it sounds like something you’d do in elementary school, but seriously. I don’t know about you but my brain just doesn’t function very well in the morning. I try on three different outfits, make a mess, declare that I have nothing to wear, and end up just wearing a sweatshirt and leggings.

Decide on your outfit the night before and your morning will go so much more smoothly. I like doing this during a Pomodoro break the evening before because when my brain is alert it usually just takes a few minutes to pick out something to wear and it’s a creative way to use my brain that then makes it easier to jump back into whatever I was working on before I took a break.

9. Take a cold shower to energize you

I recently started doing this. Oh boy. The first time I tried it, it was hard to breathe and I asked myself the entire time why I thought this would be a good idea. I assure you, though, it feels great once it’s over. As your body temperature goes back up, it mimics the natural rise in temperature that occurs upon waking and helps you feel more refreshed, thus making the rest of your morning routine go more smoothly!

10. Get your heart pumping with some exercise

You definitely don’t need to do a full workout. I get it, I’m not a morning workout person at all, and that’s fine. But even if you do your daily workout in the evening, you can’t miss out on the benefits of breaking a little bit of a sweat at the start of the day. It wakes you up, puts you in a good mood, and just sets you up to conquer the rest of the challenges in your day.

Really lacking time? Do 20 jumping jacks. Anything helps. No excuses.

11. Drink your coffee/tea/hot lemon water while you journal or plan your day

Multitasking is generally frowned upon because it’s pretty much common knowledge now that there’s no such thing as real multi-tasking and your brain is actually just switching back and forth between tasks. But oil pulling and drinking your morning drink are exceptions. Honestly, how much mental effort does that take?

It’s all about building these things into your routine in the most efficient way. As an example, have hot lemon water every other day, and I drink that while I am journaling and planning my day. That way it doesn’t get in the way of anything else - I don’t have to delay any step of my routine to finish my drink.

So whether you drink coffee, tea, matcha, lemon water, or just plain old water in the morning, make sure to do it at a time that it makes sense.

12. Decide what your top tasks for the day will be

A great morning routine should set you up for an amazing day, and I personally think that one of the best ways to ensure your success is to define your priorities for the day. If you could only complete three tasks today, which would they be? I think this is so important, in fact, that I even dedicated two days of the Build Productive Habits in 30 Days challenge to it.

13. Make your bed

Forget about tucking in the sheets the way they would be at a luxury hotel. It really doesn’t matter. All you really have to do is smooth out your sheets and place your pillow where it’s supposed to be. All done!

By physically making your bed, you are committing to staying out of it. It’s a signal that the day has started. A clean bed is also one less distraction in the corner of your eye, reminding you of something you didn’t do. This can really throw off your day, especially if you work form home. Tim Ferriss highly recommends this daily practice and he explained it better than I could, so if you’re still not convinced, here explained it in his book, Tools of Titans.

14. Do something active while you brush your teeth

Three cheers for productive multi-tasking! Brushing your teeth is a pretty mindless activity. I would advise against scrolling through your phone, though. Rather, you can do some squats while you brush your teeth (look at you, combining hacks #10 and #14 into one - productivity ftw). Sometimes I just walk outside if the weather is nice, and enjoy the fresh air while I brush. Although let’s be honest, I live in Wisconsin, so that’s a rarity.

15. Have your day planned out already

Planning your day is an essential part of any morning routine but you really shouldn’t be creating a daily plan from scratch. All of these energizing steps of your morning routine might not be able to get you out of that drowsy mental state, and it’s practically impossible to create a good to-do list when you’re still half in dreamland.

Find some way to make sure that your day is already planned out so that when you wake up, all you have to do is review your to-do list and possibly set some priorities. Otherwise you might find yourself just staring at a blank piece of paper feeling overwhelmed.

Whether you plan out your week on Sunday (that’s what I do) or write out a to-do list every evening for the following day, just make sure you wake up to a to-do list that only needs minor edits.

BONUS: Follow the same routine every time

What you do during your morning routine isn’t as important as you actually doing it. As I explained in the introduction, a good morning routine is like a bookend to your day. It should be a simple set of steps to follow that’ll get you ready for the day and give you something easy to accomplish to get the ball rolling for the day.

Write it out somewhere, tape it to your wall, track it on a habit tracker - do whatever you have to do to ensure that you develop it into a consistent habit. Hey, the world’s most successful people agree that it’s worth it :)


I hope you enjoyed these hacks for your morning routine! Let me know what you would add to the list. I LOVE hearing about other people’s routines, because everyone needs something different and honestly I just think it’s fascinating to hear about how other people work.

Of course, you can’t forget the twin to your morning routine - bedtime routines are also uber-important, but this post would have gotten exceedingly long had I included bedtime hacks. I do, however, have a downloadable worksheet that’ll guide you through putting together your own relaxing, grounding bedtime routine and give you tons of ideas for steps that you can incorporate into it!

With a good morning AND evening routine in place, you’re basically ready to conquer the world :)

What’s YOUR favorite part of your morning routine?

Thank you for reading!
Beatrice x