How To Create A Morning Routine

how to create a morning routine

Let’s take a whistlestop tour of how to create a morning routine.

I never used to be big on a morning routine, but especially since I started working from home, it became a lot more important to set me up for the day. Since a certain pandemic, that has also probably become the case for many of you.

I am working until quite late at night and I start my day very early. My normal workday starts at 5 AM. So I need to be super conscious of how I set myself up, and where my time is going, and make sure I do that with my health and fitness still in check.

What My Morning Routine Used To Be

What I used to do before is:

  • let the alarm go off
  • roll out of bed
  • start checking my phone
  • grab some coffee
  • keep checking my phone
  • and then eventually get on with my day.

There wasn’t really any proper structure to it. And I ended up finding that I was actually spending a lot of time scraping around for the rest of the day.

And then on another podcast, I was listening to, they talked about morning routine and I took some ideas and applied them myself.

I’m going to talk you through my routine, what I’m doing and why.

And then I’m going to talk you through some other ideas of what you can look at doing too.

My Current Morning Routine

I’m going to talk you through my routine, what I’m doing and why.

And then I’m going to talk you through some other ideas of what you can look at doing too.

Light Alarm Clock

First up, I use a light alarm clock, so it simulates daylight.

It’ll gradually get brighter over a 30-minute period or however long you want it for. And then once it’s hit full brightness, that’s when the audio alarm will start gradually and then build up to normal volume.

It means that you’re waking up gently instead of that sudden harsh beeping sound, which is going to leave you groggy and still feeling tired for hours afterwards.

There are plenty to choose from but I have always been a fan of the Lumie Sunrise Alarm.

Leave The Phone In A Separate Room

I guess this overlaps with an evening routine. I’ve started leaving my phone in a separate room overnight.

Before I’d set my alarm on my phone and then I would get up, reach for my phone, and switch the alarm off.

And somehow just out of habit, immediately check my emails, Facebook, Instagram, whatever.

I can’t do that anymore. It’s made a big difference to my mindset and how I start my day.

The first week or so it felt really weird.

I had to time myself – so I would wait for an hour, and once an hour was up I would take a look at my phone and my reaction was almost always “Meh, I didn’t miss anything.”

And then it gradually built up to an hour and a half and then up to two hours.

It’s worth noting that I am in a fortunate position where I live with the most important people in my life. If I know they’re all home, I’m not going to need to be contactable in the middle of the night for an emergency.

If, however, you’ve got parents or kids or relatives and you want to be contactable just in case, this might not work for you.

You could get a basic no-feature phone to use for emergencies as an option if you wanted to try this.


The third thing is, I fill up a bottle of water before I go to bed, leave it on my bedside table and then neck it first thing in the morning.

I’m not too familiar with the science or studies behind the benefits of water first thing in the morning, but it was recommended by someone, I tried it, and I was feeling good. So I stuck with it.

I’m not a big fan of cold water, so room temperature works for me.

Make My Bed

Next, I make my bed. I might not be planning on leaving my room right away, but as soon as I am up, my bed gets made.

It is one box ticked for productivity, my room looks tidy, and it removes the temptation to crawl back in.

So it sets you on your way to a productive mindset for the day.


I keep a yoga mat in the room, and I’ll spread it out on the floor. I’ve got an Amazon Echo in my room so I can say “Alexa, set a time for 5 minutes.”

Then I will sit with a good strong posture, close my eyes, focus on my breathing, and meditate for those 5 minutes.

I still don’t really know how to meditate. So what I’ll just do is focus on my breathing:

  • 4 count inhale
  • 4 count hold
  • 4 count exhale
  • 4 count hold

And I have Alexa running the timer for me.

And it clears my head, clears my thoughts and puts me in the right frame of mind to actually tackle whatever I’m going to be dealing with it.


I’ve read some studies and articles saying that you shouldn’t have coffee for 60-90 minutes after you get up, but it is my one vice in the morning, so I am not compromising on it.


All of the above takes me 15-20 minutes, so then I will spend 40-45 minutes reading.

Ideally, paper books. But that doesn’t always happen so I’ll fire up the Kindle app on my iPad and go with that.

I don’t have any social networking apps or my email account connected to my iPad so it is purely for deep, productive work.

Write A To-Do List

After spending some time reading, I will write my short to-do list for today.

Some people recommend doing this in the evening before you go to bed but that will drop my mind straight back into work mode, so it is a no-go for me.

I used to write extremely long to-do lists with a lot of tasks but then would end up just picking and choosing what I want to do rather than what I needed to do.

Now my to-do list is just 3 big, main tasks that I need to get done, and that’s it.

A Note On Morning Routines

After that, I will start my day.

A structured morning routine like that might not work for everyone, but there are some ideas in the above that might help you establish yours.

Other Morning Routine Ideas

I just compiled a list of good ideas – I haven’t tried a lot of these, so can’t comment on them, but they may be something to explore if you’re looking for inspiration.

  • Stretching, mobility or yoga to warm up your body and muscles
  • Some deep breathing exercises
  • Journaling, affirmations, or writing things you’re grateful for
  • Watch, read, or listen to something that makes you smile or laugh
  • You could take it slow, practise mindfulness and just enjoy the morning stillness
  • Something therapeutic, like colouring
  • Read something motivational or inspiring, or fiction – whatever is going to set you up for the day

I have read about taking cold showers before, as it gets something really challenging out of the way, so you feel like the rest of your day is easier.

But as someone who is cold pretty much all of the time, I was never, in a million years, going to subject myself to that.

What Not To Do In Your Morning Routine

No 2 people are alike, and no 2 people are going to enjoy the same morning routine.

So while the above, and the below are suggestions, it’s up to you to trust your mind and body.

There are however some things I would recommend avoiding, aside from the horrific idea of a cold shower.

  • As much as possible minimise screen time
  • Avoid social media if you can
  • Don’t watch the news – it’s almost never anything positive
  • Don’t leave your bed unmade
  • Avoid hitting the snooze button, even on weekends

On that last one, there is a slight disclaimer that there will be occasions when you are so tired that your body is screaming for extra rest. And it is more important to listen to the signals your body is giving you.

But as a broad, and general guide, I would try not to snooze.

how to create a morning routine

Wrapping Up How To Create A Morning Routine

There are plenty of options and things to choose from when looking at creating your morning routine.

Not everything above is going to work for everyone, and in fact, a lot of people may find that much structure off-putting.

But having something in place when you get up, to help you start your day in a positive way is the key here.