How to Create a Good Morning Routine for Success in 5 Steps

Surprisingly, the start of my day has the biggest impact on the end of my day regardless of what happened that day. I’m able to handle more of the unexpected and accomplish more when I start the day with a personalized morning routine.

Whether you start your day at 4 am or 10 am, having a good morning routine before work directs the rest of your day. The best morning routine for success is one that sets you up to have a productive day from a place of rest and composure. Here’s how to establish a morning routine to start your day, complete with morning routine examples and best morning habits.

a woman relaxing in a chair and drinking a cup of coffee as part of her morning routine for success before work

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Building A Morning Routine for Success 

Why do morning routines matter? A good morning routine before work or school affects how we start our day, work throughout the day, and finish our day. The best morning habits allow us to experience peace and calm through the structure and order of a morning routine.

When we have an effective morning routine, we carry peace and composure with us throughout the day.

What’s a good morning routine?

A good morning routine is a short list of morning habits and steps to wake you up and get you ready for the day. The ordered routine provides structure for your morning to make sure you are prepared for the workday or school day.

As for what a good morning routine looks like, that answer is more complicated. The best morning routines work well because they are customized and personal to each person.

So while a morning routine for success includes some standard elements, you should expect your morning routine to look differently from others’.

What is the most effective morning routine?

When you think of a good morning routine before work, think simple and effective. Complicated theatrics do not belong in a morning routine for success!

Effective morning routines require minimum effort. Their simplicity means they are easy to remember and complete. Also, the best morning routines don’t add extra stress or pressure to your day.

An effective morning routine should provide the peace and structure that prepares you mentally and physically to tackle your day—no matter what your day throws your way. 

What does peace have to do with a good morning routine before work?

Peace and rest are my two essentials to an effective morning routine. Every day is uncertain. We may have plans for our day or work schedule, but those often change with little notice.

As a young professional or a graduate student, it’s common to get overwhelmed and stressed by the amount of work that needs to get done in such little time. When there are a lot of surprises or unexpected requests on my desk and emails in my mailbox, my day can quickly become busy and chaotic.

That’s why it’s important for me to be working throughout the day from a place of peace, rest, and composure. I’ve noticed that when I have a good morning routine that includes dedicated time for spending time in God’s word, I have a peace and composure that anchors me throughout the day.

When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I go back to the truth that God is in control of the situation and He will give me the strength I need to get through my day.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Colossians 3:15-16 (ESV)
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God wants you to experience peace in Him everyday. No matter your job, workload, or profession, God has called you to peace. But we must rely on Him throughout the day in order to experience that peace.

Having something in your morning routine that anchors you throughout the day and prepares you mentally for work is essential to success.

Kara J Lovett

5 Steps for How to Start a Morning Routine

Now that you know the benefits and goals of a good morning routine, it’s time to start building your own morning routine for success.

When creating the best morning routine to start your day, think about these 5 things:

  1. Peace & Composure  – What will guide you through the stress and pressure you’ll face throughout the day?
  2. Practical Preparation – What do you need to do to get ready for the day?
  3. Time – What time do you need to be at work, how much time do you need to prepare for work, what time do you need to get up?
  4. Wake up – How will you get up and what’s the first thing you need to do in the morning?
  5. Productive Time – What do you always run out of time to do during the day? Can you set aside time to get it done in the morning?

Together with these questions, you can use these steps for how to establish a morning routine to create a routine that works for you.

1 – Start with a Wake Up Routine

First in your morning routine, you need to figure out your wake up routine. Are you someone who can get up without an alarm or do you need to hit snooze four times? However you prefer to get up, this should be the start of your morning routine.

As it’s personally hard for me to get up, I use an old fashioned, analog alarm clock and place it far from my bed. That way, I actually have to get out of bed to turn it off. This keeps me from hopping back in bed and going back to sleep.

TIP! If you’re having trouble getting up in the morning and starting your morning routine, first consider your sleep schedule.

Are you getting enough sleep at night? Is the sleep you get quality sleep or do you toss and turn all night? Addressing these issues are important to getting up in the morning to start your morning routine.

There may be an underlying problem with work-life balance if you’re unable to get enough sleep. Setting boundaries around work and with your coworkers can help manage stress so you can get more and better sleep.

Good Morning Habits: Waking Up & Using your Phone

As far as good morning habits go, waking up and scrolling through your phone is not a productive one.

When I go through my phone in the morning, especially social media, I find myself comparing myself to others. This puts a dark cloud over my day before it’s even gotten started. I’m stressed and feeling pressured to live up to an impossible standard of the social media image that day.

If I go to my email or check my messages first, then my mind is already cluttered with all of the things I need to do today, who I need to call, and a list of people to respond to. My mind is already spinning and overwhelmed before I’ve gotten out of bed.

Instead, start your day with something more beneficial for you and your mind. Some suggestions are journaling, reading Scripture and praying, washing your face, or doing a couple of jumping jacks. Put off looking at your phone and email as long as possible.

Related: More Valuable Tips & Career Advice for Young Professionals

2 – Add Practical Preparation to Your Morning Routine

Next in your morning routine for success, you need to prepare yourself for work. What are the tasks that you need to get done before you can get out of the door and on your way to work?

I suggest making a list of tasks you need to do and then grouping them by tasks that are usually done together. Now, you can schedule the group of tasks in your morning routine with a daily planner for work and home.

If you’re looking for something to help you stay organized every day, then the Day Designer Flagship Daily Planner may work for you. It has beautiful cover designs and combines clean layouts and effective prompts to help you plan and schedule.

Related: 5 Practical Tips for How to Create a Balanced Schedule

How do I prepare myself for work in the morning?

In order to prepare yourself for work in the morning, you need to get yourself cleaned, dressed, fed, and packed for work. Here are some examples of tasks to prepare yourself for work in the morning.

3 – Creating a Productive Morning Routine

After establishing a wake up routine and preparing yourself for work, it’s time to consider what productive task you want to accomplish (if any) before heading off to work.

TIP! Our brains are freshest in the morning. Thus, the morning is a great time to get things done which might require more focus and concentration.

For example, I try to write and blog in the mornings. Writing content takes the most energy of all blog tasks that I do throughout the week. This is why I prioritize it for the morning, so I can tackle it with the most brainpower.

What task on your to-do list requires the most focus? Consider doing it in the morning to be more productive with your time.

Creating a Productive Morning Routine

Similarly, I always exercise first thing in the morning. If I don’t do it in the morning, then it will get squeezed out of my day as other responsibilities pile up.

This step for how to establish a morning routine depends on how much time you have before you go to work. You may not have a “productive thing” you want to get done during your good morning routine before work. For example, my sister must be at work at 5:45 am, so her priority is getting up, dressed, and packing her bag before heading out the door.

4 – Peace and Composure in a Good Morning Routine

As I alluded to earlier, finding peace and composure at the start of your day will serve you throughout the day. Having a peaceful anchor keeps us calm and composed when unexpected things come my way.

Here are some different ways to practice peace & composure in your good morning routine before work:

During the day, we have so much media coming at us – email, instant messaging, social media, TV, videos, radio, etc. It’s hard to process it all. For these reasons, silence and quiet time is an important part to an effective morning routine.

Silence allows us to reconnect with God, reflect, and slow down any racing or anxious thoughts.

Kara J Lovett

5 – Consider Time when Creating a Realistic Morning Routine

Now that you’ve built out an ideal morning routine for success, it’s time to figure out what you realistically have time for in the morning.

  • Starting with what time you need to leave for work, walk back your schedule to figure out when you would need to get up to complete all of the morning routine you created.
    • Is getting up at that time realistic?
  • Next, think about what time you need to go to bed the night before to get enough sleep and complete everything in your good morning routine.
    • Is getting in bed at that time realistic for your lifestyle?

Once you’ve answered these two questions, reduce or expand your good morning routine before work to fit the time allotted.

How long should a morning routine be?

How long a morning routine should be depends on what you need to get your day started from a place of peace and composure. It should allow enough time to prepare yourself for work, physically and mentally, without adding extra stress to your day.

The ideal length for a morning routine is typically between 1-3 hours. This amount can go down depending on how early you need to get up and how fast you need to get going.

Finding a Simple Morning Routine

Remember that a simple morning routine is better than an extensive morning routine.

If a morning routine is too long and convoluted, it can invite stress and pressure to our mornings. Or we may abandon the morning routine altogether.

On the other hand, a short morning routine isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. For some, getting started with your day as quickly as possible helps them be more productive. After all, our brains are freshest first thing in the morning.

a woman listening to music and reading a book to start her morning routine before work

Morning Routine Examples

With all the pieces of an effective morning routine, the next step is to schedule the morning routine before work.

Depending on how much time you have before heading to work, here are 3 examples of morning routine examples that will help you prepare yourself for work in the morning.

Morning Routine Example 1

Total time: 3 hours

Includes: preparing for work, prayer in the car, breakfast at home, packing lunch, quiet time at work, go to the gym first thing

  • 5:45 wake up, wash face, get dressed
  • 6:00 head to gym
  • 6:15 gym class
  • 7:15 shower and get dressed for work
  • 7:45 eat breakfast
  • 8:00 brush teeth, put on makeup
  • 8:15 make lunch and pack bag
  • 8:30 head to work (pray in the car)
  • 8:45 arrive at work and do a devotional at my desk
  • 9:00 start the day

Morning Routine Example 2

Total time: 2.5 hours

Includes: preparing for work, devotional / quiet time with coffee, breakfast at home, productive task for the morning

  • 6:30 wake up, get dressed
  • 6:45 productive task (journal, write, blog, etc.)
  • 7:45 breakfast
  • 8:00 coffee and quiet time
  • 8:15 brush teeth, make up, hair styling
  • 8:30 head to work
  • 9:00 arrive at work and start day

Morning Routine Example 3

Total time: 1 hour

Includes: preparing for work, devotional / quiet time in the car, breakfast and lunch on the go or at work

  • 8:00 wake up, get dressed while listening to news on radio / podcast
  • 8:15 brush teeth, make up, hair styling
  • 8:30 prepare breakfast and lunch to take on the go
  • 8:45 listen to a Bible podcast / pray in the car on the way to work
  • 9:00 arrive at work and start day

Notice that each of these good morning routines before work vary in time and activities. Feel free to use one of the morning routine examples for creating a morning routine that matches your needs and the time you have in the morning.

There is no best “morning routine before work” for everyone. In fact, an effective morning routine is one that’s unique and personalized to you—not recycled from someone else. 

Use a Morning Routine Checklist to Build Morning Habits

When it comes to how to establish a morning routine, here’s a summary of the morning routine checklist here:

  • Establish a Wake Up Routine
  • Minimize Phone Use
  • Prepare Physically for the day
  • Prepare Mentally for the day
  • Exercise / Meditate
  • Dress to Impress with a professional wardrobe
  • Nourish Yourself – Get something to eat, enjoy a cup of coffee / tea
  • Pack your bags / lunch
  • Do Tasks that require lots of mental focus
  • Find Peace and Stillness to start Your Day
  • Read Your Bible, Do a Devotional, Pray
  • Consider the Time You Have Before Work
  • Be Realistic with your Morning Routine

Best Morning Routine to Start Your Day

A good morning routine before work is one that is peaceful, productive, simple, and effective. In fact, the simpler and more peaceful a morning routine is, the better.

We spend so much of our day in front of screens and absorbing information. It’s helpful to start our day with the opposite: structure, quiet, and low stress.

Finding a good morning routine for success takes some trial and error. Use the morning routine examples and checklist above to get started, but don’t be afraid to change things up until you find what works for you. Wishing you a peaceful morning!

What are some good habits you’ve established for the morning?

Leave me a comment below!

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