Not Another Morning Routine

Morning cup of coffee

I hear lots of people touting a morning routine these days.  “Do these three things before the sun comes up!”  “These five things will create your perfect day!”  “If everyone did these four things before checking email the world would be a happier place!”

Okay, so I’m being a little sarcastic.  And honestly, I feel sure that having a specific, productive morning routine in place is helpful for many people.

But it’s just not for me.

My morning routine – which isn’t necessarily “routine” – is more about self-care than being productive.  That’s not to say that productivity isn’t a daily goal, but the only way I’m able to achieve feeling productive is when I first feel cared for.

I’m usually up before the chickens.  This started years ago when I was in a somewhat demanding job that rarely ended at the five o’clock whistle.  I knew if I was going to have any time to myself, when I didn’t need to take a call, answer an email, or put out a fire, it would have to be before work.  

That job is long-since past, but the habit stuck.  Now that I’m married and running a busy household, I need my morning time just as much or more as I did many years ago.  And I use it to do things that feed my soul.  I might read, write, watch a little television, sit and think, or cook something – not necessarily breakfast.

My “Not-a-Morning” Routine

Once my soul-feeding morning time is done, life starts.  The dogs get walked, the family wakes, the sun comes up, and our home is humming.

But as I go about my day, I have a few boxes to check that keep me healthy.  Specifically, my spiritual, mental, physical, relationship, and creative health.

To keep it fun, I make it a game.   Throughout the day I make sure I do at least one thing within each category.  Then I try and get another round in before bedtime.

Here are some of the things I do that – for me – fit into each category:

Spiritual

  • Meditate
  • Pray for someone
  • List things I’m grateful for
  • Play with the dogs
  • Pet the cat
  • Repeat a mantra

Mental

  • Read
  • Solve a problem
  • Solve a puzzle
  • Clean something
  • Make a list
  • Outline a piece I’m writing

Physical

  • Walk the dogs
  • Garden
  • Walk for exercise
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Zumba

Relationship

  • Connect with someone, somehow
  • Hug and kiss my husband
  • Have a conversation with the kids
  • Call my parents
  • Talk rather than just text or email
  • Say “I love you”
  • Enjoy a date night!

Creative

  • Visualize what I want to have, do, or be
  • Make up a story
  • Cook or bake from a new recipe
  • Make up a recipe
  • Knit
  • Do something crafty

Again, one thing from each category is all that’s required as I can fit them in throughout my day.  The bonus is – it's fun!

For me, this non-routine works so much better.  Having fed my soul first, checking boxes during the day keeps me feeling productive.

This doesn’t mean I may not check a couple of boxes during my morning time.  It just means I don’t feel the pressure of having to do them all at once.

I understand this isn’t true for everyone.  If a morning routine works for you, do it!  It’s just not my thing.  However, I would recommend using these five categories when you create your morning routine – or your un-routine.

And because you’re contributing to the various aspects of your personal health, you’ll soon see many benefits for making this practice part of your day - not the least of which are feeling productive and happy.  You’ll notice shifts in your perception of your life, things will seem more positive, and good things might even happen for you.

Try it!