The way we start our day often sets the tone for the whole day. When we head out from our house running late, we tend to feel high levels of stress and anxiety. Arriving late for work, we have no time to think about our day and our priorities. Instead, we dive into work in a reactive mode, feeling defensive and apologetic instead of focused and ready to have a productive day.
If rushing and lateness are the typical start of your work day, here are some steps to turn that pattern on its head so that you begin your work day on time and on task.
The importance of building routines into your daily schedule
The benefit of an established routine is that it requires little planning, thought or working memory. By virtue of the fact that it’s “routine”, you can go through the steps almost automatically and with consistency. Not needing to think about what’s next is especially important in the morning when many of us are still in “brain fog” mode.
Building a Good Morning Routine
To develop a routine, spend a little time thinking about the most natural and efficient order in which actions should be taken. Then, record your routine in a prominent place where you will be reminded. If your routine should begin at a specific time, it is helpful to program your watch or clock alert you five minutes before your routine is to begin. Keep a chart of your progress to reinforce your daily practice. And, when you get off track due to unusual circumstances - illness, travel, house-guests, etc. - set a specific day on which you’ll resume your routine.
The key to starting your day well begins the night before. Take care of as many items as possible during your bedtime routine so that your morning routine can be as simple and streamlined as possible. In the evening, be sure to gather all items you’ll need to take with you in the AM and lay out what you’ll wear. To be extra-streamlined, prepare your coffee pot and set the timer; make your lunch and place in the refrigerator.
Morning Routine at Home
- Set alarm for at least 1 hour before departure time.
- Shower, dress, and do personal grooming.
- Get yourself ready for work before focusing on helping the kids get ready.
- Eat breakfast and brush teeth.
- No TV for kids or parents until all preparations are done.
- Consider “grab ‘n go” breakfasts for kids (teens) that tend to rise late.
- Leave 15 minutes before you need to - to allow time for traffic tie ups or gassing-up the car.
- Leave 30 minutes early if you need to run errands on the way to work.
Morning Routine at Work
- Plan to arrive at LEAST 15 minutes before you are required to arrive.
- Do NOT check your email first thing.
- Spend the first 15 minute reviewing your day, setting priorities, and planning your schedule
- Then start your day feeling focused and energetic!
Bedtime and Morning Routines for Early Birds
If you are a natural early bird, you may want to modify the times of your bedtime and morning routines to go to bed ½ hour earlier and rise ½ hour earlier to allow time for exercise in the morning.
Morning exercise is an excellent way to energize your body and turn on your brain - ready to have a productive day.
Skoach - ADD-friendly Time Management Software - allows you to create and build routines and record them on your daily schedule to reinforce the development of routines.