So you’re awake. And now you’re out of bed. Congratulations you’ve successfully started the day! Now what? You get in the shower, stare at the wall and hum the House of Cards theme song? Maybe you’ll just rush out, grab a starbucks and forget you were ever in your house this morning. Let’s face it, your morning routine has room for improvement, and as it’s the most important time of the day, it’s definitely worth spending some time upgrading it. Here are my 5 ways to upgrade that morning routine of yours. 😪 📈
1. Morning tea rather than morning coffee
If you currently start your day without tea or coffee, then pick up a cup of tea. If you currently start your day with a cup of coffee, then pick up a cup of tea.
This is not an argument to suggest that coffee is bad – in fact, I find myself drinking quite a lot of coffee. Instead, this is a case to suggest that you should start your day by drinking a nice cup of tea rather than coffee.
Time and time again, I hear that tea has less caffeine than coffee when given in the same amount of servings. However this is simply not true. Some teas have the same amount of caffeine as coffee; and whilst both of these are stimulants and will have you filled with more energy and have you Betterfocused, it is important to note that coffee has a much bigger depressing effect than tea. This means that the high you may experience will last shorter and drop quicker.
Tea is great as it releases this same amount of caffeine but the effects last longer. For the morning routine, tea is perfect. It allows you to get on with your day with clarity, energy and focus – without crashing an hour or two later.
UPDATE: I’ve been asked what tea pot and mug I use for drinking green tea so I’ve linked up my recommendations:
2. Write 1-3 tasks that must be completed that day
Starting your day by writing down your tasks that must be completed is a simple, yet powerful activity. It delivers focus and clarity to you and most importantly, sets out the priorities that matter to you. Starting your day without it could lead to you having missed out on doing something important to you. It is also extremely important to note that having this list compiled at the start of your day will increase the chances of you actually performing well and being happy with how your day has gone.
Ryan Holiday stated that he carries around an index card with him with 3 tasks that he must have completed by the end of the day. He commits to not sleeping until he does so. This number of tasks is manageable and also re-aligns his priorities. He will choose to put down a less important task if it means being able to complete a task on his list. This is something he may not be able to do if he didn’t have this list with him.
You should make sure that you do the same and carry this list with you or at least remember what is on the list. Consistently remind yourself of the list and be aware to have those tasks completed before the end of the day. You’ll not only be fulfilled but also be extremely motivated to do the same the next day.
3. Write a not-to-do list
A ‘not-to-do’ list acts in a similar way to a traditional ‘to-do’ list. You set out rules and objectives that you must live by and in order to feel fulfilled and complete the list, you must stick by its rules until the end. A ‘not-to-do’ list differs from a ‘to-do’ list however, in the sense that on this list you will write down all the things that you usually do, but know (when honest with yourself) are not going to help you achieve your goals in life.
Being focused is also about being disciplined – but being disciplined is not as harsh as it sounds. Really its about knowing where your priorities lie and making sure you are not doing anything that may get in the way of that. Writing a ‘no-to-do’ list in a notebook every morning, allows you to constantly learn from previous days on what bad habits you may want to rid of and what tasks you are doing which don’t really align with your goals.
An example ‘no-to-do’ list of the day for me looks like this:
- Not to look at Facebook today.
- Not to eat any bad snacks.
- Not to have a meeting without an agenda.
- Not to check emails more than 3 times in the day.
- Not to watch any ‘funny videos’ on Youtube.
The most interesting part that I have found is that a ‘not-to-do’ list is much easier to stick to compared to a ‘to-do’ list. So give it a go and get Betterfocused from the morning.
4. Have a wholegrain breakfast
Having great focus and concentration during the day comes from constant energy. This energy is really just the glucose in our blood that travels to the brain. Studies have shown that eating a breakfast with whole-grains (with low-GI) supports better mental focus compared to a breakfast comprised of refined carbohydrates or no breakfast at all.
Tip: Try having a eggs with whole-wheat toast to achieve great focus from the morning.
5. Read a page from The Daily Stoic
Why I’ve left my best recommendation to the end I’ll never know… but, reading a page a day every morning from The Daily Stoic is quite possibly the best thing you can do to start the day and truly upgrade your morning routine!
The Daily Stoic is an incredible book by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman that has a philosophical (stoic) thought for every day in the year. The thoughts are on wisdom, perseverance, and living well.
I won’t lie, I often struggle to fully understand philosophical ideas – mainly because of how they are written. The old and often confusingly translated scriptures can be interesting but difficult to completely take onboard. The great thing about The Daily Stoic is that it gives you a short quote and then explains the quote in layman’s terms and make it very easy to understand.
For people wanting to start out in philosophical thoughts that are actually very relevant in everyday life and for those who already read a lot of scriptures but like me, fail to complete understand them – I couldn’t recommend reading a page of this everyday enough.
I’d love to know in the comments if you have any great ways of upgrading your morning routine or if you tried any of these out and found them useful – let’s start a conversation! 😀 Also, if you’re interested in what books I like to read occasionally during my morning routine, click here!