The benefits of creating a morning ritual

morning ritual

I was a textbook example of what you shouldn’t do in the morning.

I have never been a late riser, but over the years my desire to spring out of bed in the morning had disappeared. I would hit the sleep button repeatedly until the absolute last second I could stay in bed. I was always tired and could never get enough sleep.

The problem is, getting more sleep in 9-minute increments doesn’t get your day off to a flying start. Dragging myself out of bed after repeatedly hitting the snooze button was torture.

I realised that I desperately needed to change. A good friend, who is always fresh and together in the morning (contrast with me scrambling to get ready in 15 minutes), suggested that I create a “morning ritual”.

Working on my morning ritual is important to me in a couple of ways. I had gotten to a point where I felt so stretched; I didn’t have time to do the things I wanted to do. It was the obvious part of the day I could do more things for me.

In addition to life being chaotic, it didn’t help that I was starting the day feeling sluggish and uninspired. Time management experts agree, using your mornings wisely creates the foundation for happy and productive lives.

I’m sold, what is a morning ritual?

As I have worked on my morning ritual, it has become very clear. There is definitely not a one size fits all morning routine for a productive, happy life. Also, breaking up with the sleep button is HARD!

I recently attended a talk by the fabulous Sarah Riegelhuth, one of Australia’s leading female entrepreneurs. Sarah is the co-founder of a financial advisory firm and the League of Extraordinary Women, as well as blogger, author, speaker and much more! An audience member asked Sarah how she fits so much into her day (we were all wondering!), and Sarah said that every morning she has a “positivity routine”.

Every morning, Sarah wakes up, sits up and for one minute thinks about what she wants to achieve that day. She then meditates for 10 minutes, practicing gratitude. Sarah then spends 10 minutes reading a positive or business related text, before writing for 10 minutes capturing goals and positives from the day before. Then she exercises and is ready for the day! Wow!

Like a lot of morning people, there is one big thing missing from Sarah’s mornings: emails and social media. As Sarah explained, when you wake up your brain is regenerated. Reading emails and social media immediately allows negativity in, wasting the huge potential that you have to start the day on a positive note.

Ron Friedman’s post “How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day” suggests a morning “mise-en-place” (if you haven’t worked in a kitchen or been addicted to Masterchef “mise en place” is French for putting everything in its place, commonly used to describe a chef’s preparation for service). This “intellectual mise en place” requires you to ask yourself: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved? Use this question to prioritise your list of tasks for the day.

“This exercise is usually effective at helping people distinguish between tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important. Use it to determine the activities you want to focus your energy on.”

Slowly, my morning ritual is starting to form.

I now sleep with my phone on the other side of the room, so I have to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. This also stops me reaching immediately for my email, a habit that was impossible to break with my phone beside me.

For me, another key element of a good morning routine is being prepared at night. Packing my gym bag, preparing lunch and being organised makes for a much calmer morning.

Creating my morning ritual was about claiming back the start of my day and making more time to do the things that are important to me. I plan catch-ups and breakfast meetings before work, and I love sharing this time with friends who I wasn’t able to see as much before. I can walk to work, and maybe soon I will be able to get my day’s exercise in! Perhaps the best part is I am no longer seen sprinting down the street for my train like a crazy woman… a true victory!

 

Thanks to Lauren for this post’s photo of the sun rising over the Flinders Rangers… I am yet to see the sun rise!

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