10 Things You Might Be Missing in Your Morning Routine

Do you have a morning routine, or a morning “rhythm?”

One that regularly fills your tank with rest and margin before your kids roll out of bed with their sleepy eyes, mashed up hair, and blanket dragging along the floor?

One that gives you space to experience the day without constantly playing catch up?

One that puts YOU first upon waking every single day?

That “every single day” got ya, didn’t it?

Following a morning routine is all the rage right now, so I suspect you’re here because your curiosity is piqued and you’re ready to try it out or improve your existing morning routine.

Everywhere I look, it seems like the “morning routine” is the key to success. And it kinda, sorta, is.

What does a “morning routine” even mean though?

Wake up and drink my coffee without kids barging in to distract me?

Put something other than sweatpants on before daycare drop-off (#workfromhome).

For awhile I didn’t even know what a morning routine meant, but now I know that they go WAY beyond just checking a box of basic tasks.

A few months ago, I shared my first 10 minutes of the day. No matter how much time I have in the morning, these first 10 minutes and 6 simple actions make such an impact to the rest of my day.

I know you can spare 10 minutes, friend! So if that’s all you have, start here.

Just keep taking small steps forward … then come back here when you’re ready to keep going a little further. These steps are all part of a grand plan to take ownership of your time again and I know you’re gonna get there.

So now, are you ready for a little “extra” in your mornings?

How I knew I needed “extra.”

I didn’t have anything more than a basic 5 minute morning routine before March 2018.

Prior to this point, I’d wake up early still, but I’d dive straight into work with hot coffee in hand. That’s easy to do when you love your work, but it isn’t sustainable. This method is the quickest way to burnout.

So what happened in March 2018?

Point blank – I had a miscarriage (between my two kids). My best laid plans for the months upcoming were gone in an instant.

And I realized that I wouldn’t get past it without deep and intentional self care.

As an action-oriented creative mom who works full time, I had to focus on the time available to me and make it count.

My morning hours became the space I needed to put myself first.

So put myself first, I did … and 5 weeks later, my sweet son hopped aboard the crazy train and we later found out we were finally becoming a family of four.

I’m not claiming that my morning routine got me pregnant, but it sure kept me from drowning in sorrow and negative self talk during a season that could have been very depressing.

How to benefit from a successful morning routine.

Since the initiation of my morning routine, I’ve tested plenty of different ways to navigate, refresh, and feel most renewed.

I’ve skipped the routine for extra sleep in the early newborn days, and I’ve extended it a bit on occasion too.

I keep it flexible so that it never feels like more hassle than it’s worth. But I always come back to the core purpose.

Through trial and error, I now understand that there are 10 things that result in the most successful morning routine for me.

  1. Use a journal as an anchor. I’ve never kept a consistent “diary,” but documenting my morning in a journal keeps me focused each morning. It also provides a great way to review the past and analyze trends or find gratitude on the other side.
  2. Keep it simple. Bullet journaling and all the habit trackers in the world are amazing, but the tool that works best is the one that you’ll use consistently. I’m on team dotted 5″ x 8.25″ Moleskine journal and love it so much.
  3. Get to sleep at a reasonable hour the night before. It’s obvious that someone who stays up until midnight might have trouble rising at 5am, right? If you have trouble falling asleep early, work forward gradually in 15 minute increments until you’re falling asleep at the desired time.
  4. Read the prior day’s entry before starting the current day. This reflection brings me towards a more positive mindset, especially if I worried about something the day before that ended up not happening. It also helps me know where to place my focus for the new day.
  5. Focus on your current season. If someone with elementary age kids is running around with friends all week, but your intention is simply to “keep the kids alive and don’t burn the house down,” do that! You shouldn’t be all things to all people all the time, including yourself. Set good expectations with yourself, friend.
  6. Honor your present state. Practice being present through your morning routine with at least 1-5 minutes of meditation and/or silence. It makes a HUGE difference.
  7. Read 1 chapter in a book and write down 1 quote. I love a good personal development book and always take lessons from it. Even a great piece of fiction will have a solid takeaway. A key part of my morning routine is to read 1 chapter a day and write down 1 quote in my journal. Easy to do and results in better retention of the book in the long run.
  8. Block out noise with headphones and a calming music station. I’m a huge fan of Marconi Union. It’s incredibly calming and not at all overstimulating, even for people who prefer silence. If I didn’t have kids and the mental load running through my mind at all times, I’d absolutely thrive with silence. Since that’s not happening, Marconi Union radio is my go-to and it works 100% of the time!
  9. Enjoy hot coffee. There’s this running joke that moms can’t enjoy hot coffee, but I call BS on that. We make time for what we want to prioritize and, for me, that’s hot coffee during my morning routine. It’s all part of a grand plan that gets me up and ready to take on the day!
  10. Customize your journal entry however you see fit. This is why I love that dotted Moleskine journal. It’s completely customizable and I can change up my entries whenever I want. Currently, I log my daily intention, my most important tasks for the day, risks that exist to seeing my tasks through (emotional, environmental, etc.), positive vibes / cheers that encourage me – things I’m doing right, and the book quote mentioned in #7 above.

So, what’s next then?

In case you need to hear this today … you’re worthy and completely deserving of time to yourself too.

I hear it all the time that “I’ll make more time for myself when …” or “I want to be productive because it’ll free up more time for ME.”

But friend, I challenge you to put YOU first TODAY. Not one moment longer.

The notion of productivity here is NOT to get all the things done ASAP and never stop moving. Nope. We dig deeper than that.

Productivity means working smarter, not harder.

Doing less, achieving more.

Honoring who we are instead of who we’re expected to be.


This post is first in a 4-Week Series on Intentional Time Management.

Check out the rest of the series below:

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Be sure to also add “read Friday morning newsletter” to your routine!

… and one more ask | If you loved this post, would you please save to a board on Pinterest? Not only is Pinterest a great place to keep your favorite articles in one spot (hello productivity!) but it helps place these tips & tricks in front of other mamas just like you who desperately need some support. You’re the best!