In the hustle & bustle of today’s busy world, the majority of us often find ourselves juggling multiple responsibilities and tasks throughout each day. We have work, family, social commitments, and our own personal goals and ambitions to fulfill. It can be incredibly overwhelming to keep track of everything, but creating a morning routine with a Daily Planner can help us start our day on the right foot and set us up for success!!
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out … I know this may sound like the ‘cliché’ solution and you might be thinking to yourself, “ugh, I’ve tried this before and I am NOT a morning person!!”, Well, I most definitely wasn’t either, but I decided that my desire to achieve my BIG goals & create my dream life became way more important than my resistance to get it together in the morning & OPTIMIZE the 24 hours I had in my days. I can also assure you that having a system, by using my Daily Grind Planner, along with the other little tips & tricks I’m going to share with you, has been the KEY to keeping me focused & learning to not only get ‘ISH’ done in the morning, but actually ENJOY my mornings!!
So without further ado … let’s get into it!
First and foremost, it’s super important to choose a planner that works for YOU. There are countless options available, from simple notebooks to complex digital systems… and trust me, I’ve tried A LOT of them.
I used to have a giant stack of journals & planners collecting dust in the corner of my home office. In my opinion & through my own experience, having a planner that you’ll use cover to cover, with no wasted pages & that offers a FLEXIBLE approach to planning really makes the world of a difference.
So, think about what you need from your planner and how you prefer to organize your day. Do you like to see your schedule laid out hour by hour, or do you prefer a more open-ended approach? Do you want to be able to track your habits and goals, or do you just need a place to jot down your to-do list? Once you have a clear idea of your needs, you can choose a planner that will best support your goals.
Now that you have your planner, it’s time to start creating your morning routine. A morning routine can help you feel energized, start your day on a positive note and set you up for success throughout the day. It’s super important to establish a routine that works for you and fits into your lifestyle... Now, I want to add that this may take some trial & error to figure out what works & feels best for you specifically, but that’s okay!! It’s part of the process. If you try out a routine that doesn’t seem to flow with what you’re looking for, don't give up … cool?!
It may also take some time & discipline to build up enough consistency to where it feels second nature, especially if mornings aren’t really your thing just yet!! Trust the process & you’ll get there. Okay, I digress, so here are some steps to help you create a morning routine using your planner:
Step 1: Start with a consistent wake-up time
Choose a wake-up time that works for you and stick to it as much as possible. This can be challenging at first, but it will become easier over time. Setting a consistent wake-up time will help regulate your INTERNAL body clock and even make it easier to fall asleep at night as well. Use your planner to schedule your wake-up time and create a morning routine that fits into your schedule.
Now, if pivoting from waking up at 8 a.m. to waking up at 5 a.m. sounds wildly overwhelming, here are a couple hacks for if you want to take baby steps to get there & feel like this may be a more realistic way to go about it. If you currently wake up at 8 a.m., start by turning your alarm clock back 15 minutes at a time, for a few days at a time. Keep that going until you’ve reached your desired wake-up time. For example: for the next 3 days, set your alarm for 7:45, then the following 3 days, for 7:30, then 7:15, and so on!! Make sense??
Another helpful tip for those of you who let that pesky snooze button get the best of you (totally been there), is to put your phone or whatever you use for your alarm clock on the other side of the room OR in another room all together. This forces you to physically get out of bed & shut it off. And if you’d like to take that a step further, I’ve downloaded an app called ‘Alarmy’, that asks you to do a simple puzzle before you can even shut your alarm off! This helps to keep you awake a little longer & therefore resist the urge to climb back into bed. Oh, and turn your light on right away if possible, as long as you’re not disturbing anyone else who is still sleeping of course. All of these things combined have been super helpful in making, in my opinion, the hardest part of getting out of a warm, cozy bed, that much easier.
Step 2: Plan your morning activities
Use your planner to map out your morning activities. The thing I love about my Daily Grind Planner is that I can break down my day hour by hour, and even chunk different tasks together within those hours! Your morning activities might include things like working out, brushing your teeth, showering, a skincare routine, getting dressed, making breakfast … etc! Try to be realistic about how long each activity will take and leave yourself enough time to complete everything without feeling rushed. Be sure to prioritize your activities based on your goals and needs. For example, if you want to make exercise a priority, schedule it first thing in the morning before you get caught up in other tasks.
For me personally, I make working out my MAIN priority in the mornings. Having a fitness routine overall is important to me, so it’s something I make sure I do first thing before time gets away from me. Mainly because I know that if I don’t get it done right away before the chaos of the day begins, there is a MUCH larger chance it won't get done at all. I like to make sure I leave my workout clothes laid out the night before, this way, it’s one less thing to think about and I just throw them on as soon as I get out of bed.
Something else that I feel helps me stay focused on getting those first few morning activities done is to NOT allow myself to go on social media or check emails until I’ve finished those tasks. I’ve actually made this a rule for myself because I know just how distracting it can be once you start scrolling… I’m sure you can relate!
Step 3: Schedule time for self-care
Self-care is an important part of any morning routine. This might include things like a quick 5 minute meditation, journaling, planning the rest of the day, reading or listening to a podcast or audiobook. Use your planner to schedule time for self-care activities that help you feel grounded and centered. This will help you start your day with a positive mindset and reduce stress throughout the day. I like to combine some of these self-care tasks with my other morning routine tasks whenever possible. Meaning, while I’m getting dressed or putting my makeup on, I ALWAYS have some sort of personal development audiobook or podcast playing. This way I’m fueling my brain with something positive & inspiring while also still being productive and moving along with my morning!
Step 4: Set goals and track progress
Your morning routine is a great time to work on your personal goals. Use your planner to set goals and track your progress. This might include things like learning a new language, reading a certain number of books, or practicing a new skill. Break your goals down into bite-sized, manageable steps and schedule time each morning to work on them. This will help you make progress towards your goals and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Step 5: Evaluate and adjust
It’s important to evaluate your morning routine regularly and make adjustments as needed. Use your planner to track your progress and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. I love taking time at the end of each day to review & see what goals I made headway on, what I was able to check off my list, as well as where I may have fallen short on that given day. If you find that you’re not making progress towards your goals, or that your routine is causing you stress, make changes to your routine. As I mentioned in the beginning, it may take a bit of trial & error and what works for someone else, may not work for you! Be flexible and willing to try new things until you find a routine that works for you.
Creating a morning routine with a planner can help you start your day on the right foot and set you up for success. Use your planner to schedule your activities, prioritize your goals, and track your progress. Remember to be flexible and willing to make adjustments as needed. With a little bit of planning and organization, you can create a morning routine that helps you to THRIVE & get way more done before other people have even gotten out of bed… and trust me, it’s an awesome feeling to start your day off with that sense of accomplishment!