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Best morning routine: 21 steps for a more productive day

Team Asana contributor imageTeam Asana
January 10th, 2024
8 min read
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The best morning routine promotes both wellness and productivity for your whole day. From drinking water to avoiding the snooze button, check out 21 steps that can take your morning routine from bland to successful.

You wake up early to the smell of coffee. With extra time on your hands, you decide to fit in a quick morning workout at home before making breakfast and starting your workday. 

The perfect morning routine will promote wellness and set you up to be successful for the rest of the day. From avoiding social media to drinking water and listening to a podcast, there are various steps you can take to create a morning routine that works for you. 

Whether you’re a morning person or not, creating a routine that promotes wellness is essential to staying productive and encouraging efficiency. We’ve put together 21 steps for a good morning routine to create an effective ritual of your own.

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1. Get a good night’s sleep

With 35.2% of all adults in the U.S. reporting seven or fewer hours of sleep per night, getting a good night’s rest is crucial for productivity. For many of us, getting a full eight hours of sleep each night requires a bit of planning. 

There are a few tips when it comes to getting quality rest. These include:

  • Wind down at the end of the day: Avoid strenuous activities like exercising and heavy lifting toward the end of the day. Instead, take a warm bath to decompress or read a book to induce sleepiness.

  • Turn off the TV at a set time: Set a time to turn off the TV and other electronics. Instead, get comfortable on the couch or in bed with a warm cup of decaf tea.

  • Set your alarm clock appropriately: Set your alarm for eight hours or more after bedtime to ensure you’re well rested.

Each of these techniques can help you get a full eight hours of sleep every night and wake up refreshed the next day.

2. Avoid the snooze button

Hitting the snooze button can be detrimental to your morning routine. While you may intend to only get five more minutes of sleep, hitting snooze can quickly become a half hour.

Avoid the snooze button

Avoid snoozing your alarm by creating a routine of waking up the first time your alarm goes off. Ways to encourage this habit include:

  • Counting to five: When getting out of bed seems impossible, an easy trick is to count to five. After five, force yourself to get out of bed and begin your day.

  • Keeping slippers near your bed: Slippers can make getting out of bed slightly easier on cold mornings. Keep them bedside so you always have them close.

  • Presetting your coffee machine: If you’re a coffee drinker, just the aroma can be enough to motivate you to get up. Preset your machine so the coffee is waiting for you when you wake up. 

Snoozing your alarm clock is a habit many of us have, but creating a healthier routine is the best way to break it. The more time you have in the morning, the more time you have to create a productive routine. 

3. Give yourself enough time to get to work

Whether you work from home or commute to the office, giving yourself enough time to mentally and physically show up for work is essential—especially if you don’t consider yourself a morning person.

To do this, be intentional about when you wake up. In addition to making sure you get eight hours of sleep, set your alarm so you have enough time to complete your morning routine and develop productive new habits.

Whatever time you choose to wake up at, remember to set aside enough time for personal activities so you don’t overwork yourself. 

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4. Drink a full glass of water

Hydration is key to your health and well being. Drinking water is a crucial component of a great morning routine because when you feel good, you’re more focused and, as a result, more productive. 

Create a routine of staying hydrated in the morning by drinking a full glass of water when you first wake up. It’s a good idea to do this before your morning cup of coffee or tea to avoid forgetting. This also combats any dehydration that occurs from caffeinated drinks.

5. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea

While staying hydrated is a key part of a healthy routine, you also want to enjoy your routine. This will make waking up easier and increase the likelihood of your routine sticking.

Appreciating an aromatic cup of coffee or tea can make starting your day more enjoyable. Combine your morning beverage with an opportunity to spend time with your housemates, family, or pets. 

Likewise, you can take this time to breathe deeply and give yourself a few minutes of mindfulness before you begin the rest of your morning routine.

6. Prepare a healthy breakfast

To fuel your inspiration and start your day off right, prepare a healthy breakfast with ingredients that make you feel good. 

Prepare a healthy breakfast

Eating healthy can be easier than you think. A simple bowl of oatmeal or a quick smoothie can support your health without requiring a lot of prep time. 

Given that tasks like preparing food during the middle of the day can disrupt productivity, it’s a good idea to meal prep if you have the time. Take a few extra minutes in the morning to gather ingredients for lunch so they’re ready to go when midday rolls around.

7. Take advantage of self care

Self care is a routine you create to support your happiness and well being. This includes anything from a grooming routine, like a shower and a skincare regimen, to reading a book to relax. 

What you define as self care will be unique to you, though you can generally look for things that make your body and mind feel good. Here are some ideas to create a self-care routine of your own:

  • Take a hot shower or bath to relax.

  • Apply a face mask to take care of your skin.

  • Read a book you enjoy to get your brain ready to work.

Take advantage of self care to support a healthy work-life balance and reduce the risk of burnout.

Read: The manager’s guide to preventing burnout on your team

8. Fit in a quick workout

Data suggests that active people are more relaxed and in better spirits than inactive people. Preventing depression is just one of the many benefits of working out—other bonuses include promoting better sleep and increased energy

Fit in a quick workout

Avoid mental fatigue by working out in the morning. Activities you can try to get your heart rate up include:

  • Jogging around your neighborhood before work.

  • Riding a stationary bike while watching the morning news.

  • Doing yoga to strengthen your core and reduce stress.

Whether you work out every day or a couple of times a week, adding exercise to your routine can help set you up for success. 

9. Say positive affirmations

Affirmations help combat limiting beliefs about yourself and support a confident mindset. When said in the morning, positive affirmations can motivate you to do your best and believe in yourself throughout the day. 

Examples of common affirmations that you can try include:

  • I am excited for the day.

  • I am grateful for my job. 

  • I will have a successful week.

Say these positive affirmations to yourself out loud or write them in a journal each morning to cultivate a more positive outlook. 

10. Meditate by taking deep breaths

Meditation can support relaxation and can go hand in hand with positive affirmations. For those who would prefer a relaxing routine, take time to sit with your thoughts and breathe deeply. 

Create an efficient routine by pairing your affirmations with a deep breathing exercise such as roll breathing. Say your affirmations in your head while you’re in a state of calmness or out loud while breathing for stress management.

11. Prioritize important tasks

Transition your mind from personal time to professional by dedicating time each morning to reviewing and prioritizing your tasks for the day. You can do this with a to-do list or personal planner. 

Prioritize important tasks

Write down your most important deliverables and goals for the day or record them in a digital project management tool. By ranking each task by importance and listing them in sequential order, you can set up a more manageable schedule.

Thinking about these tasks can help calmly transition your mind from a relaxing routine to a productive workday.

10 additional ideas for a productive morning

Along with the 11 ideas we’ve covered for creating a morning routine that promotes productivity, there are a few additional approaches you can take to boost efficiency. These include activities such as listening to motivational music and talking to loved ones. 

Here are 10 additional ideas to incorporate into your daily morning routine. 

12. Listen to motivational music: Music can promote happiness and relaxation. Listen to your favorite artist to put a smile on your face in the morning and get your body and mind working after a long night’s sleep. Try listening to a specific band that brings you joy or a playlist that promotes relaxation for a calm mindset. 

13. Call a loved one: Whether you live alone or not, speak to loved ones in the morning to help put you in a good mood first thing. Talk to those you care about to encourage a positive mindset, such as a friend or family member. 

14. Subscribe to a podcast: Inspiration comes in many forms, one of them being those you look up to. Whether it’s someone in your field of work or someone you aspire to be like in your personal life, podcasts can be a great way to find inspiration in the morning. Find a podcast that encourages you to push yourself in some way. Listen to it each morning to remind yourself of the direction you’re headed.

15. Perform an act of kindness: There’s no better feeling than the one you get from helping someone in need. It could be as small as picking up an item someone dropped or as big as volunteering in your community. A little bit of kindness can go a long way and inspire others to do the same. Get involved by joining a local volunteer group or finding opportunities in your everyday life.

16. Spend time on a hobby: Prioritize your personal life to cultivate a healthy work-life balance. To do this, spend a little bit of time each morning on a hobby to make you feel fulfilled both personally and professionally.

17. Think creatively: There are seemingly endless possibilities for a blank canvas and your mind is no exception. When you first wake up, you’re not yet bothered by the pressures of the day. This is a perfect time to take advantage of a fresh mind and do some creative thinking. This could be for work, a personal hobby, or your side hustle. 

18. Read an industry blog post: Stay up to date on industry trends to set yourself apart professionally and inspire your work. Take a few minutes each morning to catch up on news from a credible source to build your industry insight.

19. Do a crossword puzzle: For those that need a few extra moments in the morning to feel awake and aware, try a crossword puzzle. This will slowly get your mind up to speed for a productive day. 

20. Take a moment to stretch: You may be shocked to learn how a simple stretch can promote efficiency and get your body ready for the day. Opt for a few arm and leg stretches right when you wake up or do a morning yoga session. This will warm your muscles, preparing them for an exercise session or a day of work.

21. Perform a retrospective: Each day comes with new obstacles and lessons—whether you’re aware of them as they happen or not. Take a few moments each morning to look back on yesterday’s achievements. Consider what went well and what could have been better. Use these findings to continue improving daily. 

These additional ideas can take your morning routine from good to great. From stretching to following industry trends, the right steps will increase your productivity and work-life balance. 

A productive morning starts with a healthy routine

Morning habits can be the difference between a good morning and a great morning. Your productivity begins when you wake up, which makes learning healthy habits essential to a successful workday.

From eating a healthy breakfast to working out or reading, the activities you prioritize have the potential to transform your mindset. Choose a routine that promotes happiness, sets you up to complete important tasks, encourages flow state, and supports your work-life balance. 

To take your productivity one step further, try software that allows you to track, manage, and organize your workload. 

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