How to Create a Morning Routine, Even if You Aren’t a Morning Person

Jul 2, 2019 | Blog, Routines

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The morning routine that stopped the overwhelm and made me more productive.

Do you ever browse through Pinterest or your Instagram feed and feel like all your friends are obsessed with this new idea that is supposed to make their lives easier? 

In my little corner of the internet, the hot topic for a while was creating a morning routine.

But every post I read also told me that I needed to get up early…. which basically meant that it wasn’t for me.

You see, I love to sleep. Aside from my husband and kids, it might be the thing I love most in this world. (Just kidding family and friends! I love you guys more than sleep, but please don’t make me prove it.) 

In addition to loving sleep, Ross and I are naturally nocturnal. Before we had kids, we would easily stay up until the wee hours of the morning then sleep until noon or later on the weekends.

Deep down I knew getting up earlier would make my days more productive, and give me some much-needed alone time before the kids got up, and probably make me a happier mom… 

But each extra minute of sleep was so sweet that I could never manage to extract myself from the bed before my oldest daughter made her way into my room.

I saw a meme once that rang true for me, “There is nothing better than sleeping while someone else gets ready for work.” 

Here, here!

But after becoming a mom, I was frustrated that there were never enough hours in the day. 

I tried organizing my daily routine… since that was something I could do without changing my sleeping habits… but that still didn’t seem to get me ahead at all. 

No matter how hard I worked during the day, I was still struggling to get everything done so that I could have any down time in the evening.

Finally, after a while (and by a while I mean over two years….), I wanted to stop feeling like I was always treading water. 

I decided to give this whole “morning routine” thing a try and see if it made any difference.

And Oh. Man. Did. It. Ever.

I loved having more time in my day, getting things done that had been slipping to the bottom of my priority list, and being awake and ready to greet the girls when they woke up in the morning.

I highly recommend trying out a morning routine if you are struggling to get everything done.

In This Post You’ll Find: 

  1. Why you should create a morning routine
  2. How I created my morning routine
  3. How to choose your wake-up time
  4. What you might want to have in your routine
  5. And tips for waking up early

If you prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this blog post:

Why You Should Create a Morning Routine

So first things first: Why should you even bother creating a morning routine?

1. It puts you in a better mood for your family. 

Maybe this isn’t the case for everyone, but I find I’m in a much better mood when I wake up and get a few things done before my kids get up.

2. You will get things done.

Even if the only thing you decide to do in your morning routine is read a good book, that is still time well spent if it recharges your batteries before you have to give your time and energy to your family all day.

And if you are more of a Type A personality like I am, it will give you a head start on your to-do list for the day.

Either way, it’s a win in my book!

3. You will be more productive.

I have found that even if I sleep in longer and don’t get through my whole routine, just getting myself out of bed and dressed before the girls wake up gives me more energy for the day.

I tend to get the kids outside more, get my chores done earlier, and work out more frequently than I did before I started my morning routine.

4. If you have an introverted bone in your body, it gives you some much-needed alone time before the craziness ensues.

I’m a little strange in that sometimes I am introverted, and sometimes I am extroverted. I’m about as on the line as a person can be for this personality trait. 

But even for me, having that alone time is magical! I love sitting in the quiet before all the conversations begin.

If any of these reasons for starting a morning routine sound nice to you, grab a notebook because we are going to create one together right now!

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How to Create a Morning Routine

Here are the steps that I took to create the morning routine that I love and use every day… well almost every day… a girl’s gotta sleep in a little on the weekends, right?

1) Make a List

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and jot down anything and everything you would like to get accomplished before your kids get up. 

Don’t think practical at this point, you’re just brainstorming. It’s like you are creating a wish list for your mornings.

Do you want to exercise, read a book, shower, make your bed, just get dressed, or do some work?

For my list, I specifically chose things that are difficult or impossible to do once my day gets going.

Here is what my list looked like:

Morning Routine Brainstorm: 
Read a fun book
Have a Devotional Time
Get Dressed
Make the Bed
Drink Water
Brush My Teeth
Make a Cup of Tea
Write a Daily To-Do List

2) Time Each Activity

Now that you have your list, write down an approximate time that each activity will take. 

If you don’t know, make an educated guess. If you have no idea how long something will take, time yourself!

My timed list looked like this:

Morning Routine Timed
Work: 30-60 minutes
Read a Fun Book: 30 Minutes
Read a Devotional: 30 Minutes
Exercise: 30 minutes
Shower: 15 Minutes
Get Dressed: 5 Minutes
Make the Bed: 5 Minutes
Drink Water: While Reading
Brush My Teeth: 2 Minutes
Make a Cup of Tea: 5 Minutes
Write Daily to-do List: 5 Minutes

3) Build In a Buffer

Now, I don’t know about you, but I move slowly in the morning. I don’t bounce out of bed at the first ding of my alarm clock like some people do (I thought this was an urban legend until my oldest daughter started waking up like a Disney Princess 👸). 

It takes a couple of minutes for my brain and heart to argue about if we are really getting up this early or not. 

Then it takes me a couple more minutes to change into my workout clothes and get myself into workout clothes.

Sure, I could probably shower more quickly, but I wouldn’t enjoy a rushed shower each morning.

I want to intentionally set myself up for enjoying my morning routine. That will make it easier for me to roll out of bed each morning instead of snuggling back in.

With this in mind, I’m going to add some extra time in places where I think it would be helpful. For example, I’m going to give myself 5 minutes just to wake up!

Here is what my list looked like with some buffer time added in.

Build in a Buffer: 
Add 5 Minutes to Let myself wake up
Add 10 minutes to prep for working out.

4) Set Your Priorities

Now is when we start thinking practically with our list. Put everything on your list in order, from what you want to do most to things that might be kinda nice if you get to it.

Think Simple.

Most likely, you won’t have time for everything on your wishlist. 

So first think about if you could only do one thing every morning, what would it be? 

If you could do two, what would the second thing be?

Don’t feel like you have to put down things at the top of your list that you *should* do. 

If it would make you a happier and more relaxed person to read a good book for an hour before anyone else wakes up, put that at the top of your list.

For me, the top items on my priority list are my devotional time and exercising. If I don’t do them first thing, it is hard to get them done later in the day. Usually, if I wait too long, they don’t happen at all.

Here is my prioritized list:

Morning Routine-Prioritized:
Read Devotional: 30 Minutes
Exercise: 30 Minutes
Shower/Get Dressed: 20 Minutes
Work: 30-60 minutes
Read a Fun Book: 30 minutes
Make the bed: 5 Minutes
Drink Water: While Reading
Brush My teeth: 2 minutes
Make a Cup of Tea: 5 minutes
Write Daily to-do list: 5 minutes
Wake Up: 10 minutes
Work out prep: 10 minutes

5) Organize Your List

Aside from your first item or two, your list probably doesn’t have a lot of flow. Let’s change that, shall we?

Once your most important things are written down, organize the rest of your time to work with them.

For my list, I needed to move my Work Out Prep time before my Workout Time. 

Basically, just make sure that your order makes sense if you have more than one thing that you want to do. 

Morning Routine Organized
Wake Up/Brush Teeth: 5 minutes
Get Water to drink
Read Devotional: 30 minutes
Work out prep: 10 minutes
Exercise: 30 minutes
Shower/Get Dressed: 20 minutes
Make the bed: 5 minutes
Write Daily to-do list: 10 minutes
Work: 30-60 minutes
Make a cup of tea: 5 minutes
Read a fun book 30 minutes

6) Set Your Wake-Up Time

When deciding what time to get up, look at when your children typically wake up.

My kids usually get up between 7:00 am and 7:30 am. To make sure that I get everything done, I plan for them to get up at 7:00 am. 

If they sleep longer, then I just got a bonus of 30 minutes! But if they wake up at 7:00 am, I’m ready for them.

Then I work backward to see what time I need to get up. 

Look back at the time that you put next to each activity and add up the time next to your highest priority items. 

The easiest way to create a morning routine for busy moms!

How much time do you need to complete them?

I have approximately two hours’ worth of things that I want to do each morning, which brings me to a 5:00 am wake-up time, painful as that may be.

When choosing when to wake up, try to pick a time that will be easiest for you.

My husband gets up at 5:00 to get ready for work, so it made sense for me to try to get up either at the same time or sometime while he was still moving around in our room.

Now, he’s a considerate guy, so unless I actually pry my eyes open and turn on my bedside lamp, he will quietly leave the room and I will continue snoozing my alarm clock until the first child wanders in. 

This means that I need to get up when he is still moving around the room with a dim light on if I really want to make this work.

Now, if you are anything like me and have previously only referred to 5:00 am as an ungodly hour, stay with me. 

I read you loud and clear!

If 6:00 feels more manageable for you, start there. Know yourself, when your kids typically wake up, and what you want to accomplish when you pick your time.

If there isn’t enough time to get everything done, I suggest dropping an item or two from your list instead of trying to move faster. 

Night Owls don’t move quickly in the mornings unless there is a fire, and even then, it’s questionable.

Set yourself up for success by setting a reasonable and attainable goal, to begin with. You can always make your wake-up time earlier if you are enjoying your morning routine and want more time. 

You will never know if you even enjoy the routine you created, however, if you set a time that makes you give up before you even start.

Set a wake-up time that works best for you and write down your high-priority items that will fit into the time. Drop anything from your list that doesn’t fit into your time frame.

Morning Routine Final 
5:00 am: Wake Up/Brush Teeth
5:05 am: Get Water to drink
5:05 am: Read Devotional
5:35 am: Work out prep
5:45 am: Exercise
6:25 am: Shower/Get Dressed
6:45 am: Make the bed
6:50 am: Write Daily to-do list
7:00 am: Work

7) Have Everything Ready

Perfectly laid plans can go awry if you don’t have everything you need ready to go… especially when it comes to getting up early!

If you have to run all over the house to find everything you need for your routine, you will likely stay in bed. 

But if you have everything you need ready to go, you are more likely to follow through:

Before I go to sleep, I always have by my bed:

  1. My Bible and Highlighters
  2. A Water bottle
  3. My spiral notebook and favorite pens
  4. And my laptop for work

8) Test It Out

Try your routine for one week before you make any changes. Make notes each day to remind yourself what worked and what didn’t.

Did you give yourself enough time for each task? How did you do with getting up early? Do you think you could get up earlier to get more done? Try swapping out something that you didn’t like doing in the morning for something more enjoyable.

Remember the point is to enjoy your morning routine so that you can be a happy and productive mom throughout the day. 

If taking a bubble bath for an hour every morning makes that happen, do it!

Don’t put things on your list out of obligation or because your mother or a friend thinks you should do them.

How to Get Up Earlier

How to Create a Morning Routine when you're exhausted and overwhelmed

If you are anything like me, having a beautiful new morning routine makes you feel accomplished… until you realize that you are going to have to wake up early to stick with it.

So if there are any kindred spirits reading this post, I wanted to share with you things that have helped me get up early and stick with my morning routine. 

1) Go to Bed Early

As obvious as it may seem, this is the hardest step for me to stick with. My husband and I are naturally night owls and we don’t usually feel tired at night.

Going to bed early takes planning and discipline for us. If you have a hard time with this too, try setting an alarm on your phone in the evening half an hour before you want to go to bed. 

When the alarm goes off, start winding down and getting ready for bed.

Once you start getting up early, you will find it much easier to go to bed at night.

2) Get Up With Your First Alarm

We’ve all heard this advice before, but it isn’t always easy to do.

Commit to turning on a lamp when you hear your first alarm and it will be harder to just roll over and go back to sleep.

3) Get Out of Bed

I used to just prop myself up, pry my eyes open and start trying to read. Usually, that just resulted in me falling back to sleep in an upright position.

When I started walking to my daughter’s room and closing her door so the lights didn’t wake her up (she likes to sleep with the door cracked open), it was easier for me to stay awake. 

Just like we all learned in science class, bodies in motion tend to remain in motion. Once you’ve committed to putting your feet on the ground, it is easier to stay awake.

4) Brush Your Teeth

While you are up, walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth. If you use any kind of mint toothpaste it wakes up your brain.

I also found that it makes it easier to go to sleep at night if I brush my teeth when I put my girls to bed instead of waiting until right before I go to bed.

The complete guide to morning routines for stay-at-home moms

5) Start Drinking Water

Not only is it good for your body, but it will also help you wake up if you start drinking water as you begin your routine.

Since I’m already in the bathroom to brush my teeth, I fill up my cup with water and start drinking.

I’ve found that I drink a lot more water on the days when I wake up early compared with the days that I don’t. I think starting early gives your body the desire to keep drinking more.

6) Find an Accountability Buddy

Sometimes You, Yourself, and Your Alarm clock just aren’t enough motivation to get your booty out of bed at 5:00 AM (even if you know your 11:00 AM self will thank you for it). That’s where a buddy comes in handy.

When I worked outside the home full time, I knew that the only foolproof way for me to get my workout done was in the morning before work. 

Since no one ever wants to hang out at 5:00 am for some reason, I never had anything more exciting come up to distract me.

But since 5:00 am is WAY earlier than I am used to, I enlisted my mom who went to the same gym to get up and go with me.

It made a huge difference knowing that someone else was waking up at the same time and would be there for me when I got there.

If you are getting up early to work on your business, find a buddy who has a similar goal that you can text in the morning to encourage and check in with each other.

 If you want to get through a book for your book club, see if anyone else is getting up early to read and hold each other accountable.

Additional Ideas to Add to Your Routine

If you are having a hard time coming up with a list of things to accomplish, this will help you get started!

Morning Routine Ideas: 
1. Wake up/Brush Teeth
2. Drink Water
3. Read Devotional
4. Exercise
5. Shower/Get Dressed
6. Make the Bed
7. Write Daily to-do List
8. Work
9. Read a fun book
10. Enjoy a cup of coffee
11. Drink a cup of tea
12. Email a friend
13. Write a thank-you note
14. Journal
15. Take a Bath
16. Give Yourself a pedicure
17. Enjoy social Media
18. Read a chapter in a book
19. Make Breakfast
20. Streatch
21. Read a Blog
22. Make your lunch
23. Get some sun
24. Read an inspirational quote
25. Go for a walk
26. Learn something new
27. Work on a side hustle
28. Review your budget
29. Do your Make Up
30. Do Your Hair
31. Fold Laundry
32. Listen to Music
33. Plan Your Meals for the Day
34. Write Your Grocery List

Remember that the point of a Morning Routine is to get your day started on the right foot. 

Don’t feel like you need to do something productive if you would benefit more from some relaxing alone time. But it’s also ok if you are a Type A personality who wants to check some To-Dos off your list! 

Make it work for you and make it enjoyable and you will be having more productive mornings for a long time to come!

You May Also Like…

How to Create a Bedtime Routine And Get Your Kids to Bed On Time.

If you want to create a daily routine that will help you get more accomplished with less stress, check out How to Create a Daily Routine With a Simple Block Schedule.

You may also enjoy reading My Simple Weekly Cleaning Schedule: The Routine That Took Me From Overwhelmed to In Control.

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