How to Build an Effective Morning Routine in 15 Easy Steps

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Building a morning routine and turning off alarm

If you’re anything like me, you’ll wake up after snoozing your alarm for an hour, scroll on social media for another 20 minutes before you head to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee and get your day started. While it might seem like a completely satisfactory start to the day, it’s far from efficient.

After much research and countless YouTube tutorials, my morning routine has taken a complete turn, and I couldn’t feel happier about it. By using the morning hours to get organised, my days are far more productive and enjoyable. However, what works for me might not be ideal for you.

So, throughout this article I’ll talk you through 15 tips that you can use to create your personal morning routine.

Watch how to set yourself up for success each and every morning: 

1. Get Enough Sleep the Night Before

A great morning routine starts from the night before. Ever noticed that when you’re sleep deprived, you wake up feeling cranky and lethargic? Studies found that subjects who were limited to only four and a half hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When they gained a regular seven to eight hours of sleep per night, they reported a dramatic improvement in their mood. 

So, to create the best morning routine it’s advisable to have an hour of ‘me-time’ without social media interruptions before you get into bed. In essence, you can practice a skincare routine or read a chapter of your favourite book before calling an early night.

2. Wake Up Early

Instead of wasting time snoozing your alarm, get out of bed and do something productive before you head to work for the day. Now, if you’re not usually an early-bird, I’m not telling you to wake up at crazy o’clock when the sun hasn’t even risen yet – that won’t be enjoyable and may even wreck your mood altogether. What I am suggesting, however, is to gradually start waking up an hour or two earlier than you usually do. By doing so, you will have time to work on yourself and your goals before you have to continue with your usual chores for the day.

3. Make Your Bed

This might not sound as compelling as the other tips you’ve read but making your bed is one of the best things to include in your morning ritual. It’s a simple act that requires discipline, foresight and commitment. But it’s also one that can make a huge difference to your daily routine.

According to decorated veteran, Admiral William H McRaven, making your bed every morning will give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you to complete other tasks throughout the day. 

4. Make a Coffee

While most health experts advise on lemon water to get you started for the day, I’m sticking to a deliciously aromatic coffee! Why force yourself to drink something that you don’t enjoy, even if it is an excellent detox for your body?

On the other hand, some well-established CEOs like Ariana Huffington swear by bulletproof coffee (a metabolism and energy-boosting drink made of low-mould coffee beans, two tablespoons of grass-fed butter and two tablespoons of medium-chain triglyceride oil). But if fancy drinks don’t cut it for you, just stick to your regular beverage of choice in the morning.

5. Get Organised

While you’re enjoying that hot cup of Joe, get organised for the day by setting yourself some goals. The way you do this is entirely up to you – you may decide that you want to set weekly targets rather than daily ones, and that’s completely fine! What’s important is to establish a method that helps you keep your goals aligned with your daily routine. Some people do this by writing out a daily to-do list, while others prefer to use an app or post-it notes.

6. Exercise

Exercising in the morning is extremely beneficial for the mind and body; according to Japanese researchers, exercising on an empty stomach forces the body to burn fat since it mimics the fasting stage. However, there are many different types of exercise that can release endorphins to make us feel happier.

It’s not necessary to go for a 5-mile run to feel energised in the morning, a simple walk or a 20-minute yoga session will still give you the boost that you need to have a productive day. 

7. Shower and Get Ready

Once you’ve released some tension from your body, it’s time to shower and get ready for the day! You can use this time to practice your morning skincare routine, to listen to the radio, or blast your favourite playlist.

To help you save time fumbling over what you're going to wear for the day, it’s advisable to get your clothes, shoes and accessories ready from the night before. That way, you can shower, get ready and head out the door without adding any stress into your morning.

8. Meditate

You may already practise meditation throughout some part of the day or you may feel hesitant about switching off and meditating; however, many successful entrepreneurs swear by different forms of meditation to free their mind and focus on what’s truly important.

If you’re feeling hesitant, there are many great apps, such as Headspace and Calm, that offer guided meditation to help you find a mindfulness programme within your comfort zone.

9. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Great nutrition is the basis of a healthy mind and body, which is why it’s vital to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. While some of us can’t eat anything first thing in the morning, it’s important to consume some food within two hours of waking up. Kim Larson, a Seattle-based dietician, says that ‘the sooner you eat breakfast after you wake up, the better it is for your metabolism.’ So, allow some time within your morning routine to whip up a nutritional breakfast that you can enjoy either at home or on-the-go.

10. Express Gratitude

A great way to start off on a positive note in the morning is to express things that you are grateful for in your life. You can note these down on an app, or simply journal three things that you’re grateful for each day. By doing so, you can improve relationships, physical and emotional health, energy levels and, in turn, increase your overall happiness.

11. Check Your Emails

If your job consists of emails, checking them before you actually start work can have a significant advantage of your day. It can help you prioritise your tasks or get prepared for what’s in store for you before you even step foot in the workplace. And with technology, you can do this from the comfort of your own home or on your daily commute to the office.

12. Do Some Learning

All great entrepreneurs stress the importance of continued learning. Let’s take a look at Elon Musk, who is notoriously known for reading books for up to 12 hours per day. While none of us have that much time to spare, it is essential to schedule some time for learning and personal development throughout the day. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of reading; you could listen to a podcast or watch a video to learn a skill that you’ve been wanting to develop.

13. Set Reminders

I am a huge fan of calendar reminders and live by colour-coded to-do lists. However, if you’re not as keen on reminders or productivity apps, you could simply create a good, old fashioned list to keep on your fridge!

The point here is that we lead such busy lives that we often forget to do things throughout the day, so to help you stay focused and on schedule, you could use the help of a few friendly reminders!

14. Connect with Loved Ones

Connecting with friends and family members should be part of everyone’s morning routine. Whether it’s a quick catch up with your housemate, parents or partner, or a five-minute call to check in with your sibling or bestie, it’s something that will surely uplift your mood in the morning.

15. Tackle the Hardest Tasks First

Getting through your hardest task of the day first will give you a massive sense of relief! You’ll be able to focus on the most important job when you have the highest momentum and will relax a little once you’ve got it out of the way.

Once energy levels start to dip mid-morning, we lose a bit of self-control and often start procrastinating, so don’t lose sight of what’s important and leave your most challenging tasks for the morning hours.

While some of these tips may not be ideal for you, they are there as a guide to build on and adapt within your very own morning routine. So, what are you waiting for? Start adopting some of these success habits for a more effective and productive lifestyle!

What does your morning routine look like? Get involved in the conversation by leaving a comment in the section below!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article that was originally published on 27 July 2018.