Before the chaos of 2020 ensued, I would have laughed at the idea of a “morning routine.” Y’all, I was spending an hour putting my makeup on and doing my hair every day; I didn’t have time to do yoga and make some elaborate smoothie bowl and make my bed and journal and meditate in silence for 20 minutes and write affirmations. I could barely get out of the door in time for the Starbucks *I* ordered. But then, life imploded and I needed something to quite literally fill my time so I wouldn’t wake up with existential dread every single day!
I know what you’re thinking: this girl needs a therapist, and yes, I just made an appointment on ZocDoc.
Because every day is different (despite the Groundhog Day memes floating around), I can’t have one blanket routine that works for everything. My days are different and revolve around various meetings, deadlines, and ~personal engagements~ (I am not as important as I’m making myself out to be right now). So throughout the last few months, I’ve been slowly perfecting a few different morning routines to get myself in the groove, and the most important one as of late has been my Productive Busy Day Get Sh*t Done routine (trademark coming soon). For the days I have a to-do list that’s an entire page long and it seems like there’s no end in sight, I prepare myself with this morning routine. It gets me up and at ‘em and ready to pull through a day of endless list-making with ease!
Wake up early
OK, I’ll admit that this isn’t hard for me. My internal clock wakes me at about 6-6:15am—I have no idea why. But on the days I’m tempted to sleep in a little longer, I make sure I get up at least by 6:45. Knowing I have about two hours to do what I want before I really have to work makes me much more excited for the day than when I grab my computer from my desk at exactly 8:29am.
Schedule my day
One aspect of this morning routine is that I write my to-do list before bed. I am a #bulletjournaler, so I track my habits and mood in a notebook at night which is also when I write my to-do list. We use Asana to track tasks for the day, so I look at all my tasks and brain dump what I want to get done the next day, both for work and my personal life (things like “call the Internet company because they raised your rate $20 a month!” and “walk to the library” make the list).
Then, in the morning, I actually put all of that into a schedule. Some days, I do it right on my iCal. Other days, I’ll write it in my notebook. And sometimes, I’ll be honest, it simply lives in my head. But knowing that I want to write this article at 10am, schedule Facebook at noon, attend a meeting at 1pm, and take my lunch at 2 keeps me on a schedule. It also forces me to work even when I want to procrastinate. Because I know I need to take my lunch at 2, I have to get all those other things done before that time.
Scroll on my phone
I know you just audibly gasped. Does this girl have any concept of wellness? You know, not really. When I know my day will be full, I allow myself that scrolling time in the morning. If I get out my Twitter fingers first thing in the morning, I’m less tempted to pick up my phone at all the other lulls in my day. I’ve done my liking, sharing, retweeting, Story-ing, and following for the day, so I can wait until later to get ahead. Also, I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but social media motivates me sometimes. I see a cute picture that inspires me to read a new book, or I see a hilarious tweet that I absolutely want to reference in a story (here is my favorite from this morning).
This is also the time I catch up on news and current events. I get NYT news alerts and always read those, but I also love getting my news from Instagram and Twitter. I follow a lot of news outlets and creators who share a lot of what’s going on in the world (the good and the bad), and I enjoy that kind of news coming from #OwnVoices (a term coined in book publishing that describes books authored by someone who identifies with the marginalized community expressed in the work) sometimes even more than 2,000-word long-form articles about a community (shoutout to the journalism degree I’ll be paying off for the next 15 years!).
If this will affect your mental health (which it absolutely does to me sometimes), then it’s probably not the best for you. Know yourself.
Eat a big breakfast
On a day that I know I have a gazillion things to do, I make a big breakfast. I know what you’re thinking. “She makes a big breakfast because it gives her energy and electrolytes and brain power!!!” Not one bit. I wish that was why. In actuality, I make a big breakfast because it’ll keep me full until lunchtime so I’m not spending my entire morning thinking about when I can take a break and eat something. Instead, I eat at breakfast, and then I’m full, alert, and ready to work until I take my scheduled lunch break.
This breakfast looks different sometimes, but right now, I am absolutely addicted to these breakfast wrap/burrito/too-big-so-I-make-it-a-taco situation. Just a wrap, scrambled eggs, cheese, two strips of bacon (I buy the pre-made that you just heat up in the oven or skillet because LOL, I don’t actually know how to cook bacon at 23 years old), and veggies or salsa! I also go the easy route with savory oatmeal, eggs and hash browns, or basically any variation I can cook an egg in!
Listen to music
Again, I’m showing that I’m weird, but on days that I’m busy, I rarely listen to music and prefer to either work in silence or ASMR videos (LOL, guys, give it a try—watching this woman gently sanitize her groceries will soothe your germ-anxiety). It just is calming and soothing for me, and when I listen to music, I want to sing or dance and feel like I can’t focus my thoughts. So, before I start my day is when I like to shuffle a Spotify playlist and get all of that out. Music is another thing that really motivates me, so I rarely listen to soothing, soft music and almost always listen to “Frat Rules” by A$AP Mob at least once a day!
If my hair and makeup aren’t at least somewhat done or I’m wearing gross clothes, I will mess around and stare at myself in disgust all. day. long. I’ll usually put my hair in some kind of bun or braids so it’s out of my face and I can’t fidget with it all day (because I’m basically a child!). Then, I’ll just apply the basic makeup (tinted moisturizer, mascara, brows, bronzer, and highlighter). I look good enough for any meetings that come up (they almost never do, but a girl can hope) or walks around the neighborhood, but most importantly, I feel better and won’t worry about my appearance all day.
As far as clothes, it’s pretty strategic. I’ll usually grab a dress (the one above is sold out, but all of our editors have been loving this one all summer!) because it’s one piece and no pants. I wish I could say it’s because I want to look nice, but that’s mostly it. I just hate pants. Otherwise, it’s leggings or shorts and a blouse or tank! Pretty basic, but most of all comfortable for me.
How do YOU get ready for a busy day?! Tell us your tips in the comments!