Morning Routine

So, You Want a Productive Morning Routine—This Is the Place to Start

Energizing AM ideas.

By Isabelle Eyman
Woman drinking coffee in kitchen.

It’s no secret: we’ve long been proponents of practicing a morning routine. (Heck, we dedicate an entire column to learning the morning secrets of the most successful women we know.) AM rituals allow us to center and ground before jumping into the inevitable busyness of the day. Carving out time for our high-value activities ensures we’re pouring into ourselves on the daily. Because it’s true what they say—empty cups have nothing left to give.

But since the Covid years popularized aspirational, multi-step morning routines across social media, it’s easy to feel intimidated if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, the goal of your morning rituals is entirely up to you. Whatever feels supportive, important, and meaningful is exactly the path to pursue.

Featured image from our interview with Lauren Ireland.

Woman working on computer.

Morning Routines to Help You Reach Any Goal

Establishing and committing to a morning routine is the perfect place to start if you have goals you’re trying to hit. Not only does it open up more opportunities to practice these healthy habits, but you’re also setting the tone for a productive and intentional day ahead.

So whether you want to commit to a hobby, start a workout routine, or simply step into your workday feeling energized and aligned, we have morning habits for any goal you may have. Keep reading—and prepare to be inspired.

Goal: Be More Productive

We all want to make the most of our time. No matter the task at hand or the industry you work in, it’s important to feel that the effort you’re putting in matches the outcome. And while it can seem like the vague “try harder” approach should work, certain strategies can yield better results.

Your Productive Morning Routine

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. That’s right—a productive day starts the night before. Steal these expert-approved tips for better sleep.
  2. Give yourself time to adjust to the day. We all know those people who roll out of bed immediately before hopping onto a Zoom. Instead, give yourself ample time to eat breakfast, journal, work out, get ready—whatever you need to do to show up as your best self. Because I like to get a workout in before starting my day, I allot three hours for my morning routine. Realistically consider how much time you need to mentally prep for your day and subtract that from your start time.
  3. Review your goals. Camille does this every day without fail. Refer to your vision workbook and review your mantra, the words describing how you want to feel, and the goals you wrote down for every area of your life.
  4. Align your calendar. Does your day’s schedule match up with the goals you just reviewed? If not, see how you can make more time for what’s important.
  5. List out your priorities. What are three things that must get done today? Write these tasks somewhere you can see them easily throughout the day to help you stay on track.
Sanne Vloet working out

Goal: Prioritize Wellness

We use “wellness” as a general catch-all for everything. Movement, nutrition, mindfulness, etc. all get roped in. And yes, it can seem like a lot to try to make the time. But as with all morning routines, I like to reframe productivity and instead consider prioritizing what’s important and truly valuable for my day. Wellness, included.

For example, we’ve come a long way in our understanding of fitness. Now, rather than thinking that exercise always has to look like spending an hour-plus at the gym, we see (and feel!) the benefit of “exercise snacks” and getting low-impact movement throughout the day. And your morning routine is the perfect time to kickstart these habits.

So if you’re craving an energized, wellness-centric day ahead, steal this routine.

Your Wellness-Focused Morning Routine

  1. Wake up mindfully. Fight the temptation to hit the snooze button. Instead, commit to waking up immediately and rewarding your discipline. Set the coffee maker to go off at the same time as your alarm, or put out a pair of slippers for a comfy wake-up. (Hello, habit loop! Identifying the cue and creating the routine and subsequent reward is a powerful way to lock your habits into place.)
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I know—drinking water isn’t anything new, but it’s key for focus and feeling your best throughout the day. I always drink 32 ounces of water (room temperature with lemon, but that’s just my preference) before having my coffee or matcha.
  3. Mindfully sip your morning beverage. Speaking of my AM drink, it’s important to take the time to really enjoy your preferred bevvy instead of simply chugging it down. I like to pair my coffee or matcha with a few positive affirmations to create space for a high-vibe day.
  4. Journal your thoughts. I get it, journaling isn’t for everyone. But it’s a great way to gain awareness of the thoughts, worries, questions, or anxieties mulling about in your mind. And if you need somewhere to start, these guided journals offer plenty of inspiration.
  5. Squeeze in some movement. No, you don’t need to do a full-blown workout before your first meeting. But a yoga flow, quick stretch, or 10-minute walk outside can do wonders for boosting mental alertness.
  6. Prioritize nutrients at breakfast. A fiber-forward, protein-packed smoothie is my go-to, but whatever you have, ensure it’s packed with the goodness you need to stay fueled until lunch. Explore these healthy breakfast ideas.
  7. Indulge in a moment of self-care. Sure, you probably don’t have time for a full-blown self-care routine. But a small, simple act done just for you is often enough. Pair your journaling sesh with a sheet mask, squeeze in just five pages of the book you can’t put down, or relax with a hot shower. Whatever sounds just a little bit luxurious, give yourself the time for exactly that.
Camille Styles living room

Goal: Enjoy a Cleaner Home

Even after a deep weekend clean, by Wednesday, my house can often feel (and look) like a disaster zone. Luckily, maintaining order can be as simple as prioritizing a few daily tasks. These morning cleaning habits will address the areas of your home that get the most use. Think: the kitchen, bathrooms, beds, etc.

Your Clean Space Morning Routine

  1. Habit stack your cleaning. Most would agree: spending your entire morning cleaning sounds less than fun. And while these tasks are purposefully shorter to make time for other enjoyable morning practices, you can still design your cleaning routine to touch upon habits you value. For example: while you clean, listen to a podcast, audiobook, or playlist. You can also strap on some Bala Bangles to squeeze in a little workout.
  2. Make your bed. It’s not only a key cleaning habit, but one that will make you feel all the more productive as you get on with your day. Making your bed is a simple, symbolic task that signifies the transition from sleep.
  3. Open up the kitchen. Think of this as the opposite of “closing down the kitchen” at the end of the night. Presumably, your evening prep will leave you with clean and clear countertops, wiped-down cookware, and a kitchen table ready for your morning meal. In the morning, take this time to unload the dishwasher, prep ingredients for that day’s meals (example: throwing ingredients into the slow cooker), and light a candle to set the vibe. Bonus habit: fill up a pitcher of water with lemon slices and mint to sip on throughout the day.
  4. Tidy your entryway. It’s the first impression guests have of your home, and the state of your mudroom can dramatically shift how you feel when you enter your house. Put coats, shoes, and your kids’ gear in their designated spots and give the space a quick vacuum.
  5. Do a load of laundry. Fold what’s in the dryer and hang up any delicates. If you work from home, start the next load of laundry and switch it out at lunchtime or during a mid-morning break.
  6. Start your work day with a clean desk. Swipe your desk with a damp cloth, clean off your computer monitor and keyboard, and arrange any stray papers or notebooks. Spritz a room spray, start a diffuser, or light a candle. A recipe for productive AM bliss.
Woman painting

Goal: Cultivate a Creative Practice 

Of all the goals we may have, investing in our creativity is often the one that gets left to the wayside. But beyond simply being fun, making time for creative hobbies or practices allows us to feel like we’re living for ourselves—rather than constantly seeking approval from external sources. What’s more, creativity lets us play and tap into our child-like sense of wonder and curiosity. And here’s a secret: everyone is born with innate creativity inside of them. In many ways, creativity isn’t a trait—it’s how we orient ourselves to the world.

Your Creative Morning Routine

  1. Keep your phone off. With a fresh perspective, we’re often capable of doing our most creative thinking in the morning. But consuming content first thing crowds out this precious space with others’ lives. It can be hard at first, but keeping your phone off lets you engage with your creativity undisturbed.
  2. Practice meditation. The goal of meditation isn’t a blank mind, it’s to gain a greater sense of awareness. I like doing Open’s breathwork and meditation programs. Each is centered on a different focus, helping you get exactly what you need from every session.
  3. Get outside. The key? Without your phone. Take this time to truly experience your surroundings. Pay attention to the sounds and your neighborhood’s magical, everyday sights. A mindful walk is a great way to feel inspired, connected, and grateful for the day in front of you. It also helps you practice perspective, allowing you to be present for all that’s unfolding in each moment.
  4. Listen to music. Music has so much influence over how we feel. Curate a playlist on Spotify that aligns with how you want to feel in the morning. I have playlists for energizing days, calm days—everything! (I also have Casa Zuma’s “Daybreak” playlist on repeat.) Bonus points if you dance.
  5. Engage in a hobby. One of the goals of prioritizing creativity in the AM is to infuse your day with personal pursuits. Pick an existing hobby or find a new one that you connect with. After just 15-30 minutes, you’ll feel fulfilled and purposeful as you step into your day.
  6. Read something that’s not on your computer. A good old-fashioned book or magazine is perfect. Aligned with step one of this creative morning routine, it’s important to disconnect from technology for as long as possible to stay in your creative zone.