A Simple Morning Routine For An Effective Day

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A morning routine is like foreplay to the start of an amazing day; you start off slow and gently get warmed up for the exciting climax later in the day. Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, dedicating the first 2-3 hours of my day to my morning routine gives me clarity, energy, and focus that sets me up for a productive and fulfilling day ahead.

I have also found that my morning routine doubles up as “me time”. At the break of dawn, I get to spend some quiet time by myself, away from the distraction of my computer and phone screens. There’s a quiet serenity I get to experience that makes me be more self-aware and conscious of the world around me before I dive into the world and my responsibilities later.

In the next five minutes, I will walk you through how I typically start my day. Many people never notice how powerful a good start of the day can do for your personal effectiveness in the hours that follow. If you’re up for an experiment, I invite you to follow along and experience it for yourself. I promise you it’s going to make a world of difference.

Photo credits: Tomasz Woźniak

Enrich the body

The first part of my morning routine is to get up and exercise. Ever since the arrival of the pandemic, I have had days where I am at my desk, literally butt to chair, for 12 hours or more. Working from home has not only made our lives a lot more sedentary, but I personally feel more tired by the end of the day if I haven’t exercised earlier that day. Now, I make it a point to either go for a 3km run or do a home-based strength workout every day, and I never go without exercise for more than two consecutive days.

In addition to improving energy levels, I also take this opportunity to get into better shape. I’ve never been ashamed of my body, but I’ve always wished to have a flat tummy – it makes my clothes fit better! This might be a superficial reason, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. After all, the clothes make the man, don’t they?

Photo credits: Toa Heftiba

Enrich the mind

The second part of my morning routine is also my favourite. This is where I brew myself a nice cup of coffee, plop myself at my cosy corner, and spend up to an hour reading. Nothing screams “me time” more than fragrant coffee in one hand, and your favourite non-fiction book in the other.

Reading exposes me to new perspectives from other people with whom I would otherwise never cross paths with. James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits”, couldn’t have phrased it better:

Reading is like a software update for your brain. Whenever you learn a new concept or idea, the ‘software' improves. You download new features and fix old bugs.

In this way, reading a good book can give you a new way to view your life experiences. Your past is fixed, but your interpretation of it can change depending on the software you use to analyze it

Of course, not everything I read will be immediately helpful or relevant; I simply go in with an open mind and take only what resonates deeply with me. The important thing here is to apply the learnings into our lives, little by little, every single day.

Photo credits: Scott Broome

Enrich the soul

The final segment of my morning routine is all about quiet time. This is where I slow down and connect with my inner self. Here, I either meditate or journal for about 15-30 minutes. I don’t follow any particular program here, and simply hold space to allow my mind to wander.

Have you ever taken a cool shower and experienced an “Ah ha!” moment? This happens to me way too often; distant ideas and thoughts in my mindscape suddenly find a way to connect, giving me answers to questions that I have pondered about for weeks and months.

Many studies suggest that time away from our screens boost creativity and the insight-generating capabilities of our minds. Since I’m working to develop myself as a writer and creator now, to that I’ll say yes please!

Now it's your turn!

When you put it all together, you can see how much personal development you can engage in for yourself in simply 2 hours or less. Having experienced all the good that a morning routine can do for me, I now find myself jumping out of bed eager to get started with it!

It is worth noting here that I did not develop these habits overnight. If you are doing this for the first time, it is perfectly cool to start small. I started out with just a 10-minute run followed by reading only a single page per day. The key here is not about how much you actually accomplish, but how much you show up for yourself.

Now that you know my method, it’s time to put it into practice in your own life! I would love to know how this works out for you, so please let me know how it goes in the comments below, or reach out to me on LinkedIn or Instagram. I look forward to seeing your amazing results!

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About the author
Terry Toh

Terry Toh

Terry is an aspiring life coach working towards his accreditation by the International Coaching Federation. He loves to read about personal development and entrepreneurship, often with a nice cup of coffee or G&T in hand.
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