July 26, 2017

How Establishing A Morning Routine Boosted My Productivity Levels

how establishing a morning routine can boost productivity levels

The Importance Of Establishing A Morning Routine

I always have been and always will be a creature of habit.

I thrive best on 80% routine with that other 20% left over for the odd surprise here and there to shake things up a bit. But not too much.

Having been a nine to fiver since the age of sixteen, I found it easy to live by the deadlines and usual demands of a regular working day.

So when, by a serendipitous chain of events, I found the blog taking off and me becoming the boss of well, me, the adjustment period was (and still is), huge.

Flitting like a happy bumblebee
from one internet flower to another…

Having no one but yourself (for the most part) to answer to and a plethora of online resources just waiting to sidetrack and distract you, is a recipe for a lot of unproductive days let me tell you.

I dread to think of all the hours wasted as I flitted like a happy bumblebee from one internet flower to another when I should have been getting into the mindset of actually producing something akin to work!

early morning cup of tea

morning shower routine

As I learn more about working for myself, the one single thing that helps me to get the day off on the right foot is establishing a morning routine.

Get it right and it acts as the perfect transition from sleepy bed-headed woman to kick-arse, lady boss blogger in charge of her own destiny. Kind of.

Get it wrong and the whole day never really takes off beyond that initial coffee driven buzz.

Don’t worry… I’m not
going all Gwyneth on you…

Before you worry that I’m about to get all Gwyneth on you and tell you that everyday, upon rising I wash my hair in the dew, milk the goat, make quinoa porridge and steam clean my *dishwasher*… don’t panic. I’m not.

This is me we’re talking about here. And close call with the Gwyneth/steam cleaning reference thing huh? Google it!

Since H started senior at school last September, these are the habits that I’ve slowly grown into… and they’re making an enormous difference to my productivity levels.

And they’re not rocket science…

pai gentle genius body wash

favourite morning shower products

charlotte tilbury make up and coffee

establishing a morning beauty routine

Shop morning routine beauty essentials

Early = In control

The main ingredient is as simple as that. If I get up early enough, the house and therefore the world feels like a more organised place by 8.00am.

We’ve fallen into a natural running order that for me has to start with tea, shower and then coffee.

Wake up H, get dressed, apply make up (this means I’m still upstairs and can ensure her bed is actually being vacated), make packed lunch if needed and then tidy up the morning whirlwind leftovers.

Oh and more coffee.

I’ve come to realise that, as one who is easily distracted by her environment, the key for me is that tidy up part. Read on!

Coffee essentials working from home

peaceful early morning scene

Set The Scene

As un-domestic as I am, I find I settle down to work much better knowing that the washing up is done or that laundry load is out of the machine and drying etc etc.

Otherwise it nags at me and I end up getting up to do it mid-way through the morning.

My desk is in the living room so I make sure the dining table is clear (for me to clutter up later on with work paraphernalia), the cushions on the sofa are where they’re supposed to be, I’ve got a relevant Spotify playlist to suit my mood and a scented candle ready to light.

I work better in a
calm tidy environment…

I know… this all sounds likes it’s bordering on obsessive – don’t judge! I just work way better in a calm tidy environment than I do a messy, cluttered one.

Its my scene setting ritual for the day. And I’ve grown to love it.

Around 8.00am is also when I post a first Instagram so its good to have everything domestic out of the way so I can dial up my blogging brain to 100% from there on in.

magimix Nespresso machine

labrador asleep under the table

We’re not all productive
in the morning…

8.00am Golden Hour

H leaves for the school bus just before 8.00am and Mr OS has pretty much always departed way before this time.

I try and aim to have everything else done and out the way so I can be at my desk for 8.00am.

I’m sure it’s purely psychological but the mindset this provides me with is invaluable. It feels straightway like I’m ahead of the game by gaining an extra hour.

Which is crazy as the reality is I lose a couple of hours at the end of the day when H comes in from school around 3.30.

But the morning is when I’m most productive and if I feel like it’s off to a flying start, that in turn makes me work smarter and faster.

kinfolk and coffee

Check In Rules

For the last few years, on waking I would roll over, switch off the iPhone alarm and sleepily check in with Instagram, Twitter and email.

Talk about putting myself on the back foot straightway. I wouldn’t have rocked up to an early morning meeting in my PJs back in my office days so why do that now?

My FOMO and twisted thought process that this was getting me ahead of the game was actually tripping me up and making the start to the day a whole lot more stressful.

No checking in
until I’m at my desk

By focusing first on the home front and then the work stuff, both instantly become more efficient.

Now there’s no checking in until I’m at my desk and ready to deal with whatever the inbox throws my way.

And no more of those “Argh…I have nothing to post for a morning Instagram!” moments. By using Mosaico, I can decide the day before which image will be the first of the day and can already have decided on the caption and hashtags to go with it.

Told you I was Instagram obsessed!

minimal coffee set up

Breakfast On My Time

During the week, we all breakfast at different times as we’re all on different schedules. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, this does not make us a dysfunctional family. It makes us a busy and realistic one.

H eats around 7.00am and that’s way too early for me. And when Mr is eating his breakfast I’m either in the shower or making a packed lunch and shooing along those of us who have to catch a school bus.

So I’ve fallen into the comfortable routine of posting that 8.00am Instagram, spending half an hour on anything urgent in the inbox or social media scheduling and then stopping for breakfast when I actually want to eat around 8.30am.

This gives me time to gather my thoughts and mentally plan the day ahead.

mid morning coffee break

mid morning coffee break with Kinfolk magazine

Thats it… a simple routine that pretty much centres on one key theme of 8.00am!

As a next step I’d like to factor in some wellbeing components too.

I’m currently reading The Miracle Morning and feel inspired by the idea of getting up earlier to make time for some extras. Exercise, five or ten minutes with a meditation App such as Rituals or Headspace and some journalling.

Realistically, with the summer holidays now full steam ahead, I’m thinking a better time to implement these would be September as part of the back to school season.

So I’m making a diary note to re-read Monica’s post about setting positive intentions as the school holiday draws to a close. I really love the idea of setting weekly goals that focus on wellbeing and the feel good factor.

A Summer Scheduling Note…

And speaking of summer holidays, just a quick reminder that I’ll be posting once a week here, usually on a Wednesday, for the duration of the school break.

As well as taking time off to spend with H, there’s some prep to be done for the #TOSrefresh2017 launch in September and our family holiday to Cornwall too!

To ensure you don’t miss a post, sign up with your email below or over in the sidebar. And stay tuned for next week’s blog post that comes with a freebie download!

Fabulous Further Reading On Productivity

How I Structure My Mornings For Productivity – The Elgin Avenue

4 Productivity Tips For #BossBabes Working From Home – Chloé Digital

How To Start Your Week Off Right – Advice From A Twenty-Something

5 Essential Productivity Habits Every Blogger Should Have – Blogging For Keeps

And a couple more from me…

My Top Five Tips For Productive Blogging

How To Create An Inspiring And Productive Workspace

Try These Spotify Play Lists Dependant On Your Morning Mood…

Early Grey Morning | Good for rainy atmospheric days

hush Wake You Up Commuter Play List | For when you need a blast to get going

Your Coffee Break | Chilled acoustic tracks to relax, think & work to

Ambient Lounge | A bit more upbeat but not too distracting!

 STYLE CREDITS: Vintage Milk Bottle – (old) Garden Trading : similar on Etsy | Tray – Part of a set at The White Company | Linen Napkins – The White Company | Artisan Mug – The White Company | Marble Tray – Oliver Bonas  | Wonderglow & Unisex Healthy GlowCharlotte Tilbury c/o | Camellia & Bergamot Gentle Genius  Body Wash – Pai c/o | Eve Lom Cleanser | Nespresso Machine | Vase – H&M Home | Kinfolk Magazine 

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9 comments on “How Establishing A Morning Routine Boosted My Productivity Levels”

  1. I totally understand your dilemma! I’m a school teacher, so my working day is extremely structured and planned. Each lesson taught is managed within the time constraints allowed. As a result, I’m all over the place in the holidays and am rubbish at being productive during this time! I admire anyone who works from home since the distractions are numerous. Your approach is the only way it could work for me. Really enjoy your posts and have no doubt you are a huge inspiration to other bloggers. Looking forward to seeing your recommendations for the next season’s cashmere!

    1. Ah thank you so much Paula! I used to thrive on the structure so I completely get where you’re coming from!
      And the difference when it comes to holidays must be hard to get your head around. Particularly when you still have work to complete in that time!
      So pleased you enjoy the posts and I’m sure I can come up with something on the cashmere front for autumn!
      Amanda xx

  2. Inspired. Hadn’t thought about how unhealthy it is to check my phone from my bed. Hmmm. Will try doing that differently tomorrow! I think there is a real shift when working for oneself. I found there was so much written about creative writing on waking; how the creativity just pours out and there are many writers who keep a notepad by the bed and do a stream of consciousness. For me this is more or less impossible as I wake and have, when it is school term, an hour of getting everyone else ready. Realistically I can’t start to write until I’ve done about twenty other things and I used to really beat myself up about it – as in why was I not compelled to write on waking; did this mean I was not a ‘proper’ writer?! Then I figured that’s just conformism messing with me and I should do what fit for my life. So first things first: dog, tea, tidy, school run, my run and then maybe some words. Lou x

    1. Its weird isn’t it? Just a habit that I quickly formed and did it for years. And it kept tripping me up!
      It is very different when you work at home – you have to be so much more disciplined I find. Although I love the flexibility that comes
      with it. This morning I allowed myself time to sit in bed and edit some photos as I didn’t have to be anywhere specific so its swings and roundabouts!
      And never conform Lou – you have to fit your creativity in around your life…in whatever from that may take!
      Amanda xx

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I’m really fascinated by other people’s morning routines. Up until 4 years ago, I was always a press-the-snooze-button-about-5-times kind of girl. I then had children and had health issues to get on top of so completely changed my morning. I now make time for breakfast and reading (even if it’s just an article of a magazine). I have heard a lot about The Miracle Morning so will check that out. I love the 5 Minute Journal and often look to My Morning Routine on twitter to get inspiration! Katie x

    1. A fascination with other people’s morning routines is a bizarre thing to have isn’t it but I’m right there with you Katie!
      Hitting the snooze button is so tempting but I feel completely rubbish when I do it. So great to hear you’re thinking about your needs too – I truly believe it means we’re better able to take care of everyone else!
      Will check out My Morning routine on Twitter and I love the 5 Minute Journal Instagram account too!
      Happy Wednesday!
      Amanda xx

  4. Beautiful, inspiring post, Amanda! I love your “check in rules” – this is a big one for me. So is having a regular morning pattern that involves solitude, quiet, a quick lake plunge, yoga and bullet-proof coffee or tea. If this is off or rushed, I feel off and rushed the entire day. Love your little espresso machine!

    1. Thanks so much Dana!
      The check in rules are important to start off feeling un-hurried and on the back foot aren’t they?
      And Wow to the lake plunge idea – I would imagine that leaves you feeling invigorated! I’m often at the beach walking the dog and see some elderly people swimming in the sea regardless of of the weather and I am in complete awe!
      Wishing you a peaceful and quiet start to the day everyday!
      Amanda xx

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