Start the day right.

lifestyle design

At the turn of the year, I realised that I needed to re-examine the way I begin my day. I’m a chronic snoozer. That is, without fail, I tend to hit the snooze button and say to myself “just 5 more minutes”. The problem with doing that is that a) it makes me more tired and b) causes me to rush around in a bid to get ready for the work day on time. What I think is worse though, is that it sets the tone for the rest of the day. I am far more productive on days that I happen get up the moment my alarm rings. Miraculous isn’t it?

What makes for a perfect morning routine though? I guess everyone would tell you that it totally depends on the individual. That’s true. What works for me may not work for you. My morning routine isn’t perfect and like most new habits, I’m still in the process of tweaking it. But here’s what I do on most days.

Wake up with an alarm. I am (unfortunately) using my phone as an alarm. The best app I’ve found so far is Sleep Cycle because it wakes you up gently when you are semi-conscious (e.g. within half an hour before your designated time). I would love one of those sunlight lamps like one from this list but I’ll wait until I’m back in Singapore to get one of those.

Hydrate. After a night of sleep, our bodies desperately need water to function optimally. I’ll usually have a huge gulp of water from my trusty Nalgene water bottle that I keep by my bed. It’s glow-in-the-dark and I really like that about it, especially when I get thirsty in the middle of the night (it happens).

Hygiene routine. There is nothing better than splashing cold water on your face to wake you up. I brush my teeth and wash my face thoroughly, then tone and moisturise. By this time, I am, more often than not, fully awake.

Exercise. At the moment I’m doing simple stretching and 50 squats (part of the 100 squats a day challenge, with the other half in the evening). I would like to run at some point, but it’s a bit too cold for me in the middle of winter, but when the weather warms up I’ll get to it and adjust my routine accordingly.

Make a cup of coffee. Another much needed boost to my morning includes a cup of coffee. I usually don’t have the time to make a nice cup in a moka pot so I use instant coffee instead. I have my coffee with a bit of milk and no sugar. Of course, on days where I have time, I’d love to make a nice brew. I don’t have an espresso machine yet. But one day I might, who knows? #coffeenerd

Devotionals = reading the bible and prayer. I’ve really come to look forward to my morning bible reading, prayer and reflection time. I know loads of other people do other kinds of meditation to start their day and this is my version of it. Not only does it help me to place my focus correctly right (on God) from the start of the day, it also keeps me well equilibrated. And I learn a lot too from reflecting on what I’ve read.

Breakfast. I’ve been really into having chia seed puddings for breakfast lately although I’m not a whiz at making them. I’ll prepare them the night before and the next day just add a little granola and some mixed nuts. Other times I’ll have eggs and ham, it totally depends on what I feel like having. But having a good breakfast with complex carbohydrates (in moderation) is important to keep me productive for the entire morning.

So that’s it. I don’t do anything fancy really, but it does get me crankin’ for a productive day ahead. If I could wake up at 5am instead of 7am, I’d be adding another 2 hours to potentially do other things out of my scope of work… but well… that’s another habit I am trying to develop this year. It’s taking a while but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. Setting the tone for the day in this way has helped me tremendously. If you’re used to feeling your way through your mornings, make a plan instead and see how that works out for you. It might surprise you with how much better your day goes.

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