Morning Routines Help Jump Start Productivity

New morning routineAs of today, my four kids are home on summer break. As they lay sleeping like the little angels they are, I am already well into my work day. In the past, even the most subtle change in my daily routine would throw a wrench in my productivity. But I’ve discovered that keeping a morning routine not only keeps me balanced and mindful, it also lifts my mood and increases my motivation and productivity.

Pray fajr

I’m in the Central Time Zone so fajr comes in around 4:15 a.m. This morning we got the kids up to make wudu and made fajr together before everyone stumbled bleary-eyed back to bed. On  school days, I’d opt to stay awake and continue with my morning routine in blissful silence. I tried going back to sleep, but failed. I guess I’ve evolved into a habitual early riser.

Read qur’an

A few days ago, a friend and I were discussing the fact that no matter how many times you read the qur’an, something that you may not have focused on previously will be just jump out. More often than not, it’s something I need precisely in that moment.

Sit in silence

I’m a mother of four (three boys and one girl) so chaos and noise are my life; but I’m also kind of introverted and crave long stretches of silence where I can just be. Fifteen, ten, even five minutes of quiet is absolute bliss. It grounds me so that I’m ready for all the activity and noise of the day.

Stretch

I spend around 30 minutes stretching my entire body every morning to gently get my blood moving. I sit a lot more than I’d like during the day. Holding certain postures for long periods of time results in stiff, achy muscles, plus all that sitting is a huge heath hazard. I usually set my egg timer throughout the day to take frequent “mini standing breaks” that include stretching throughout the day.

Move something

Daily exercise is the newest thing I’ve added to my morning ritual. As a wife, mother, and caregiver (for my mother), I love taking care of the ones I love, but I can’t afford to neglect my own health in the process. I’m trying to commit to starting each day with 30 minutes of  exercise in the form of a neighborhood walk, yoga or Tai Chi.

Cup of joe

I’m just going to say it: I’m a coffee snob. I used to stop off at a local coffee shop with my laptop after dropping the kids at school every day to enjoy a gourmet coffee; but since setting some new financial goals for myself, that’s no longer in the budget. Now I brew my own. And it’s pretty darned good too! I usually enjoy two steaming cups every morning.

Prioritize the to-do list

I write out my to-do list the night before and in the morning I prioritize the top three items on the list for the day – usually the three hardest tasks. Why only three? Well, three is not such an intimidating number. I’m relatively confident in my ability to finish and and cross three things off my list before my work day ends. I usually do much more, but when I’m having a bad day, I feel good knowing those top three items on my list got done.

Do you have a morning routine? What do you do each day to stay mindful and productive?

photo by: