How to Create Your Morning Routine Checklist

a woman standing in front of a stone wall with a today daily planner

A morning routine gets our day off to a great start.

But instead of striving for the perfect morning routine that covers everything from meditating to making breakfast to working on a passion project, try a morning routine checklist instead.

Our mornings are usually the one part of the day that we have all to ourselves. No urgent phone calls. No work fires to put out. The day still feels peaceful and full of promise. And with all this potential, it can be tempting to cram our morning with everything under the sun. 

Ideally, a morning routine helps us feel calm and ready for the day ahead. Take advantage of this precious time by investing your energy not on every single task, but on your biggest priorities. 

If your mornings feel rushed and stressful, then a morning routine checklist can help you feel grounded and organized. In the mornings, when our brains are still feeling fuzzy from sleep, it really helps to see things laid out on paper in an easy, check-list format. 

Here’s how you can create a morning routine checklist to focus on what you really want to do, and set the right tone for the day.

Imagine your ideal morning routine 

What does an ideal morning routine look like to you? 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being overly ambitious with our morning routine. We strive to wake up at the crack of dawn, make breakfast, workout, write our novel, and achieve everything on our to-do list. 

Rather than overloading the first part of the day, go easy on yourself and choose a few things to focus on. After all, we don’t want to tucker ourselves out before the day’s even started.

It helps to sit down and define the things that you’d like to accomplish in the morning. What could you do in the morning that would help you feel great for the rest of the day? What could you do in the morning that would give you a successful start? 

It will also help to give your morning routine an overall theme. For example, maybe it’s a productivity theme or a wellness theme. A theme gives your morning some shape and structure. You can switch up your themes as often as you like. You can have a productivity-focused morning one day, and a calming morning the next.

Here are different themes you can explore for your morning routine. 

Productive. If you’re most productive in the mornings, maybe your ideal morning routine consists of getting work done, accomplishing small tasks, and getting a head start on your goals.

Calm. If you like to ease into your day, develop a routine that feels slow and restorative. Maybe it’s a ten minute meditation routine, or doing light stretches, or writing in your gratitude journal.

Creative. If you feel most creative in the mornings, then get your creative juices flowing with a coloring book or writing in a journal or doodling in a sketchbook.

Home. If your mornings are the only time you do things around the house, then use this time to tidy a room or meal plan for the week or do a home organization project

Wellness. If your mornings are a time to focus on health and fitness, then head to the gym or do a yoga routine or make yourself a nourishing breakfast. 

How to create a morning routine checklist

With your favorite notebook or notepad by your side, here’s how you can make a morning routine checklist to get yourself organized. 

When creating a morning routine checklist, it helps to break it down into three main categories: essentials, personal, and professional. This way, you’ll achieve your ideal morning routine while also taking care of practical things like getting ready for work. 

Category 1: Essentials

Your essentials are the non-negotiables that you have to do in the morning. These are things like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, taking your dog out for a walk, etc.

Take a moment to identify your essential actions. 

Here’s a sample checklist for essentials

  • Wake up at 7 am
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face/shower
  • Feed pet
  • Make coffee
  • Eat breakfast 

Category 2: Personal 

If your personal theme this week is “calm” then make a list of calming activities that will refresh and nurture you. 

After you identify the calming activities you’d like to do, add an estimated time frame next to these items. This way, you’ll have a rough schedule to stick to and you don’t have to worry about running out of time. 

Do you have a small amount of free time in the morning? Then choose activities that are impactful but won’t take up too much time. Maybe that means doing morning stretches for 5 minutes and then writing in your journal for 15 minutes. Try not to overwhelm this list by adding too many activities. You can always swap out an activity the next morning or week. 

Here’s a sample checklist for a calm morning 

  • Express three things I am grateful for - 1 minute
  • Do light morning stretches - 5 minutes
  • Write in journal - 10 minutes
  • Recite a mantra for the day - 1 minute

Category 3: Professional 

Whether it’s looking for clean work clothes or guzzling a cup of coffee or responding to incoming messages, getting ready work is always a hectic affair. Here’s how to create a professional checklist so that you can spend less time in emergency mode, and more time enjoying your morning. 

First, make a list of things that you can do the night before that would make your morning easier. Maybe this means putting out your work clothes the night before or setting up your coffee maker or organizing your work bag.

Then, make a list of tasks/activities that will help you get ready for work in the morning. 

Here’s a sample checklist for professional tasks: 

  • Gather office tools (laptop, cellphone, notebook)
  • Make lunch to bring to the office
  • Check and update work calendar
  • Make to-do list for the day
  • Get dressed 

Your morning routine sets the foundation for the day. It’s an opportunity to have some much needed time to yourself and take care of your needs and priorities. Feel free to modify your morning routine checklist as you go so that it serves you best.

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