A Morning Routine Checklist: The Secret to a Great Day

This article was originally published on TransformingStigma.com.

Years ago, someone taught me that what happens in the first 20 minutes of your day sets the tone for your entire day. Ever since I learned about this simple, yet powerful life wisdom, I found myself waking up in the morning and doing whatever I felt like. My typical pattern would consist of me picking up my cell phone or laptop and checking Facebook, Twitter, and email first thing in the morning.

As the morning progressed, I would find it difficult to get focused and I felt like I had no energy. My daily solution was caffeine. I would drink as many cups of black coffee as I needed until I felt energetic. Deep down inside, I knew that I was not being proactive about what I chose to do after waking each morning, but I was clueless about where to begin.

Luckily, I came across a podcast by Michael Hyatt, titled Become More Productive by Reengineering Your Morning Ritual. According to Michael Hyatt,

‘morning people’ tend to:
Make more money.
Be more productive.
Be healthier and live longer.
Be happier and more satisfied in their lives.

Listening to this podcast inspired me to take a hard look at how I start my day. I am a firm believer in the idea that excellence is in the details. In order to make sure I covered each detail at the start of my day, I realized that it was important to have a morning routine checklist. Using Nozbe (affiliate link), I came up with this morning routine checklist that has helped set the tone for happier and more productive days:

  1. Wake up grateful — Before I open my eyes, I think of 20 things that I am grateful for.
  2. Non-judgement statement — I say out loud, “Today I shall judge nothing that occurs.”
  3. Dharma questions — I ask myself, “How can I help?” & “How can I serve?”
  4. Review treasure maps — According to the book, Creative Visualization (affiliate link), Shakti Gawain states that “A treasure map is an actual, physical picture of your desired reality. Basically the treasure map should show you in your ideal scene, with your goal fully realized.”
  5. Drink ice water with lemon — This is so refreshing.
  6. Review treasure maps — Goals are reinforced.
  7. Silence & reflection — I take time to lay still and reflect on a problem, challenge, idea, or the upcoming day.
  8. Review spiritual law — I pick one of the laws from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (affiliate link).
  9. Write in gratitude journal — Using my Moleskine Rollerball Pen (affiliate link), I’ve e grown to love writing in my Moleskine Notebook (affiliate link).
  10. Review treasure maps — Goals are reinforced.
  11. Meditate.
  12. Make the bed — This makes the following evening more welcoming.
  13. Eat a healthy breakfast.
  14. Weight train — I usually do this 4 days a week.
  15. Drink a protein shake.
  16. Shower — I believe in bathing.
  17. Plan day — Using Evernote & Nozbe (affiliate link), I review the plans for my day and prioritize tasks.
  18. Pack meals for the day.

Leo Babauta, the author of Zen Habits, summed it up best in his article, My Morning Routine, when he said, “The reason I like having a morning routine is that not only does it instill a sense of purpose, peace and ritual to my day, but it ensures that I’m getting certain things done every morning … namely, my goals. I’m setting aside morning time as a time of peace and quiet, and time to take small steps each day towards my goals.”

Helpful Resources:

  1. How to Get Into a Morning Routine
  2. Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Morning Routine