Coffee, Beyoncé, and Morning Routines

I am not a person who wears white. I am the person who spills coffee on herself multiple times a day because, at 27, hand-eye coordination is still not in my skill set. You can venture a guess that I am not the most orderly person. While it’s not a “problem”, it’s been said my life could stand to use a bit more order, and I hear I’m not the only one…but where to start?

“Morning Routines.” The articles on this phenom abound, however, can we really call it a phenom? It’s probably more on par with the “discovery” of kale, coconut water and that ilk, and has been around for ages, we’re just late to the party. But more and more, I’ve seen headlines continue to crop up (sprouting like kale!) bearing headlines like:

  • The Morning Routines of the Most Successful People
  • How to Create a Success Based Morning Routine
  • Morning Routines – How Leaders Start Their Day

As impressionable as I am, this all sounded great. So leisurely and at the same time, crushingly efficient. Obsessed with the notion that my life would increase tenfold if I just perhaps bumped up the time my alarm went off (read: perceived easy way out), so I started researching. Most of the routines I looked at seemed relatively similar – wake up and start the day with meditation or yoga – sometimes both! Podcasts and some variation of newsradio are also involved, yet the people in these articles also make it a point to include that they try to keep tech distractions and notifications at a minimum, such as not responding to emails or messages until they are in the office (noble goal, if you can get away with it) Next step? Breakfast time! A foreign concept to myself, these super humans seem to cobble together a healthy power breakfast on the daily – fruit/yogurt/granola mixtures were the go-tos, followed closely by the equally trendy smoothie/green juice crowd. To round things off, it usually ends with “and then I get the kids to school,” or “I finish by making my bed,” and never with “And then I was 10 minutes late.” WHO HAS THIS MUCH TIME? And where can I buy some?!

The only routine to my morning involves consuming coffee as quickly as humanly possible; from where it comes is negotiable. Past that, it’s all a sad mish-mash of pressing the “snooze button” on my iPhone (which sleeps with me, breaking rule number 1 of “good morning routines,” referred to henceforth as GMRs) either one or thrice, determined by whether or not I’m going to shower that day. Keep in mind, the time and date of my last shower do NOT play into this equation. Feeding my cat is typically a step, and feeding myself is generally not. In the event I do manage a breakfast, it’s certainly not a homemade smoothie…frozen waffles, on the other hand, do not take much time, especially if you don’t care about whether or not the center is still frozen.

Could it be done? Could the routine-less adopt a routine, in the morning no less? More importantly, do the routine-less WANT to adopt a routine? I decided small changes could be made. Small ones, though. Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day, neither are morning routines.

Monday through Wednesday, I would observe the following GMR: Wake up an additional 30 minutes early, drink water upon waking, (cold or hot water with lemon, both with health benefits) do some light stretches, shower/wash my face (whatever time may allow for) and follow it up with an actual healthy breakfast. I decided the frozen waffles had their place still…but would get a little more fancy and in line with GMR goals by adding a smear of peanut butter and a sprinkle of chia seeds. Whatever time left would be devoted to my frantic scramble of feeding the cat. If I was left with 5 extra minutes, I might even make the bed. I would also sub Spotify for NPR during my morning commute – brush up on my knowledge while I’m trapped in traffic hell.

My plan commenced Monday morning at 6 am. And by 6 am I maybe mean 6:10 am. I drank my water (cold, because I lost my heating time to sleep), and resisted the urge to click open Instagram and start my daily scrolling (aka stalking) and instead yanked my yoga mat out for some light stretching. I finally cleaned up and started getting my outfit and hair ready, while popping a waffle in the toaster. I ate my breakfast in the bathroom while finishing up getting ready, but the waffle was toasted thoroughly AND had been topped with the aforementioned peanut butter and chia seeds (stolen from my roommate, because YOLO). I didn’t make my bed, and I was still rushing out the door at this point, but I felt a little more relaxed and mostly just proud. I didn’t listen to NPR because Spotify released Frank Ocean’s new album to the rest of general public that doesn’t pay for every music streaming platform available.

Tuesday morning was similar, except I did truly wake up at 6 am on the nose so I was able to heat my water; I did my stretches, then drank my water, showered, followed the same routine for breakfast AND this time I was left with 5 extra minutes. I did not make my bed, but I did turn on NPR. (but quickly back to Frank’s album, which is so good; an alternate title for this blog was “The Best Album of the 21st Century and Morning Routines are Nice.”)

Wednesday morning was an exact replica of Tuesday, except instead of waffles, I had avocado toast. After all, avocados have a 35 minute window in which they can be eaten or they’ll go bad. I will say I felt fancier than normal, so I squeezed the remainder of my lemon (from the lemon water) onto my toast and topped with red pepper flakes. I did not, however, have the 5 extra minutes from Tuesday since I sat down at the table to eat my toast, feeling particularly civilized.

So, what did I learn? Are morning routines imperative to success? Are we short changing our chances of success ourselves by not adopting one? Will I continue in my own routine to Thursday and beyond? Starting off the day by rushing around frantically does nobody any good – I think they’re a great idea, and while I don’t think they directly correlate to success, I tend to believe my days were intrinsically better by having a grounded, purposeful morning. I think there’s something to be said to consciously make a decision to disconnect from technology, especially because when we are choosing to connect, it’s so much less of a choice at this point and so much more a learned instinct. But I know not every morning will be that way – I’ll oversleep, I’ll have something else I need to do, etc. But it felt good to stick to something, commit and feel good about something you did by yourself, for yourself.

Now, it’s your turn. Do you have a morning routine? Do you have advice for someone hoping to start one? Share below!

Laura Formisano

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