My minimalist morning routine

Just because I’m a minimalist, doesn’t mean I’m an early riser.

Are you surprised?

I used to be a strong supporter of the idea of waking early (I still am) but I have discovered over the years that I have so many reasons not to (even though I very much admire people that do). For example, my brain tends to be more productive in the evening. If I try to go to bed too early, I know I will probably waste a good few hours tossing and turning around in bed thinking about things I have to get done, when I could have actually done it.

Also, I am absolutely blessed that I live only a few minutes by walk + bus away from my university, so I really don’t need to get up early. If I push myself, I would probably make myself unnecessarily tired during the morning, which is usually a crucial time for me. I’ve found what works for me, which is not too early, but not too late either. You may think I’m trying to make excuses, but being the non-conformist that I am, I would prefer to do what I feel is right, rather than what others tell me.

my morning routine

I’ve been getting a few emails about it, but to honest there’s nothing superhuman or special about it. I have to leave by 8:45, so by trial and error I worked out a routine which I can comfortably follow to the minute. I tried to minimalize as much as possible, so after a month of practising, this is what I came up with:

7:30-: Get up, bathroom, brush teeth.

7:45-: Exercise, put away futon.

8:00-: Make up

8:15-: Hair

8:25-: Change clothes

8:35-: Breakfast

8:45-: Leave house.

That’s it. Simple – exactly the way I like it.

A few tips that I can offer are:

1. Get a pleasant alarm clock. Although my iPhone doesn’t work in Japan (long story) I still use it everyday to wake me up. I have an app called Alarm Tunes which allows me to pick any song I want as the alarm. That way, I can choose nice ‘pick-me-up’ tunes to wake up to, which gives me a pleasant start to the day. If you don’t have an iPhone/iPod, I know you can buy little clocks that you can upload mp3 tracks on to.

2. Don’t miss exercising in the morning. Even if it’s just ten jumping jacks, don’t leave it out. I find just doing five minutes of stretching makes all the different for the rest of the day. If I ever forget or didn’t have enough time for some reason, I definitely feel sluggish or tired for hours. My morning stretch is possibly more important that remembering to brush my teeth.

3. Don’t dawdle. Sometimes I put on music because I can listen to it at the same time as getting ready. But I never watch TV in the morning because it’s almost guaranteed to slow me down in some way. The more time I spend getting ready, the more time I could have spent sleeping, who needs more motivation than that?

4. Pack the night before. It’s such a simple tip, yet it works so well. I just put everything I need in my bag before I go to bed so all I have to do is slip on my shoes grab my bag and go. No running about looking for stuff and NO forgetting anything as I’m halfway up the road. There’s nothing worse that having a bad feeling you’re forgetting something and only remembering past the point of no return 🙂

5. Whatever you do, have a system. If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m a pretty laid back person. I usually like things to be spontaneous and different (my weekends are usually free for whatever life in Japan wants to throw at me) but when it comes to my mornings I’m the complete opposite. I like efficiency. I really do love my sleep and besides that I have better things to do than to waste too much time flaffing about. So even if you don’t have a specific agenda to complete, just trying to wake up at the same time and leave at the same time most days is quite an achievement, it will at least reduce the chance of you waking up stressed and rushed which really does put most people in a bad mood.

So to sum up, the most important thing about your mourning routine is that it sets you up well for the day. Try to find a good that suits you and your own preferences and circumstances, whether your an early riser or not. Every day is a brand new beginning and a chance to live differently, so take it on wholeheartedly and have a nice day!

Update: See my my post on My Morning Routine

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