Good morning early birds!
Today I’m going to tell you about the 5 Things I Do Before 7am to set me up for a healthy and productive lifestyle.
You might like this post if you struggle to get up in the morning and start working on your to-do list. Or if you need 3 cups of coffee before anyone can even speak to you.
We can all benefit from having a routine.
Humans are creatures of habit.
We like to visit the same places over and over, we order the same dish at certain restaurants, we re-watch classic movies. We take the same route to work every day, choose to wear our favorite sweater every weekend while ignoring the 10 others we own, and we religiously check our phones before even getting out of bed.
But what if we could create some routines and habits that helped us to be more productive? What if we could craft a routine to make us smarter and healthier?
That’s what I like to aim for with these 5 things that I do before 7am:
1.) Eat breakfast and drink coffee
After fasting since dinner (usually around 5-6pm), my body is ready to get some nutrition and hydration. I’m an early riser and an early dinner eater, so for me, breakfast is essential.
A good cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer starts the meal.
Then, I’ll choose between a few simple options: yogurt, granola, banana, eggs, bagle.
I try to keep my breakfasts light and easy so that they don’t take too much time and don’t create too many dishes.
I often sit at my kitchen counter to eat and then might take my unfinished coffee with me as I continue my morning routine. Of course, my dog gets his breakfast at the same time as I do and we eat together.
2.) Walk for 20 minutes
Ok, so the first one on the list was easy: eat food. You’re all with me on that one. But #2 is going to take some effort.
Walking for 20 minutes every morning can take some dedication and serious willpower, even after it become a routine.
For example, today it’s 40 degrees with light rain. Not the most appealing weather to bundle up and hit the sidewalks.
Another common problem people will encounter is not having a safe place near their home to walk. Your place may not have sidewalks or it’s too dark without street lamps or you don’t feel comfortable walking alone.
That’s ok. If walking outside isn’t right for you, there are other ways to get active in the early morning. If you’re lucky enough to have a treadmill or a gym membership, just do your walk inside. If that also isn’t an option, try yoga for 20 minutes. Yoga and walking have both been proven to decrease stress, help gain fitness, and burn calories. Yoga is also quiet so you won’t disturb your sleeping family or roommates with a loud workout.
The health benefits of walking are so great that this one item on the list is probably the most important. When you get your body moving every day you’ll start to see changes fast! If you aren’t active right now, adding a 20 minute walk every day will do wonders for your health (physical and mental). If you are active, good job, and keep it up. Use your additional 20 minute walk to help with active recovery from tougher workouts and to remind yourself that fitness can come from many different activities.
3.) Set a schedule and to-do list for the day
This one is very important to set up the rest of your day for productivity. Look over your schedule for the day. Your family’s as well. Who needs to be where and when? Do you have any big meetings to attend? Appointments or tasks that need to be completed in a timely manner?
Ask yourself what you absolutely need to accomplish that day and what can wait. Prioritize your list so that the most important tasks are done first.
Is there anything you want to do but think you might not have time for? Like a workout class or meeting a friend for lunch? Use this time in the morning to schedule time not only for must-do tasks but also for some want-to-do tasks. This can help you see that you do, in fact, have time for more than you think.
Planning your entire schedule for the day may be new to some people and an old habit for others. For me, it’s an important part of my day. Looking over what the next 10-16 hours will look like has many benefits for me.
I can prepare my wardrobe accordingly, I save time by combining errands that are near each other, I plan for things that make me happy and excited, I have more free time at night because I have a dedicated list to accomplish during the day, and I get a sense of security knowing what’s coming next.
So get your calendar our early in the morning and schedule the rest of your day.
You might be looking at me with a strange look by now. Reading? In the morning? How do you have time for that?
As this is mainly a book blog, of course, I love to read. In fact, I’m planning to read 100 books this year.
If you apply some of the items on this list, you can also find time to read more.
Remember #1? Eat breakfast and drink coffee? Well, you can use that time to read a book or some news articles instead of browsing social media. Most novels can be read in about 5 hours. Even if you only take 10 minutes a day, you’ll be reading a book every month.
Remember #2? Walk for 20 minutes? Use that time to listen to an audiobook. 20 minutes a day times 30 days a month is 10 hours of listening time! Most audiobooks played at normal speed can easily be listened to in that time. Now you’re improving your fitness and your mind at the same time while reading a book every month.
If you are one of the 50% of Americans that read four or fewer books per year, this is your chance to up your reading game. Read before 7am every day. It’ll change your life.
5.) Tidy up
The last item on my list is very important. Tidy up your home or living area every morning before 7am.
I don’t mean clean your bathroom tile grout or wash the windows. But I do mean simple tasks like choosing one or two of the following: empty dishwasher, pick up kid’s toys, empty the trash, wipe down kitchen counters, pick up dirty clothes.
One or two small cleaning tasks in the morning can make your whole house feel clean and refreshed to start another day. When you come home from work or school, you can relax a little knowing that you’ve already made an attempt to keep your home tidy for the day. You’ve already accomplished something at home before attending to other life demands.
I find that refreshing my living space is easier to do in the morning than at night. A few night-owls reading this might choose to do this step before bed so they can sleep in a little longer every morning. I think that’s ok too.
The point of this step is to make small efforts every day. Baby steps every day add up to a home that’s a whole lot cleaner by the time you reach the end of the week. It’s easier to do small tasks more frequently than to let them build up into a mountain of dishes or piles of clutter that become overwhelming.
What do you think? Can you do these 5 things before 7am?
They are worth every bit of effort it takes to make these habits a part of your daily routine.
Set that alarm 20 minutes earlier. Go to sleep an hour earlier. Practice discipline and remind yourself why you want to change. Remind yourself that these things will make you healthier and happier.
The smallest changes make the biggest difference.
Commit to adding one new habit every month. In 5 months, you’ll be a new person. The kind of person who reads a book a month. The kind of person who is fit and healthy. The kind of person who is organized and clean.
This is me and this can be you too. I promise.