Mornings are critical to the success of a day, no matter what your personality. With our mornings we set the tone, either preparing and executing or lounging and lazing. Very often, the way we begin our day is the way we carry out our day.
But if we start with too much oomph and verve, we risk crashing and burning by lunch.
So we need to begin with a considered and balanced plan. Although everyone’s morning plan will look different, an organized start to the day usually hinges on the same 5 components.
5 Parts of Every Morning Routine
1. A Morning Start-Up Routine
The best way to make sure you get going in the morning is to put the first few things you do on autopilot. If you always do the same few things upon rolling out of bed, it will be easier to get out of bed (because the first thing you do will not have to be making decisions) and you’ll get more done because you’ve made a smart start.
Just make sure you keep it simple.
Line up a few actions that will help you get moving but that are easy to execute. Here are some ideas:
- Use the bathroom.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Put on yoga pants and tennis shoes.
- Start a laundry load.
- Start the coffee.
Once you’ve done your two or three first steps, you’ll be mentally and physically prepared to move into the more significant steps of your morning: reading your Bible, getting some exercise, or working on a project.
2. A Ready To-Do List
The morning is actually not the ideal time to make the day’s to-do list. In the morning all your hopes and dreams come rushing in and the temptation is to make an overly ambitious and optimistic list.
Instead, make that to-do list at the end of the day. Then, when morning comes, you can just get started without making any decisions.
On that list, decide and note what you should work on first. Then you get to avoid decision fatigue or over-optimistic ideals and simply make progress towards checking something off right away.
The sooner you can check something off your list on the day, the more likely you’ll check off more later. Small wins motivate us to keep working and keep trying.
So make sure your to-do list gives you a small win first thing in the morning.
3. Prepared Breakfast Plans
It turns out that people want to eat in the morning, every morning.
Be prepared. Don’t fuss. Just do it.
Have a plan and make breakfast happen, not only for the kids but also for yourself. Don’t let your blood sugar crash and start your day easily annoyed simply because you’re hungry.
Do yourself and your family a favor and eat breakfast in the morning.
4. Get dressed in the morning
Now, getting dressed for you might very well mean yoga pants, but if you have a uniform – a go-to set of clothes that allows you to feel put together without making decisions or standing stupefied in your closet.
But somehow pulling yourself together, even if it’s a ponytail and brushed teeth, is a signal to yourself that it’s business time, that you’re taking yourself seriously, and that lounging time is over.
Getting dressed is a cue to your body and your mind. It’s less about the outfit or your style and more about being prepared and prompting yourself to start the day strong.
Check out what Anne Bogel has to say about how a mom uniform makes life simpler and more productive.
5. Work from a Weekly Review
The real linchpin to a productive morning does not happen in the morning nor in the evening. It happens over the weekend.
Your weekly review is where planning and productivity magic happens. With clarity about the focus and direction of your week, you can just move on with the next thing each morning without wandering aimlessly or wondering what’s next.
For progress on a single course that moves you forward, you need a weekly review – then you’ll have an informed morning plan and a reason to follow it in the midst of morning grogginess.
Know your morning personality priorities
But – of course – your personality plays into what sort of morning routine you should build and practice.
What’s really important in the morning? For a busy mom, it’s that we enter our day with energy and focus.
We need to touch base with our priorities and start moving forward.
Leverage your personality’s strengths to start your morning strong.
The ISTJ morning checklist – responsible duty-fulfiller
Because an ISTJ personality loves structured plans and details and are naturally reliable and consistent, she will want to have her morning routine listed out down to the detail and work through that list from top to bottom each morning.
Somewhere on that list should be some way to connect with her priorities and intentions, like reading through several key inspirational quotes or Scripture passages that will ground her.
The ESTJ morning mission – realistic project-manager
Because an ESTJ personality is practical, realistic, and driven, she’ll prefer to keep her morning routine simple and straightforward, focusing on the activities – like exercise or eating a solid breakfast – that will fuel her forward momentum.
At the top of her to-do list or planner, wherever she goes to overview her plan, she should have her mission statement or some other focused intention written out where she can review it every morning.
An ISFJ morning habit – nurturing memory-maker
Because an ISFJ personality is supportive and nurturing, she’ll build a morning routine that includes serving her family’s needs more than her own and connecting with her children.
However, she should not neglect to reserve 10-15 minutes alone to read her Bible and pray before she jumps into the fray of family life.
The ESFJ morning burst – dynamic social butterfly
Because an ESFJ personality naturally takes advantage of teachable moments, relationship-building opportunities, and volunteer needs, she’s liable to wake up with heads spinning.
Taking a jog or doing a simple kettle bell routine will help ground her energy, especially if she’s able to coordinate the activity with a friend, spouse, or child.
The ESTP morning game – adventurous adapter
Because an ESTP personality thrives on situations that require risk, strategy, and competition, she will enjoy “gamification” of her morning routine: keeping stats and beating her score.
Her morning will need to begin with beauty in some way, whether that’s her own beauty routine or a particularly lovely corner in which to enjoy her coffee and journalling or brainstorming for the day.
The ISTP morning pattern – reflective diy
Because an ISTP personality is naturally flexible, she might resist setting up a routine; however, more than likely, she has one already without realizing it.
A quick walk, without earbuds, to mentally take stock of the day and notice patterns or priorities will be helpful for an ISTP’s morning routine. Walking outdoors should be preferred, because the changing and moving scenery will be more inspiring than a room with a treadmill.
An ESFP morning ritual – fully present performer
Because an ESFP personality is friendly, outgoing, and attentive, she will love preparing experiences for her people in the morning.
She should establish a morning ritual that helps her orient herself to the day, perhaps with a coffee station or a breakfast bar that she prepares. She should also consider including music in her morning ritual to help her set a tone for the day.
The ISFP morning pause – generous helper
Because an ISFP personality is quiet yet responsive, she needs to ensure she takes some time first thing to sit in quiet and peace before she starts the day with her children.
If possible, she should reserve a corner that she beautifies and start her day with devotions and prayer in her lovely spot.
An INFJ morning flow – understanding supporter
Because an INFJ personality is easily overwhelmed with details yet craves structured routine, she will want a morning routine outline she can follow.
Although she will love connecting with her family, she should prioritize having some quiet thinking time first to “get her head on straight.” A walk, a bike ride, or even being shut up in a closet with a treadmill or exercise bike will give her the excuse she needs and her body a mindless activity while her mind can connect the dots and prepare for the day.
An ENFP morning routine – spontaneous idea-generator
Because an ENFP personality loves to say yes to fun and often has a hard time with the mundane details of life at home, she might do well to have a few of those mundane details worked into her morning routine so she can “eat the frog” before moving on with the day.
The INFP morning checklist – tuned-in connector
Because an INFP personality avoids decision-making and is easily overwhelmed, she should have a morning routine checklist that she can work through. If possible, she should work in personal one-on-one “touch base” time with her husband or a close friend to stay rooted and connected and inspired.
An ENFJ morning connection – enthusiastic mentor
Because an ENFJ personality needs to connect her agenda items with her vision, she should start her day with a meaningful task that will move her vision forward. Her morning routine should also include time spent connecting with her family as a group, probably over breakfast – bringing everyone together as a team is her place to shine.
An INTJ morning respite – determined director
Because an INTJ personality finds working her plan each and every day draining and difficult, she needs to make sure the first items on her list fill her reserves up rather than use them up. Reading Scripture and then another intellectually challenging book with her coffee will help her jump into her day. She should, however, avoid allowing in too many voices before she’s had time to collect her own thoughts.
The ENTJ morning priority – decisive administrator
Because an ENTJ personality does not believe in impossible once she’s decided to do something, she should plot her day the night before and choose her single most important accomplishment. With a vision for the day, she’ll move forward with purpose and do much more after her one big thing than if she had a scattershot list.
An ENTP morning list- unconventional negotiator
Because an ENTP personality needs a firm conviction about her purpose and goal so that she can improvise, she should keep her big picture nearby in bold. She might consider keeping her checklist as a list of options that she can pick and choose from each morning rather than as a sequential to do list.
The INTP morning routine – intellectual researcher
Because an INTP personality values her own knowledge base and is better at doing what she knows must be done than figuring out what needs to be done, she should prepare her morning routine checklist ahead of time and simply work through it. Her checklist should include reading time, preferably short readings from multiple, inspiring sources. This will ground her for the approaching day.
Work with your personality
You don’t have to force yourself into the mold of “high successful” types. You need to work with what you got, where you are, with contentment.
Do that by working with rather than against your God-given personality.
NB: Although all Christians should spend time daily in the Word and in prayer, it’s more important for some personality types than others that it happen in the morning. Just as people might exercise at different points in their day, so people might find the right time to pray and read Scripture different in their situation. Just because prayer, Bible reading, or exercise isn’t on a particular type’s brief description, does not mean it can’t be part of their morning routine and doesn’t mean it should be neglected.