David has had a variety of life experiences, which he loves to share with his readers.
I bet you're wondering how you can change your morning routine in just 15 minutes. That may not seem like enough time to change how you do things, but in reality, it's the exact amount of time needed to change things up in the morning. This article won't cover touchy-feely stuff like journaling or sitting alone with your thoughts. While those may work for some, most of us want a tangible change, and the morning is where that can happen.
I've had to change my routine many times in the morning. This can be caused by a new child, marriage, a different job, or even getting a pet! Either way, I've honed my skills in the process and I am able to make the most out of my mornings to make my day as successful as possible.
Your morning sets up the success of your day. So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails, and social media. I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself.
— Caroline Ghosn
Freeing up Time in the Morning
First off, you need to find 15 minutes to free up in the morning. Let me guess, you have an excuse or reason why you can't free up 15 minutes. You have to get the kids ready for school, you want to head to work early to work on a project, etc. Those excuses come back to one thing - people don't like change. You don't want to change your morning routine. Know why? It's your routine. It's how you do things and you have settled for it. However, change can be the biggest motivator for feeling better and experiencing something new. Remember, your mornings can set the tone for the rest of the day.
Now that you have pushed past all of the excuses, you have to find a way to carve out 15 minutes for yourself. That's right, for yourself. This is supposed to be about you. Yes, you have your spouse, kids, work, pets, and all of that to deal with. But these 15 minutes are supposed to be about you. That's the next thing you have to get through your head. Everything needs to be shut off so you can focus on yourself for those 15 minutes. Think of it like taking a break from your life.
So now we are past the excuses and locked in that the 15 minutes are for you and no one else. I didn't even want to get into the different ways of finding those 15 minutes before getting past the two biggest hurdles in doing it. The next section goes into detail on how you can carve up 15 minutes in your morning for some me time.
How to Free Up 15 Minutes in the Morning
There are multiple ways you can free up some time in the morning for those precious 15 minutes of me time. Try one or try them all. Testing them out will help you find the best one that works out for you and your life.
- Wake up early. I had to start off with the hardest one, huh? That's right, the easiest way to get an extra 15 minutes in the morning is by waking up early. For your sake, you need to be consistent about this as not to mess up your sleep schedule. So you may need to go to bed a bit early too. Most times people waste time at night, so it can be easy to go to bed early to wake up a bit early. If you do have to adjust your sleep schedule for whatever reason, make sure to account for the 15 minutes so you get that me time in!
- Cut down time in the bathroom. This is another difficult one. If you spend forever getting ready in the morning, like I do, then a great way to save some time is your morning grooming ritual. Are you running the shower until there is no more hot water? Do you really need to do 'that thing' in the bathroom, each morning? Those could be potential time wasters and could net you some extra time in the morning if you cut them out of your routine.
- Don't start work the moment you wake up. This is a hard one, even for me! As part of my morning routine, I grab my work cell phone and check my e-mails, look at my schedule, and so on. First off, I'm working for free and I shouldn't be doing that. But more importantly, this is time that could be for me and no one else. So put the cell phone down and worry about work once you are on the clock, and not before.
- Don't do errands before work. This is another hard one for me to do, but I tend to do errands before work. I run to the store to pick up a few things, get some gas for the car, or whatever. However, could these wait until I'm done with work to do, since I'll already be out? Maybe. Considering there is a lot of time tied up in those errands, I could easily find 15 minutes for some personal time.
- Ask for some help from your family. I put this one last because it can be the hardest one to accomplish, if not impossible. Your spouse may have their own routine that they can't or choose not to change. Your kids may need some help getting their shoes on. This is stuff that is out of your control, but, you can always try to ask for some help from your family so you can get the 15 minutes you need to change up your morning routine.
Noticed how I literally said each one of these was hard? Because they are! Change is hard, but it's doable if you make yourself do it. You just have to see it through to reap the benefits.
What to do with 15 Free Minutes in the Morning
Now you're at the point you have secured your 15 minutes each morning. Great! So what in the world are you supposed to do with those 15 minutes? Really, that's up to you. You can do the same thing each morning, or you can vary things up. That's your call, but I do have some suggestions for you.
- Sleep more. This seems counter-intuitive to what I said before about waking up early to get an extra 15 minutes. Keep in mind this is your 15 minutes. Lets say you are able to save 15 minutes in some other way. You can divert that time to get more sleep.
- Enjoy breakfast. Many people rush through, or worse yet, completely ignore breakfast. I don't. I carve out time to I can make breakfast, sit down, and browse the net while I am eating. Instead of having a quick breakfast bar, you can cook something and enjoy it at the same time.
- Exercise. Exercise is good for you, obviously. It can make you feel good in the morning when starting your day and help you get into shape, or just trim a few pounds if that's all you're looking for. Pick something that you like doing. Riding a bike, walking, or taking a swim in your pool. You want to pick something that you know you'll stick with.
- Play with your pets. This is a great way to bond with your pets, give them some exercise, and have some fun in the morning. You could take your dog for a walk, getting you some exercise as well. Or, let your cat chase a laser pointer around the house.
- Self-gratification. There is no point being shy in what else you can do with this free time, and this can be a great way to take advantage of that free time. This is for your benefit, so use it in this way if you want to. It's natural, healthy, and can be a great boost in the morning.
- Take a bath. This is another point that is counter-intuitive to the point I made above about cutting how much time you spend in the bathroom. However, a relaxing bath may be just what you need to feel great each morning. It allows you some personal time to relax completely. Just make sure you don't relax so much you end up falling asleep!
- Take up a hobby. Always wanted to take up a hobby but didn't have the time? Then this 15 minute period is the best way to do that. Try to pick something you can start and stop in a short period of time. You can also pick something you normally do as well, like gardening.
- Go for a drive. Depending on where you live, going for a leisurely drive in the morning can be relaxing. Problem is if you live in a huge city and there is constant traffic congestion. Still, a drive can be a relaxing way to spend your 15 free minutes.
- Read. This isn't just reading the news or e-mails. It's picking up a book and reading it. If you read for 15 minutes each day, you'll be surprised how quickly you'll get through that book and be eager to move on to the next one.
- And yes, journaling. I know, I know. I made fun of this in the beginning of the article. However, this can work for some people if this is your thing. I'm more likely to recommend a blog instead of a pen and paper approach. That way you can actually interact with other people. This could also come down to just writing in general. It's something I thoroughly enjoying doing in the mornings.
Does it Have to be 15 Minutes?
Well no, of course not. You can set the goal for 5 minutes or 30 minutes. This is your morning routine we are talking about. I picked 15 minutes because that's a good amount of time for most of the items I described above. It doesn't mean it has to be that. What will fit in your morning routine? That's what you need to figure out. You may need to experience and try different intervals to find the one that works best for you.
Changing Up Your Morning Routine
Maybe you don't want or need the extra time. Maybe you just want to change things up because doing the same thing each morning gets boring after awhile. During COVID-19, I found my morning routine being so repetitive I was dreading it each morning. I have a few suggestions on how you can change things up.
- Change feeding patterns of your pets. I feed my cats in the morning. It involves platting the food, waiting for them to eat, and clean up. Instead, I could bounce that to later in the day. Alternatively, if you feed your pets in the afternoon, you could do it first thing in the morning. Just try to keep it consistent for your pets sake.
- Change up grooming rituals. There were times I would shave before I would shower. It was a huge change for me, but it was a good change. Shaving always takes me a while. Doing it in the beginning gets it out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of my grooming experience.
- Change up your breakfast. This isn't just your food. Do you always sit in the dining room? Sit on the patio instead. Do you and your family just look on their phones? Encourage a discussion instead. It sounds cheesy, but it's a change in routine that everyone can appreciate.
Change Your Morning Routine for You
In the end, realize that you want this change for yourself. It sounds selfish, but it's for you. Don't do it because someone demands it or expects it of you, do it because of the benefit you want to give to yourself.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get to my journaling...
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 David Livermore