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Productivity tips, calendar hacks, & product updates from the Reclaim team.

8 Tips for a Productive Morning Routine (+ Bonus Templates)
July 6, 2022

You know what they say – early bird gets the worm! But rising earlier is just one tip for a successful start to the day. Having an effective morning routine reduces stress, boosts productivity, improves drive and motivation, and can make you a more positive and successful person. In fact, one study showed that people who are consistent with morning habits earn roughly $12,500 more/year on average than those who don’t stick to a morning routine. 

Maybe you’re here to learn how to improve your current morning routine, or are wondering how to even get started organizing your mornings in a productive way. 

In this blog post, we’re going to share the best 8 (science-backed) tips for a perfect morning routine so you can get the most out of your day!  

Why you need an effective morning routine

First things first, what is a morning routine? A morning routine is a set of habits and motions that you do when you first wake up and prepare for your day. For 43% of Americans, drinking coffee is the most crucial part of their morning routine, followed by exercise (32%), and taking a shower (26%). 

It makes sense that the way you start your morning sets the tone for your day. But the benefits of a morning routine are also backed by scientific research.

Top morning routine benefits

  • Feel more prepared for your day with a positive mindset and better focus.
  • Increase motivation by starting the day with small accomplishments. 
  • Lower stress levels by minimizing overwhelm and rushedness. 
  • Develop healthier habits by making time for things like breakfast or exercise.
  • Increase work performance with improved focus and a more positive attitude. 
  • Instill discipline by committing to a consistent daily routine. 

The benefits of a morning routine speak for themselves! So how do you build a morning routine that works for you? Let’s dive into some productive daily habits you can introduce to start every day on the right side of the bed.

8 tips for productive morning habits

1. Start the night before

If you’re wondering how to start a morning routine, you might be surprised to learn that a productive morning really begins the night before. Ultimately, a morning routine can only be as good as the quality of rest you’re getting, and most of us know from experience – it’s a lot harder to be an early bird when you’re running on fumes!

For the best sleep hygiene:

  • Get your recommended 6-8 hours every night
  • Ditch the screens an hour before bedtime
  • Stay away from late-night carbs and alcohol
  • Lower the lights and temp in your bedroom
  • Be consistent about when you go to bed during the week. 

If you want to elevate your evening routine even further, set time aside before you wind down to plan out the following day. Setting SMART daily goals the night before actually improves your success rate, and can help reduce stress and decision paralysis by knowing exactly what you’re going to be working on tomorrow.

2. Wake up earlier

Many highly successful people are known for their early start times. Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 4:30 every morning, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey rises before the sun to get a run in, and Ellevest CEO and cofounder Sallie Krawcheck is up at 4 a.m. for quality creative thinking. Being an early riser has so many benefits including better sleep quality, improved work performance, more energy, and simply having more time for your priorities – but that’s not to say it’s an easy feat. More than 1 in 3 adults press snooze three times before getting up in the morning. 

Try setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier every week until you’ve worked up to your ideal wake up time. Another foolproof tip is to place your alarm out of bed’s reach, so you actually have to get up to turn it off. And realistically, you don’t have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to be your most productive self. Be mindful of your unique schedule and lifestyle to set aside 30-90 minutes to a morning routine that makes time for your priorities – whether that’s having a healthy breakfast, fitting in a workout, doing some journaling, or just sipping a quiet cup of coffee before the rush of the day. 

3. Make your bed

The benefit of making your bed first thing actually goes beyond having a nicely made bed to get into that night (though it’s a nice perk!). Scientifically, starting your morning with smaller accomplishments - like making your bed - boosts your motivation for the rest of the day.

Setting an intention for a goal, and then completing it, releases feel-good dopamine which fuels your drive to get even more done. So in simple terms – saying you’re going to make the bed, and then doing it, makes you feel more good about yourself. It’s an easy way to start your day feeling accomplished, organized, and put yourself in a positive headspace to take on the rest of the day. 

4. Get some sunlight

Good morning sunshine! Exposing yourself to direct sunlight within 30-45 minutes of waking up is super beneficial to maintaining your circadian rhythms and starting the day feeling refreshed and energized. Sunlight signals to your body that it’s time to wake up and boosts serotonin levels which leaves you feeling more focused, emotionally stable, happier, and calmer.

Mornings can be anxiety-inducing for many people, and there’s actually a simple biological reason for this. The stress hormone cortisol is at its highest levels in the morning hours and peaks around 7am – right around when the average person in the US wakes up. But setting your alarm a little earlier (and not hitting that snooze button!) lets you make time for mindful habits like getting some sunshine before work. Whether you leave your curtains open to wake up with the sun, head outside for a morning walk, or take your coffee onto the porch – catching some rays is a great addition to your morning routine.

5. Make time to move 

Making time for some movement in the morning is another easy way to reduce stress, feel accomplished, and invest in your long-term health. Over 80% of all US jobs are mostly sedentary, putting professionals at increased risk of physical and mental illnesses when they spend the majority of the day sitting down.

Dedicating even just 10 minutes of your morning to some physical movement reaps significant health benefits. And you don’t even have to make it to the gym. Try an at-home yoga video, take a short walk outside, dance it out to your favorite song, or do squats while you brush your teeth. Any movement is better than no movement – so here’s your pass to get as creative as you’d like!

6. Practice mindfulness 

Exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body. Practicing daily mindfulness and gratitude has been proven to improve your stress threshold, help you better process challenges, and feel happier overall throughout the workday. 

Starting your day with mindfulness doesn’t have to be an overwhelming commitment (that defeats the whole purpose!). Whether you commit to 2-minutes of guided breathwork meditation every morning with an app like Headspace, or fill out a gratitude journal like the popular 5 Minute Journal to start the day on a positive note – grounding yourself before work is always a win.

7. Fuel your body

6-8 is a long time to go without water! Before anything else – rehydrate your body right when you wake up by drinking at least one glass of water. Easy tip is to prepare a bottle of water on your bedside the night before to reach for right when you wake up. After your stomach is prepped, it’s time to break the fast. 93% of Americans agree breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but only 44% actually eat breakfast. 

Try prepping breakfast the night before like overnight oats or a healthy parfait, or stick to quick breakfast recipes like smoothies or scrambled eggs in the morning. It can also be helpful to take a look at your coffee consumption if you’re reaching for java instead of food in the AM. Excessive caffeine consumption can actually reduce productivity by increasing stress hormones like adrenaline and misleading you about your energy levels. 

8. Read something other than emails

Productive people often attribute a growth mindset to their success. Fitting some reading into your morning is an awesome way to stimulate your brain in preparation for the workday and learn something new while you have uninterrupted focus time.

Instead of reaching for your phone to check your inbox first thing (it’ll be there later – promise) aim to read a few pages on a hobby or interest, current news, or your latest book club novel to start your morning. Not a fan of reading? Try an audiobook or motivational podcast.

Daily morning routine template examples

Habit stacking is the practice of adding new habits to existing ones so they’re easier to implement. That can look like ‘stacking’ drinking a glass of water to a habit you already have in place, like brushing your teeth when you wake up, for example. Or, if you already do an AM workout, but want to add reading to your routine, you can habit-stack a chapter of your current lit right after your morning shower. 

But adding one new habit at a time is the best way to make them stick long-term. So build up your morning routine slowly, and try for consistency over perfection. A productivity app like Reclaim.ai can help you defend real time for your Habits and daily routines by auto-scheduling them in your calendar so they don’t get overrun by other commitments. 

Let’s take a look at a few easy productive morning routines examples for inspiration on how you can work in some of these tips. These templates can be adapted to fit any wake-up time, workday begin, or out-the-door cutoff for commutes.

5:30am 90-minute morning routine template: 

5:30am: Wake up and make the bed.
5:35am:
Brush teeth and drink two glasses of water.
5:40am: Coffee and one page of mindful journaling.
5:50am:
Morning run/walk outside.
6:20am:
Breakfast with one chapter of reading.
6:35am: Get ready for the day.
7:00am:
Out the door/at your WFH desk.

8:00am 60-minute morning routine template: 

8:00am: Wake up, drink a bottle of water, and make the bed.
8:05am:
15-minute sun salutation yoga flow, and 5-minute meditation on the patio.
8:25am:
Coffee and breakfast reading the newspaper.
8:35am: Get ready for the day.
9:00am:
Out the door/at your WFH desk.
Bonus: Start the workday with a deep work session to maximize productivity!

7:00am 30-minute morning routine template: 

7:00am: Wake up, drink a bottle of water, and make the bed.
7:05am:
Mini dance session and positive affirmations while getting ready for the day.
7:25am:
Grab prepped to-go breakfast.
7:30am: Out the door/at your WFH desk.
Bonus: Listen to a podcast episode on your commute!

Better mornings = better workdays 🙏

Your mornings have the power to set the tone for your entire workday. When you set aside time for habits that benefit your health and wellbeing, you also improve your performance and productivity in the long term! 

Incorporate some of these tips into your existing morning rituals through habit stacking, or build a customized routine that fits your schedule and priorities. Did we miss any habits that are a must in your productive morning routine? Tweet us @reclaimai to share your tips!

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VP of customer experience & customer operations at Khoros, Philippe Mesritz shares how he optimizes his time to get things done. Check it out!
Calendar Heroes: Megan Killion, Founder of Coven Cloud & MK Consulting
September 29, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Megan Killion, Founder of Coven Cloud & MK Consulting

Megan is a full-time working mother of four who runs three successful companies, Megan Killion Consulting, newly launched startup Coven Cloud, and a property rental business. See how she makes time!
More Calendar Control for Meetings! Reclaim Free & Busy
September 28, 2021

More Calendar Control for Meetings! Reclaim Free & Busy

Add more productivity and control to your smart calendar with advanced Reclaim free and busy event hashtags. Block time for no-meeting days, focus time, meeting times, and clock-out of task scheduling
Top 7 Time Management Tools (for Busy People)
September 23, 2021

Top 7 Time Management Tools (for Busy People)

82% of people don’t have a time management system, but there are hundreds of apps available to improve productivity for every working style. Find your best fit in the top 7 time management tools list.
Job Burnout: How to Fix at Your Workplace
September 21, 2021

Job Burnout: How to Fix at Your Workplace

Over two-thirds of employees have experienced job burnout recently, and more than 50% of all annual turnover results from burnout. See which signs to look for and how to prevent them at your company.
Top 5 Work Habits to Boost Productivity
September 14, 2021

Top 5 Work Habits to Boost Productivity

See the top 5 work habits to try to boost your productivity. If you’re seeking a promotion, trying to pivot your career, or just simply looking to step your game up in the workplace, this is for you.
Calendar Heroes: Chris Hunt, Staff Site Reliability Engineer at Stack Overflow
September 10, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Chris Hunt, Staff Site Reliability Engineer at Stack Overflow

Working on a team that is spread across 10 different time zones and our Calendar Hero, Chris Hunt lets us in on how he is able to do it. Check it out!
Durable Identity: Employee-Friendly SaaS for Life Changes
September 7, 2021

Durable Identity: Employee-Friendly SaaS for Life Changes

The average person changes jobs every 4.1 years, but you shouldn't have to re-sign up for every SaaS app that often. The future of work will be more durable - your identity will survive life changes.
Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity
August 31, 2021

Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity

"This meeting could’ve been an email.” We're all thinking it. Even 71% of senior managers feel their meetings are unproductive. Reduce meetings and boost productivity with weekly status reports.
The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care
August 26, 2021

The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care

The best time to meditate depends on your intention and your schedule. But no matter when you meditate, you can reap the benefits. The important thing is that you make time for this healthy habit.
Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools
August 24, 2021

Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools

Staying organized can feel like a constant battle for people with ADHD before you find your ideal rhythm and workflow. Here are the top ADHD organization tools to help you become more productive.
No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company
August 19, 2021

No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company

Are meetings consuming your workweek? 78% of people feel their meeting schedule is out of control - see how one no-meeting day a week can improve your productivity, team morale and prevent burnout.
Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman
August 17, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman

Working as JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman, Ben shares how he balances priorities while developing the JSON Schema strategy and it's tooling, and supports the open-source community.
Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite
August 11, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite

Shay Kingsbury at Hootsuite shares how she balances priorities while leading merger and acquisition integration and Go To Market for Sparkcentral at the social media marketing and management platform.
Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages
August 10, 2021

Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages

Slack released a much-anticipated feature in June of 2021: scheduled sends for Slack messages. This, paired with some awesome Status syncing capabilities from Reclaim, can help you become a rockstar Slack communicator and role model for your team.
Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk
August 9, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk

Michele Wiedemer at Synk shares how she balances priorities while developing the education training program for security champions and developers at the open source security platform.
Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever
August 4, 2021

Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever

Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by as much as 3 years, and you’ll sleep better and feel less stressed too. Here's how to optimize your workouts for the best time of day.
Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Reading has amazing benefits, and 35% of people want to do it more. It increases verbal intelligence, makes you a better leader, reduces stress, and fends off Alzheimer’s. Here are 5 tips to try out.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, shares her style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the top digital payment companies in the world.
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

Connor MacDonald at The Ridge shares his style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet.
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day: what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space, there are some key differences to consider.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

Need to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues and incoming schedulers? Calendar communication starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

While you may think multitasking is a skill you can master, only 2.5% of people can do it effectively. Your brain performs best when “single-tasking”, focusing on only one thing at a time.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Time blocking is the habit of mindfully scheduling daily and weekly tasks to get everything done as efficiently as possible. A time blocking planner is used to organize your new, efficient schedule.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
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