The summer of 2020 has been an interesting—and unique—summer for all of us. Whether it’s just become virtual, or you have found that every single aspect of your daily routine has greatly altered, everyone has felt the effects of COVID-19.
If you were looking to start out on a new career, degree, or phase in life right before quarantine, you may feel particularly lost. You may feel like you are stuck in limbo, waiting to see when the world will return to the normal before the virus. Even if you feel you’re currently in-between phases in life, you can still push yourself forward in personal goals. While the world may be at rest, you don’t have to be. Now is the perfect time to work on improving your habits and yourself, as they will later impact your career once life starts going again.
One of the simplest ways to set you up for success is establishing a morning routine that works for you.
On a recent episode of the Making Bank podcast, guest Scout Sobel advocated for discovering a helpful morning routine. Sobel founded Scout’s Agency and Scout’s podcast, both of which focus on branding and promoting female podcasters, entrepreneurs, authors, and much more. She, and many others, feel that having a consistent—and inspiring—start to the day helps boost your energy, your mood, your productivity and much more.
Between the ages of 14 and 21, Scout felt lost and unfocused in her life. She struggled with depression, anxiety, hypomania, and much more, and found herself dropping out of college. She was soon diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type II. She sought treatment and transferred to a community college. In this tumultuous moment, Sobel began a magazine with her friend, which was distributed in Barnes and Nobles by its third edition. After gaining more experience as the director of operations for the magazine once it rebranded to an online platform, Sobel started a PR podcast agency in 2019. One month after starting her company, Sobel financially supported herself, hired staff after two, moved into an office after three, and by the end of the year, generated a six-figure revenue. This year, her company will make multiple six figures.
While many elements came together for Sobel to experience this rapid success, she attributes much of it to learning how to manage her thoughts. The first step in being more productive is establishing a morning routine.
Why You Need a Morning Routine
A morning routine helps set you up in the right mind frame for the day. If you begin the day with setbacks, although you can recover, you may find it difficult. We’ve all experienced a morning where something went wrong—you spilled coffee down shirt, or maybe you broke a dish by accident. While sometimes these things just happen, they can leave you feeling flustered and overwhelmed. It can take some time to get back into the right frame of thinking for the rest of the day. Establishing a morning routine can help set you up for success, and even get you back on track if these mistakes do happen.
Firstly, we need to assert that having a morning routine isn’t just showering, brushing your teeth and dressing. A morning routine includes activities that make you feel better. Having a morning routine isn’t just about getting yourself physically prepared, but also mentally prepared for the day. It includes steps that consciously prioritize your mental health.
Sobel says, “I would definitely set up a morning routine. If you’re looking to have some sort of success in your life, whether you’re the entrepreneur, you’re the VP, whatever it may be.”
So, what are those steps?
Which Routine is Best for You?
While each person is different, there are a few tasks you can take that science has proven to help. One, for example, is exercise. Sobel herself goes “on a 30-minute walk with [her] dog just to get [her] moving. [She] listens to an inspirational podcast while [she’s] doing that.” Exercise has not only been proven to boost one’s physicality, but also one’s mental well-being. It doesn’t need to be a two-hour trip to the gym, but rather just a walk. It can be a run or just some simple stretches. Whatever it is, discover an activity that gets you moving, and you’ll start your day with a clear mind.
Another task that you can add to your routine is something that helps to encourage some mental stimulation. While exercise gets your blood pumping, your brain also needs to get “moving.” It can be a task as simple as listening to some calm music. The action could be more involved such as tuning into a novel while you get dressed or calling a friend. Sobel listens to an inspirational podcast, as well as writes down three things for which she is grateful.
Whatever it may be, getting your brain going can help boost your mood and make you more alert by the time you start work.
Do You Have Time?
You may feel that you don’t have time for these extra steps in the morning. You may wake up sluggish and rushed. Sobel acknowledges that “sometimes it seems hard that you have to do all of those things just to get in the right mind frame.”
In the beginning of starting your morning routine, you may feel overwhelmed. You may feel like it’s a waste time. However, if you keep up the process, it will start to feel like less work. After some time, it will feel like a routine—something that you look forward to and value. After all, if spending an extra five minutes in the morning gets you going, you will end up being more productive. Those five minutes can save you from an hour of sluggish behavior.
Whether you walk or run, listen to music or a novel, or visit your favorite coffee shop, having a morning routine can “enhance your life” according to Sobel. No matter what it is, find something that works for you and stick with it.