This past month I led Saturday morning workshops for artists who want to turn their hobby into a business. There were four one-hour classes starting at 9 a.m.
Although there was a lot of interest in the workshops there weren’t many who made it out for all four. Later I learned it was because many of the artists found 9 a.m. too early.
The workshop organizer suggested an afternoon time for the next time we run the series and while I like the idea of having more people turn out I also wonder if 9 a.m. wasn’t the perfect time. The artists who showed up were serious about building their businesses and they found a way to show up even if it meant sacrificing a bit of sleep. To me, this sets them apart from the rest and shows me they have what it takes to make it.
I’ve spent a lot of time wishing for things in my life but doing little to change my situation. Perhaps I felt entitled and didn’t believe I needed to work any harder or maybe I was fearful of failing so I didn’t want to try. Whatever it was, about 18 months ago I realized no one was going to make my dreams happen except me so I had better make them a priority.
I did this by developing a morning routine, as simplistic as that sounds. And it has changed my life.
Up to this point mornings were the worst part of my day. I dreaded my alarm clock going off and woke up stressed, depressed, and defeated. I dragged myself to work every day, often racing the clock to slide in moments before start time.
Once I decided I needed to prioritize what was most important to me I realized it meant, for now, getting up earlier than I wanted to. This idea seemed impossible but in my busy life I didn’t have room for anything more. I needed to create space to focus on my goals and in order to make the most of this extra time I developed a routine.
It took some trial and error to figure out a system that worked for me and it also involved sacrificing some things in order to get enough sleep. However, I now look forward to mornings because I get to do my favourite things, I see myself moving towards my goals, and I have broken free from the rut I had been stuck in for so long.
Here are four reasons why a morning routine sets your day up for success.
- A morning routine helps you elude decision fatigueI’ve found my mornings go better when I’ve made all my decisions the night before. I decide what I’ll be working on and in what order, what Bible passages I’ll read, what I’m wearing and what I’m having for breakfast. When I’m tired I don’t make great decisions. In fact, my early-morning brain finds making the simplest choices stressful and confusing. Making my decisions the night before helps me wake up with purpose and helps me make the most of my precious extra time.
- A morning routine helps you avoid procrastinatingSnoozing after your alarm goes off is the easiest way to lose your extra time and the ultimate procrastination. Because I have a routine planned out I have a reason to get up with my alarm and I’m eager to dive in as soon as I wake up.
- A morning routine helps you keep overwhelm at bayBefore my routine I was in a constant state of overwhelm because there was so much I wanted to accomplish but could never seem to move the needle forward. By creating extra space in my day, and tackling the most important things first, I feel balanced and productive most of the time.
- A morning routine helps you develop positive habitsMark 1:35 mentions Jesus rising in early morning in order to pray in a solitary place. The early morning is an amazing time to pray and read the Bible—there is something special about these early hours, when the world is still asleep. I encourage you to discover it for yourself and carve out extra time to focus your mind and heart on what matters. See if it doesn’t change your life too.
Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day hunting for it. —Richard Whatley