Kate McKay

Image of an amazing happy healthy woman in the kitchen standing daily morning routine eat salad

The Ultimate Morning Routine Checklist for Productivity

January 31, 2023

Some of the most successful people like Warren Buffet have a morning routine that they swear by. Although Buffet’s routine consists of Coca-Cola and Mcdonald’s, it is still a routine that he sticks to daily. By the way, he has become one of the richest men in the world. 

To be productive, it is essential to have the best morning routine that will set you up for the rest of the day. You’ll want to structure the routine so you have a better start on your work day, while still making time for self-care and wellness. In this article, I will explain why morning routines are important, some productivity hacks, and provide you with a free morning routine checklist to get you started.

Busy productive mature businesswoman office employee work on laptop

Why is Having a Morning Routine Important For Productivity?

There are tons of benefits to performing the same basic tasks in the same order every day. In fact, it gears you for productivity. Here are the benefits of having a morning routine: 

  • Prepares you for the rest of the day
  • You feel more confident and in control
  • Lowers stress
  • Allows you to develop good habits
  • Boosts energy
  • Improves relationships
  • Combats forgetfulness
  • Improves flexibility

All of these benefits have a direct effect on your productivity levels. And when we are productive, we just feel good. We are fulfilling our need for purpose and accomplishment that is so essential in our lives. Let’s explore some productivity hacks to use alongside your morning routine. 

Productivity Hacks

1. Plan Your Morning the Night Before

What we do the night before a busy morning sets us up for success or failure. Try planning your most important tasks the night before. This reduces decision fatigue, eliminates surprises, reduces stress and anxiety, and allows you to prepare mentally. 

Make planning a part of your evening routine. Plan out 3 to 5 of the most important tasks for the next day. Write them on a notepad, or put them in your calendar to remind yourself the next morning. Then work on the important tasks first thing. You’ll start your day with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. 

2. Get your Zzzz’s

Science says that good quality and quantity of sleep is essential for workers to be more productiveBut just how many Zzz’s do we need to be at our best for our morning routine? Well, studies find that most people thrive while getting between 6 and 8 hours of sleep. 

But it depends. There is also a small percentage of people who need just 5 hours, while there are others who need 9 to 10 hours of sleep!So determining the right amount of sleep for you will be as easy as asking yourself: Do you feel sleepy? If you are still dragging after getting 6 hours, the magic sleep number for you could be 7 or 8. 

Keep a sleep journal or get a sleep tracker to help assess your current sleep quality and quantity. In this way, you can start to find the right habits and sleep amounts for your ultimate productivity sweet spot.  Just remember, quality can matter just as much or more than quantity. 

To get good quality sleep, focus on reducing screen time before bed, keeping your stress level down, and no more late-night fridge runs for munchies (easier said than done)! 

3. Keep a Consistent Wake-up Time

Not a morning person? Do you find yourself hitting the snooze 5 times when you try to wake up early? Not to worry, I’m not gonna tell you to drag yourself out of bed at 4 AM. It is more important that you keep a consistent wake-up time. Waking up early isn’t for all of us.

If you wake up early when you’re a night person, you may come to resent and dread those early mornings. And then you will be even less productive! So whenever you wake up–whether it be 4 AM, 6 AM, or 11 AM–keep it consistent. Eventually, the time you choose will feel natural, and you’ll be ready to rise and grind!

4. Avoid Your Phone

It can be so, so easy to get sucked into the vortex of our phones as soon as we wake up. After innocently checking your messages first thing, time can quickly slip by without noticing. Then 45 minutes have passed as you find yourself scrolling through puppy dogs and kitty cats on social media.

I’m gonna say it. Put down the phone. If you can, try leaving it in a drawer so you don’t look at it. Or turn it off the night before. Try using phone time as a reward after blasting through your morning routine checklist. This can help keep you motivated as you accomplish your morning tasks. 

5. Knock Out the Most Difficult Task First

As you take a look at your morning routine checklist, pick one thing to cross off first. Find a task that you’ve been avoiding or that is difficult. Have you been dreading sending that work email, organizing the pantry, or taking a good hard look at your bill pile?

Now’s the time! After you’ve tackled the dreaded task, you’ll feel accomplished and motivated to keep the morning momentum going. So now that we’ve touched on some tips for a productive morning, let’s go over the biggest productivity hack of all: The Ultimate Morning Routine Checklist!

The Ultimate Morning Routine Checklist

When you are creating your morning routine, it can be helpful to make a checklist. The checklist you come up with will help you stay focused and on-task. I’ve created the Ultimate Morning Routine Checklist for you to use as a template to draw inspiration from.

Take what works for you and leave what doesn’t, until you’ve come up with your very own morning routine.

  • Drink a glass of water. First thing’s first: H2O. Hydrate your body with a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Try starting with 6 to 8 ounces. Not only does water help you wake up, but it also aids your digestive system and metabolism, and gives you some energy to roll out of bed. Make sure to gulp a glass BEFORE your morning coffee. Coffee is dehydrating and reaching for your water glass before your coffee mug can help you avoid the caffeine crash. If possible, drink water before, after, and during your morning cup of joe.

  • Make your bed. Some may say “Why make the bed when I’m just going to crawl back in it tonight?” However, science has linked bed-making with focus, goal setting, productivity, and lower stress. A tidy house equals a tidy mind.

  • Meditation/affirmations. Make time for your mental health with some self-care morning rituals. Both meditation and affirmations will have a huge impact on the tone of your day and the quality of your mind. Instead of rushing between tasks, take a 5-minute breather to connect with your inner self. This will center you, and allow you to make morning decisions from a higher, more connected part of yourself.

Fit middle aged 50s family couple doing fitness yoga morning exercise at home

  • Get moving. While I encourage you to get a run or long walk in the morning, simply stretching, yoga, or even vacuuming the house are also great ways to get moving. If possible, make it part of your morning routine to get a good 10 to 15 minutes of body movement in. Pick something you enjoy so you are likely to stick to it and will be motivated to do it in the mornings.


  • Take a shower. Get your blood flowing in the morning with a quick shower. Not only are you washing away the previous night’s sweat, dirt, and oil, you are washing away stress and tension. You will feel rejuvenated and fresh to start the day. As a bonus, blast some cold water at the end of your shower. Start with 30 seconds at the end of your shower and try for more over time. Cold showers can help lower stress levels, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, relieve pain, and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

  • Get dressed. The way you dress can influence how you feel. For instance, if you are sending emails while dressed in your PJs, you’d probably rather be relaxing or cuddled up with your blankets in bed. And conversely, if you are dressed in an exercise outfit, you may be ready to bolt out the door for a run. But when you intentionally get dressed as you begin your daily routine, you are mentally preparing yourself to be productive. This is the signal to our brains that it’s time to get started on the day ahead.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Instead of the convenient donut or drive-thru breakfast sandwich, opt for a spinach omelet or berry banana oatmeal with yogurt. Eating a healthy breakfast gives you better energy, focus, and concentration: all the essentials for a productive morning. Not to mention eating right is just plain good for your body!


  • Brush teeth. No matter how busy you are, you never want to skip out on personal care and hygiene. Sometimes it can be easy to forget these things when our brain is littered with to-dos. Look your best and feel your best after brushing those pearly whites. 


  • Journal. Similar to meditation, journalling is a good way to connect with your inner self. Do a brain dump of all the things weighing on your mind that are keeping you off center. Jot them in a diary, notebook, or Google Doc. Sometimes seeing our thoughts on screen or notepad helps us to organize them in a more manageable way.

  • Make a to-do list. If you haven’t made your to-do list the night before, put together some to-dos. This will help you focus on the important tasks and not get sidetracked. 

  • Talk to a loved one. Connect with a friend or family member in the morning. This could be a simple phone call, text, or spending time together around the breakfast table. When you make room for the important people in your life, especially when you’re busy, it puts things into perspective. You realize where your priorities are, and you don’t get bogged down by the stresses of the day.

  • Read. Expand your knowledge within your industry by reading a trade journal or online articles about industry trends. Being on top of the latest news in your field will help project your career upward at a faster pace, and set you apart from the rest. Try to plan at least a few minutes of substantial reading into your routine and be pleasantly surprised at how much more confidence it will give you on the job.

  • Subscribe to a podcast. Podcasts are inspiring, motivating, insightful, and full of information that can help you be more productive and increase your well-being. Not only that, you can listen to them while you’re knocking out tasks like scrubbing those dishes in the sink or tidying the house. 

Once you’ve gotten into the groove of your morning routine, think about setting weekly goals. Each week, write down a goal you’d like to accomplish. For instance, do you want to try waking up earlier? Make a week of it by setting your alarm clock 15-30 minutes earlier every day. By the end of the week, you will already be acclimated to the change.

Would you like to try to cut back on your coffee consumption by switching to tea? Make a week of it by slowly decreasing your coffee refills, and then picking up a teacup instead. You’ll find yourself less jittery and less likely to experience coffee’s caffeine crash. 

Keep this miracle morning routine chart by your side as you breeze through your day. Checking these things off one by one will ensure you have a more productive day. Go to work feeling refreshed, energized, and ready for what comes your way.

Find the Right Morning Habits For You

Ready for a great morning? Try following the daily routine checklist I’ve provided. If something doesn’t resonate, feel free to adapt it to your needs–or get rid of it altogether. It’s all about finding the best morning habits for you. 

To your success and productivity!

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