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“Screw morning routines!” It’s kind of hilarious because while I’ve said that, deep down inside I’ve yearned to have one. I’ve believed that maybe a morning routine could unlock that next level of success or that I’m broken because I just can’t stick to a routine. Well, last year when I was formally diagnosed with ADHD, I started to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
It’s no wonder I’m not someone who has a ten-step process that I follow every day. Being a busy mom of two kids, a human who gets stressed out with simple tasks that others find easy like going through the mail and as someone who has a tendency to underestimate how long things will take, I’ve never really been able to nail down the perfect morning routines.
My executive function struggles, like many people with ADHD, make it tough for me to stick to a highly structured plan. And let’s be real, being a mom of two constantly keeps me on my toes, so having a routine that I can easily follow can be a challenge. And honestly, I can get a little bored with repetitive activities, so sticking to a strict morning routine can feel like a drag. But I’m always open to trying new things and finding ways to improve my productivity and manage my busy life and I’ve found a new way.
So maybe the question you’re asking is the same one I asked myself… Are we screwed if we don’t have a morning routine or if we’re in a season of life where morning routines just aren’t realistic? Well, for a while I thought that was the case until I started incorporating this new idea, and my goodness it has been LIFE CHANGING. This episode is all about what to do if a morning routine just isn’t your thing or isn’t plausible in this season of life.
Trade Routine for a Reset
Resetting can help increase productivity by providing a fresh start and a new perspective. Here are a few ways resetting can help improve productivity:
- Reduces Stress: Taking a break, even for just a few minutes, can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being. A refreshed and de-stressed mind can lead to increased productivity and better decision making.
- Increases Focus: Taking a break and resetting can help to clear the mind and increase focus. This can lead to improved concentration and a more productive use of time.
- Breaks Bad Habits: Resetting can help to break bad habits and create new, more productive ones. For example, taking a break from screen time and engaging in a physical activity can help to break the habit of being sedentary and increase overall energy levels.
- Improves Mood: Taking a break and resetting can help to improve mood and increase motivation. A positive outlook and a motivated mindset can lead to increased productivity and better outcomes.
It’s important to find a resetting strategy that works best for you and to make it a consistent part of your routine. Whether it’s a five-minute break, a quick walk, or a longer meditation session, taking time to reset can help to improve productivity and overall well-being which essentially are the SAME benefits one could expect to get from a morning routine but just delivered in a different and more flexible way.
My Fluid “Routine”
On weekdays, I try to take 20-30 minutes before diving into work to do a few healthy habits and set myself up for success. Some of those things include: meditating, sitting in front of my red light, laying on my PEMF mat, playing the piano, or walking on the treadmill. What works for me might not work for you but taking even just a little time to get quiet with myself or to do something outside of being productive for work is a great way for me to energetically start the day – but note, this doesn’t happen the second I wake up. I’m not waking up at 4AM to make it happen, it happens a few hours into my day, setting myself up before I pivot into my work.
What would it look like if you focused on ways you could reset before you pivot into another facet of your life, whether it’s journaling for 5 minutes, reading a book, moving your body, sipping a cup of coffee, taking the stairs at work… These little things can help you come back to yourself before running into the next thing and these habits can then be connected with this idea of resetting for you.
I started noticing when I took time in my day to pause with those habits, my energy levels were different, I felt more filled up and ready to tackle the busy day, and my motivation was impacted. BUT here’s what I want you to know, the routine wasn’t perfect, my day wasn’t ruined if I didn’t start with it, and it keeps evolving as I evolve.
Ways to Reset
Afternoon Reset: Take a break in the afternoon and engage in activities similar to those in a morning routine, such as stretching, meditation, or journaling. I’ve been using the afternoon to do a quick little reset, for me, it’s been jumping into the cold plunge for a few minutes. I historically get really tired after lunch time so that’s been the perfect boost of dopamine and energy to get set!
Evening Reflection: Reflect on your day before bed and take a few minutes to practice gratitude, plan for tomorrow, or engage in a calming activity like reading or yoga.
Lunchtime Break: Take a break during lunch to engage in physical activity, connect with others, or engage in a mindfulness practice. I try and take a break during lunch and spend time with the kids if I don’t have calls or anything pressing and just giving my brain a break is a great way to reset before getting back to work!
Weekend Ritual: Dedicate a portion of the weekend to engaging in activities similar to those in a morning routine, such as a longer meditation session, a workout, or meal planning for the week. It’s always funny but come the weekend, I slooowww down. It’s like my body needs the rest, my brain needs the rest. I’ve gotten really good at logging out and vegging out more. A lot of times I’ll take a nap while Coco watches a movie next to me – guilty!
Flexible Morning Routine: If mornings just don’t work for you, consider shifting your morning routine to a time that is more convenient and manageable, such as early afternoon or evening. The important thing is to establish a routine and stick to it, regardless of the time of day. Key word here: FLEXIBLE, I think this is what most of us need. How can we just shift this idea and the benefits of a morning routine into our lives in a way that doesn’t make us feel guilty or sabotaged if things get off track.
The Big Picture
What could a reset look like for you? I’d love for you to think about when in your day can you steal a small window of time to reset. One thing that’s been really helpful for me is to do these mini resets before I transition in my day. I realized that I often felt most overwhelmed or stressed when I would go straight from mothering into work and back and forth without grounding myself or resetting in the role I was finding myself in. How could you incorporate a small habit that will signal a reset for you?
Scrap the idea of a routine and instead invite intentional resets into your day, maybe even multiple times a day. It’s been working for me, maybe it will work for you! I hope this sparked some inspiration in your life today and I can’t wait to hear what you think!