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How to Have an Awesome Morning Routine

August 7, 2012

Are you facing another bleary-eyed morning, scrambling to get to work, wishing you hadn’t indulged in that third glass of wine last night?  Welcome to your frantic morning routine.

The simple act of getting dressed and properly groomed is a formidable task in and of itself (do these socks really go with that belt?). Add to that the mental checklist we must attack with the rising of the sun as we scroll through the demands of the day – the meetings, people, deadlines, and lists – in order to hit the ground running when we enter the office, and the pressure quickly mounts. Am I prepared? Am I forgetting something? Am I going to royally screw up today?

Thus, within moments of rising from your peaceful slumber, the blood pressure surges as you rush out the door whilst girding your loins in anticipation of another showdown with a fully packed work calendar.

This, I have learned, is not the best way to kick off a spirit-filled day.

There are better ways to refresh your spirit in preparation for the demands ahead of you. A well-paced morning routine does wonders in setting the tone for the rest of the day.

But, J.B, how can you possibly expect me to have a well-paced morning routine?” you ask in frenzied desparation, blood vessels bulging as you wolf down a bagel while tearing out the driveway. How? How? How?!!

Well, dear reader, swallow that mouthful of bagel and lean in a little closer. I will tell you the secret of having an awesome morning routine:

WAKE UP 30 MINUTES EARLIER.

Yup, that’s it. Not necessarily the magical formula you had in mind, but it is the only way to realistically get your spiritual act together before you get your act on the road.

Setting the alarm a few minutes earlier will allow you the luxury of taking twenty minutes for a little quiet meditation to start the day off right – ironically by forgetting about the day entirely, except for you n’ God. A little relaxation and deep breathing, a morsel of scripture, some prayerful reflection, a lite reading from an inspirational book, while soothing Gregorian chants flow forth from your stereo speakers; this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you establish a solid spiritual platform for the day.

I have found those few minutes of quiet solitude in the morning to create a stillpoint, a haven of solitude and strength to set a spiritual baseline that I can carry with me throughout the entire work day.

So, before heading out to work, why not calibrate your spirit?

Oh yeah, one more thing: in order for this to work, you’ll need to get to bed a half hour earlier. Being cranky and sleep-deprived tends to offset the benefits.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2012 7:15 am

    I have long advocated an early up time. And in my home, I have always been alone. No one else gets it. But I’m productive, organized and at peace. A few minutes to linger over a cup of coffee, a few minutes in Scriptures, some prayer, and reading and it makes all the difference.

  2. Bob permalink
    August 7, 2012 7:39 am

    Great thoughts JB. I do prefer to wake up at least 2 hours earlier to provide for a good 10-15 mile run complete with many conversations with God, time to reflect on yesterday, plan for today, and the necessary preparation to “see God in others” even when it’s not apparent. Oh and the occasional breakfast date with one of my children was also a great way to start the day today.

    • August 8, 2012 5:23 am

      Bob, I thought the “wake up 30 minutes earlier” was a challenge, but you’re example of waking up two hours early and running 10-15 miles should inspire anyone else wondering about whether they can do 30 minutes! It’s great how you incorporate spiritual reflection and prayer into your running routine.

  3. August 7, 2012 8:47 am

    Few people realize the importance of and the benefit from having a solid morning routine until they start to have one. Setting the stage for the rest of my day and insuring that those valuable investments of time (like exercise and devotionals) actually get done – I can’t imagine how worse off I’d be without one.

  4. August 7, 2012 11:11 am

    Taking time to focus our attention on our spirit communing with the Holy Spirit is a really awesome suggestion for our transformation from sleep to action.

    Good thoughts. Thanks.

  5. August 8, 2012 8:33 am

    Well, I sure didn’t do that today but I have currently working on an ebook that advocates the very idea!

  6. August 8, 2012 10:48 am

    Can I say how much I like the idea of 20 minutes with God? The older I get, the more I know that 20 minutes is about my max.

    I’m a long-time early riser. It’s great, except when I have to stay up late for kids’ activities. This fall is gonna kill me with Friday night football (to watch my daughter march), then Saturday morning cross-country meets (for both kids).

    • August 9, 2012 5:07 am

      I could actually spend an hour or so, if I had no time obligations ahead of me. I love the idea of open-ended time, which is generally impossible for me. I would switch around between prayer, meditating, reading, and just sipping coffee. Time slips away so fast.

  7. August 8, 2012 3:00 pm

    Love this in concept. In practice, though, when battling nights of insomnia I long for quiet mornings and simple routine. Those quiet mornings I do get to be still and sit in God’s presence–hot cup of coffee, naturally–are indeed sweet.

    • August 9, 2012 5:09 am

      Yes, notice the disclaimer at the end about getting enough sleep. I am a huge proponent of 8 hours of sleep, and would actually advise getting enough rest over getting up early for spiritual solitutde. God can speak to us through dreams, can’t he? I am sorry about the insomnia – I know how disturbing that can be.

  8. Dan Black on Leadership permalink
    August 8, 2012 5:23 pm

    Great idea. It’s one I have tried but have not been successful at doing. I normally get up at about 4:45 and quickly get ready before rushing off to work. I have tried and maybe need to refocus and try again to get up a little earlier so I can have at least a few extra minutes.

    • August 9, 2012 5:15 am

      Dan – OMG, 4:45 am? I get up at 5:15, which doesn’t seem so bad anymore, but anything with a “4” at the start sounds brutal. Is that because of a long commute, or just an early start time to your job? I would never recommend anyone to arise at some god-forsaken hour to ensure they have a spiritual time – that’s just harsh. Despite what Martin Luther said (he was a stickler for getting in that two-hour God-time in the morning no matter how busy you were…)

      Surely, you can squeeze a few minutes in between the rest of the day (before bed? On breaks? During the commute?) Or else maybe you can indulge in an extra-long meditative morning routine on the weekends!

      • Dan Black on Leadership permalink
        August 10, 2012 12:13 am

        Both the commute and an early start. I make it a point during my 45 min. commute to pray, worship, and listen to the Bible on CD.

  9. August 8, 2012 9:22 pm

    J.B. — hey, that’s a great description of how my mornings usually go, except you left out the part about yelling repeatedly at the kids to get off their butts, get dressed and get to the front door. Sage advice as always. On those days when I follow your recommendation, things tend to start out well and keep going that way.

    • August 9, 2012 5:19 am

      Well, the truth is I had an entire paragraph in this post giving parents of young children a free pass because I know first-hand it is nearly impossible to manage a “quiet time” with small kids in the house on top of all the other morning obligations. But I chopped it out before publishing. Shows how different things are for me now since mine are nearly grown and out of the house!

  10. August 11, 2012 10:33 am

    I generally have my quiet time early in the morning after my husband leaves for work. We, too, get up in the 4 o’clock hour around here so there is plenty of time for solitude and reading and praying while the kiddo sleeps.

    It’s weird how I get all bent out of sorts on weekends when my husband might get up early too (which is rare) — have I made an idol out of my alone time with God? yikes

    Thanks for this piece.

    Blessings.

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