4 Ways I Start My Morning To Ensure A Productive Day

If you’ve been following along with my (sporadic) blog posts, you’ll know that my main resolution this year is to really take care of my physical and mental health. One thing I’ve realised in striving toward this resolution is that I operate best when I have a routine, so I’ve established a few small morning habits that help me have a more productive, fulfilling day. Most of these things are things I used to think I didn’t have time for; but as they say, it’s not about time—it’s about priorities. Of course everyone is different and our bodies don’t all work the same way, but these routines have helped me personally feel my best so that I can enjoy my day better.

Early morning workout

I like to get my daily workout in as early as possible. On a normal weekday I wake up a little before 7am so I can get to the gym while it’s still pretty empty. Working out in the morning gives me more time in my day for other tasks, gives me more energy throughout the day, and doesn’t leave it hanging over my head until the evening. Plus, my brain and body love getting that little endorphin rush at the beginning of the day! My go-to is a full-body weight training circuit—weightlifting makes me feel super strong and empowered, especially when I push myself to lift heavier weights or do more reps. But if I’m not feeling up to that, I like to throw on a podcast and hop on a treadmill instead.

Breakfast

I never used to eat breakfast. In high school I was either sleeping or swimming in the morning and I never made time to eat anything before school. That habit stuck with me for years after I graduated—until I started exercising every morning. Recent research has shown that breakfast actually isn’t as essential as we used to think it was (so don’t stress too much if you can’t squeeze in a morning meal) but I get starving after working out and I like having the little morning energy boost that breakfast gives me. My favourite breakfast is a long black and a protein shake—I like to load up on the protein in the morning and save my carbs for my bigger meals later in the day.

Devotion

I’m a religious person, so I like to start my morning praying and reading the bible. I subscribe to different devotions and reading plans through She Reads Truth so that I can get more out of what I’m reading. It brings me a huge sense of peace and purpose every morning by connecting with my faith. If you’re not religious, try meditating or even a little bit of yoga. They’re all great ways to clear your mind and get into a positive headspace before you begin your day.

Getting dressed

This one might be kind of dumb, but I’ve discovered recently that the way I dress myself everyday has a way bigger impact on my mood and motivation than I previously realised. Lounging around in my activewear for ages after getting home from the gym de-motivates me and can even put me in a grouchy mood. If I shower and get dressed (into something nice—not just sweats and a t-shirt!) as soon as I come home from the gym and then eat my breakfast while I do my hair and makeup, I feel infinitely more motivated to get things done in my day. You can read more about the psychology behind this here—it’s a super interesting read!

I love my little morning routine, and practising it nearly every day for two months has formed it into a habit. These little habits make my day more fulfilling, productive, and enjoyable. Have you got a morning routine or little habits you couldn’t live without? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite Apps I Use Daily (That Aren’t Social Media)

To anyone who refuses to update their iPhone on principle: first of all, power to you. Personally I’m a sucker for the promise of new emojis, but kudos for resisting the temptation to check out Apple’s newest, probably arbitrary features.

However, if you are participating in la résistance contre Apple, that means you probably haven’t seen the new Screen Time feature that Apple rolled out. The feature shows you how much time you’re spending on your phone each day, and what that time is being allocated to. It’s super confronting to see how much time you (I) spend on your (my) phone, and especially how much of that time you (again, I) have been spending scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Looking at my daily screen time now, it’s 3:40pm and I’ve spent 3h 38min on my phone of the 5-ish hours that I’ve been awake. Granted, an hour or so of that was just spent on Apple music while I worked out this morning. But 2 whole hours of it has been on social networking sites (mainly Instagram)! I’m almost embarrassed to even put those numbers in this post (please don’t judge me).

So a couple of weeks ago, after dissecting and neurotically obsessing over how much time I was wasting on my phone and all the productive things I could’ve been doing in those hours instead, I made a pact. I vowed that I would make an effort to make the time that I spend on my phone more productive. Instead of opening the same social media app for the 3rd time in 15 minutes, I downloaded some apps on my phone that will (hopefully) benefit me more than just seeing memes and fitspo posts and Barbie doll-esque influencers float across my screen. So here’s a list of my favourites that I use regularly, if not daily.

Remente

I randomly stumbled across this one on the app store, decided to give it a go, and haven’t looked back since. I guess it’s kind of life coach-y, but it’s more so just an app to help you stay on track with/accomplish your goals. It also has features that allow you to evaluate and talk about how you feel about different areas of your life (the categories are Love & Relationships, Health & Fitness, Career & Education, Personal Development, Family, Friends & Social Life, Fun & Recreation, and Finances). You can set goals within these categories, or just general life goals. The app sends you articles and resources based on how you rank each category, as well as various courses like meditation courses and workout courses. It’s really helped me to stay motivated, especially with regards to exercising and staying active, and I love that I can jot stuff down that I’m thinking or feeling without feeling like I’m having to officially ~journal~ everything.

My Fitness Pal

Part of my 2019 resolution to take better care of my body means making sure I’m staying active and eating right. While I’m not trying to become a calorie nazi, I do still want to make sure I’m consuming a good balance of macronutrients everyday and not putting things in my body that aren’t going to help me feel good. My Fitness Pal has made it so easy to track what I’m eating everyday and gives me a really clear view of how many carbs, fats, and proteins I’m getting in everyday. It also shows me how much Vitamin A and C, iron, fibre, calcium, and other goodies I’ve consumed each day. It’s helped me get a much better sense for the portion sizes I should have at every meal and I love that it connects to other health and fitness apps I have like Nike Run and the Apple Health app, as well as showing me healthy recipes and exercise and wellness tips.

Flo

This app also goes hand-in-hand with my resolution to make sure I’m on top of taking care of my body. I’ve tried tons of different period-tracking apps, and have given up on most of them because they’re inaccurate and/or hard to use. Flo is super accurate and allows me to enter tons of various symptoms as well as other things that can affect ~that time of month~ like exercise, medications, diet, and sleep; then the app recommends articles based on the info I’ve entered. It helps me take care of my body better and recognise signs and symptoms.

She Reads Truth

Here’s something I never thought I’d say a year ago: I’m a huge morning person. I love getting up early and working out, making breakfast, and having some time to myself. Something I’ve started doing before I get my day started is reading a devotion every morning. I’ve found that the ones on She Reads Truth are the best and they have tons of different daily plans to choose from. If you’re religious and looking for a devotional, definitely try this one out!

Headspace

Headspace is an awesome way to clear your head at the beginning or the end of your day. They have tons of guided meditations based on what you want to focus on or accomplish and you can choose different areas of your life to focus on, such as work and productivity, falling asleep or waking up, personal growth, life challenges, physical health, education, etc. I never used to really ~believe in~ meditation, but this app has been really beneficial for me getting into a great mindset before my day starts each morning.