Coffee cup Sara Naumann blog

Do you have a morning routine?

I can safely say that mine is my most important creative habit.

Yeah, most important. And the first time I said that out loud to someone, I really surprised myself. But then I thought about it and realized: Yes, it really is my most important habit.

I talk about this in my Kick Start Art Journaling class but the general thought is: Have a routine in the morning to set your day as proactive instead of reactive.

This starts your day off with you in charge, not you reacting to the world’s usually-frantic and loud wake-up call.

A ritual can be short or long. Here’s mine: I drink coffee and journal. The journaling is just brain-dump stuff—what I dreamed, what I want to do that day, how I’m feeling. I’ll tell you, though…I get a lot of crud out of my head this way. The whole process takes about half an hour, and it’s 30 minutes for which I’m happy to get up out of bed before everyone else in the house does.

You don’t have to journal, though: Some people read inspirational books; some meditate.

Some jog or listen to music or stretch or do yoga.

Maybe you light a candle and drink some tea and sit with yourself for a few minutes. Maybe you take a really long shower, or use a great-smelling soap or bath gel.

There’s no wrong way to approach it.

Well, actually I can give you a little Don’t amidst the Do’s.

Don’t check email, Facebook or the internet until you have determined your day.

I used to check my email first thing in the morning and it was probably the most unhealthy thing I did. The email was just a barrage of need-want-do-that…and if not, it was buy-this-click-here. There is usually not a lot of uplifting stuff in the old email in-box.

It immediately put me in a reactive mode and a grumpy one at that, one that was really hard to shift out of. So save everyone else’s needs and demands and wants for you, until you have firmly established your tone and your intentions for the day.

(That’s not to say some things will shift. That’s inevitable. But you are in charge more often than you maybe realize.)

When I journal, I list three things I’m going to do that day. These things are musts: Book a flight, meet a deadline, send an email.

I also list my intentions for the day. These are more vague, as you might imagine: It’s how I want to approach the day. With energy? With calm? Am I re-charging? Is my intention to play, or to make the most of my work day or to move my body? It is probably the most forward-thinking of my morning routine and I love to look back and see how what I write in the fresh light of the morning takes shape during the day.

Even if you don’t journal about them, you could just jot them down on a slip of paper, or state them out loud or pray for them or meditate on them. But do say them, somehow.

Do you have a morning routine? What is it? Does it prepare you for your day or does it simply get you through the motions of showering, eating, getting to work? Maybe it’s time to re-look at your routine. If it’s a healthy and sustainable one, then consider adding to it to make it even richer.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Monday!