One of the questions I get most often is about morning routines. Which makes sense because you can’t swing a dead cat on the internet without hitting someone promoting their morning routine. Side note: Yes, this is the WORST idiom in English, yet I cannot stop myself from using it more often that I would like to admit. 

Anyway, this question about morning routines also makes sense in ways that are less harmful to felines. In society these days the pace of our mornings is unsustainable and research shows that so goes our morning, goes our whole day. If you have an unsustainable pace of morning, this leads to an overall unsustainable you. 

I want to share my early morning routine misses with you with the intention of helping you avoid these landmines. In the following weeks, we will take a closer look at each of the mistakes I made and how I corrected them to be a sustainable part of my day. But first we need to look at what went wrong. 

Lessons Learned from My Morning Routine Attempts

1 – Our morning routine

In my head my morning routine morphed into OUR MORNING ROUTINE. For example, part of my morning routine was to make the bed. I ran into issues when it was time to do this part of my routine (see #4 about rigidity), and Bixby was still in the bed. My solution was to make a rule: Last one out makes the bed. 

This happened about three times. Over the course of a year. And man was I GRUMPY about that success rate. Did he not understand the rule? Did he not hear me? Turns out part of the problem is that he scores as a Rebel within Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework, but generally he just didn’t care about the made bed. 

He also saw the making of the bed as my thing. When I get out of a bed, it looks like a tornado hit it. When he gets out of the bed, he can grab the corner of the covers with 2 fingers and daintily fold the cover back into place. He considered the whole thing my problem.

unmade bed
I bet you can figure out which side is mine!

2 – Sweeping changes

When I first started working out my morning routine, I made all kinds of declarations and moratoriums. I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish in my Dream Morning. Then I time boxed it, clearly not having read my own post about what a mistake that was going to be. Then I completed the whole list exactly once. Ever. 

3 – Everything is a priority

One of the main reasons I only completed the whole routine once is that is was LONG – like almost two hours. Mama ain’t got time for that! I gotta go bring home the bacon! The problem is that when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. The trap I fell into is that I approached building my morning routine with Internet’s advice to “Think about your ideal day because that is what you are creating.” While I do enjoy my day job, going to an office every day for half of my waking hours in not my ideal day. I needed to consider my priorities in today’s schedule, not my post lottery winning schedule. 

4 – Rigidity

This is a bit of a corollary to number three. Even when I did have a somewhat pared down idea of what was important, if my day did not align perfectly I did not do ANY of my morning routine. We talked about this some in when we talked about babies and bath water

But even when I had time to complete parts of my morning routine, I got irritated when they could not go in the order they were “supposed to.”

Whew – this seems like morning routines are not sustainable at all! No, just the way I was trying to do it was not. In a future post we are going to talk about a sustainably productive morning routine, but I want you to think about what IS NOT working first. It seems painful and frustrating, but that is when we make changes. When pain becomes great enough, we change our behaviors.

Can you relate? What seems to be going wrong in your morning routine? Where are your morning routine pain points? Be sure to subscribe to keep getting posts sent to your email so you don’t miss out on learning to build a sustainably productive morning routine.