10 Things To Do This Morning To Have a Better Day

It is currently 6:32am. This morning at 4am, Drew and I got up and went to the gym. I literally hate this, but we did it, because there is no other time in the day to do stuff like that sometimes. (Background: he signed me up for a gym membership because he thinks I’ll make him go. I probably won’t, but stay tuned. We all know I don’t exactly love the gym.)

The point is, although it felt genuinely miserable to drag myself out of my warm, cozy bed at four and haul my half-asleep body to the gym, I know I’ll have a really good day today because of it. When I work out in the morning (which I always do, even if it isn’t as early as 4am, and even if it is in my apartment on my yoga mat instead of in the gym), I feel better about myself, my body, and just life in general. I also get on an energy kick post-workout, which means that I accomplish more before 7am on days I work out in the morning than I do all day on the days I skip a workout. Aside from just exercise (because I truly know and understand that it isn’t everyone’s ‘thing’), there are a lot of other little things that I do in the morning that aren’t exactly ~fun~ activities that just help to ensure that my day goes smoothly, and maybe even turns out a bit better than it would have if I didn’t do these things.

Here are ten things I do in the morning to make sure I have a better day – give it a shot, and you may just find yourself one step closer to feeling like a Certified Morning Person.

1. Actually don’t hit snooze.

I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it really does make things harder. I have a much harder time waking up and feeling awake all day if I hit the snooze button on my alarm in the morning. Get up after one alarm and let yourself slowly adjust to being human again, but don’t go back to sleep – it just confuses the hell out of your body.

2. Put something in the slow cooker.

You’ll thank yourself when you come home to a hot meal at the end of your long day, and thankfully, most crock-pot meals aren’t too difficult to throw together in a few minutes in the morning.

3. Do your dishes after breakfast.

True that you can do them when you get home from work, but will you want to? No. The answer is a hard no.

4. Put your coffee leftovers in the fridge.

Let it chill in there all day, then pop some coffee ice cubes in it when you hit your afternoon slump for a little pick-me-up.

5. Pack yourself a little lunch.

I know we spend a lot of time on TFD talking people out of buying pricey work lunches because it is something people are often guilty of, but to be honest, I personally get way more excited when I know I’ve packed my own little lunch that I can eat whenever I want without having to go into the outside world, seek out food, and purchase it. Put last night’s leftovers into a Tupperware container, or simply throw an apple and a sleeve of Ritz crackers in your bag. Anything that gets you jazzed up works – that way, you have a yummy meal to look forward to when you start to feel groggy and hangry midday, and you prevent yourself from spending money on expensive office lunches. Prepping food in the morning kills two birds with one (delicious) stone.

6. Think ahead to tomorrow.

Know of anything you’ll need at-the-ready tomorrow morning? Put it out now so you don’t have to worry about it when you get home. It’ll be one less thing for you to worry about preparing after you return from a long day at work.

7. Do something kind for your body.

Working out in the morning (if you can make the time) is one of the best things you can do for your day. I’ve struggled between figuring if I would be a morning-gym-person or an afternoon/evening-gym-person before realizing and accepting that I’m just not someone who feels like working out regardless of the time of day. So I stick to doing it in the morning, because at least I have the added bonus of feeling like a healthful, accomplished badass all day post-workout.

8. Shower.

Because it is, again, one less thing for you to do at night, and it helps you wake up and feel more energized even if you’re moping around and not wanting to go to work. I’ve tried being both a “night-shower-person” and a “morning-shower-person” before, and morning always wins. It is essentially the only way to truly wake me up and get me ready for the day, and I cannot stress how much worse I feel all day if I don’t get a chance to shower in the morning.

9. Pick up around the house.

I’m always tempted to shed my pajamas and toss them on the floor when I get dressed in the morning, but picking everything up and putting it in its proper place always makes me feel so much better. I hate coming home to clothes thrown on the floor – I’d rather take the extra few minutes to pick up after myself when I’m rushing around in the morning than deal with it all when I get home later in the day.

10. Take a peek at your to-do list.

Spend a few minutes going over your master to-do list, and picking the few items on it that are going to be prioritized today, and loosely sequencing them. Your day will be so much better and go much more smoothly if you start off in the morning with a solid idea and loose timeline of what you’ll be accomplishing during the day (once you’ve finished your coffee, of course).

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

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  • Summer

    A+ for morning workouts, if for no other reason than to simply get them over with. I also feel more accomplished/fit/badass/generally smug if I hit the gym first thing in the AM, but the bottom line is that it’s often my best choice for ensuring that the workout happens at all. It sucks when I intend to go later in the afternoon or early evening, but then my workday is busier than I thought so not only am I dealing with that but I also have the unfinished workout looming over my head like a dark cloud. Guess what generally ends up not happening after all… I’m pretty good about getting out the door to take evening walks, but if I’m being true to myself, I definitely have a window for gym-going that slams shut once the clock switches to PM hours.

  • I have never in my life had a pre-9 am morning workout that was worth dragging myself out bed for, LOL. And I actually enjoy working out, most of the time – but having to pry myself out of bed a moment before I absolutely have to is a recipe for misery. And a pathetic workout that’s a fraction as productive as the ones I do later in the day, when I’ve given my body the coffee, food, and TIME it needs to wake up and get energized.

  • Antoinette

    Also added benefit of the early morning gym session– usually there is less people. Nothing makes me want to work out less when the gym is super crowded during the 6PM rush and you’re just hoping to get access to some floor space or machine but can’t.

  • Chrs

    I can understand in theory that it would be objectively good to make time before work to do dishes, clean up the apartment, get ready for the following day… But I’m never going to actually get up earlier just to do these things. Maybe if I were left with extra time after getting ready, I might put away the dishes, but otherwise I can’t imagine it. Also, who are these people who can wake up every day to one alarm? Are they mutants? Have they been working the same shift since age fourteen?

  • I always try to do 1 productive thing (from unloading the dishwasher to paying bills to running) and 1 mindful thing (meditating or sitting down at breakfast and setting my intention for the day) every morning. Exercise is particularly great as I like to think I can chalk it up to being mindful or productive! But feeling like I’ve started the day in a productive and calm mindset makes such a difference to my day!

  • Winterlight

    I find packing my lunch the night before works better. In the morning it’s one more thing to do when I’m still half-asleep. Also, I’m more likely to forget things that I meant to put in.