LIFESTYLE Rise and Shine

A Guide to Optimising Your Morning Routine

5 min

As Spring starts making early rising a little easier, we’re bringing you some tried-and-tested essentials to start your day off right… or upgrade your existing routine for peak performance.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the days of reaching groggily for the snooze button as our eyes struggle to open in mid-night darkness are very nearly over. And the further north you are, the more you have our sympathy for all those winter mornings spent fighting darkness and frost armed only with coffee. But as Spring approaches, and the daffodils begin taking a hopeful look around, mornings always get a little less painful. Which means it’s the ideal time to set that alarm a bit earlier and take advantage of the extra sunlight to start your day off right.  

Morning routines are everywhere. In most interviews you read these days, someone’s explaining why their bizarre morning rituals made them a billionaire at 30, or gave them an impeccable set of 12-pack abs. Your dad even has one (although it seems to mainly involve reading the Financial Times in his pyjamas). But a lot of these people apparently have about three hours to prepare for the day ahead – and a good thing too, because the number of tasks to do before you start on your to-do list seems to increase exponentially by the minute. 

The real secret to the perfect morning routine? It’s the one that works for you. Yes, there are a few tried and tested methods that seem to help people live happier, more efficient lives, but if it doesn’t suit your needs? Throw it out, or adapt it. With the sun encouraging us to get going earlier, it’s time to optimise your routine according to your own quirks, ambitions, and desires. Join us as we take a look at five of the most effective habits, as well as a few tweaks to upgrade your morning routine – without pleasing anyone but yourself. 

Turn ‘Wake Up Earlier’ into ‘Take a Free Hour’

Instead of driving yourself harder, shaving essential hours of sleep off your already limited dreamtime, try reframing your approach. Swap a late-night hour of scrolling half-heartedly through the day’s social media for an extra hour of fresh-faced morning activity. Or leisure. Or whatever you choose. Removing rush, stress, and confusion from your mornings can improve the quality of your entire day. What’s more, hitting snooze can actually make you groggier; every time we wake and doze off again, we begin a new sleep cycle, and interrupting these cycles repeatedly can leave us feeling anything but refreshed. 

First Thought, Best Thought

Try writing down your first thoughts of the day. Whether it’s the last traces of an interesting dream, a worry that’s been troubling you for a while, or a thought about someone you’ve been meaning to get in touch with – get it on paper. These first thoughts can be extremely useful, or even insightful, and are often lost as we dive into the day headfirst or get bogged down in mundane stuff like breakfast and emails. You can always come back to them later, but dreams in particular can sometimes offer helpful clues to goals, ideas, or motivations that are (subconsciously) important to us.

Get Moving

Ok, so this is pretty much gold-standard ‘entrepreneurial morning routine’ fare… but it comes up again and again for a reason. Nearly all successful people in any field will tell you that some form of physical exercise is key to maintaining and enhancing physical and mental energy throughout the day. But we’re all different; for some of us, a full on workout in the morning is neither practical nor helpful. But could you shift your approach? If you can’t fit in an 8 mile run or a hardcore lifting session (or you prefer to sweat later in the day), could you face a bit of gentle stretching or yoga to get the blood moving? Could you swap the objective of peak physical fitness for prime mental focus – and experiment with tai chi or qigong? Want to start the day with disco over ‘discipline’? Crank up some music for 15 minutes and dance your heart out in the kitchen.

Meditate, Meditate, Meditate. Any way you like.

It often surprises (and irritates) people how many entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers – you name it – at the top of every game swear by meditation. Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re chanting or waving incense around, but about 20 minutes of some form of sitting quietly seems to play a very important role in the mornings of most of our idols. But meditation has a myriad of meanings, and finding what works for you could be the key to incorporating it successfully into your life. From deep breathing to body-scanning, mantras, envisioning your goals, or even good old-fashioned daydreaming (yes, seriously…) taking time to yourself to focus inward is pretty much always worth it, in whatever form you choose. 

Plan. Prune. Prioritise.

Here’s a little trick to optimise your to-do list for the day: rule number one? Make a list.  Sounds simple, but the very act of considering what needs to be done in a day can seem so obvious we neglect it, thinking we can keep all those balls juggling and plates spinning in our heads. But getting the tasks in hand on paper can do just that – get them out of your over-crowded (and, let’s face it, often fallible) mind and into black and white.  Which is where the next step comes in: ‘prune’ out any dead wood. That means delegating tasks to others where needed, eliminating unnecessary activity, and being realistic about what can be achieved in one day.  By setting yourself up for success rather than failure, you create positive momentum. And finally – prioritise. Making a quick outline of first, second or third priority tasks, and how much time you might need for each can give you vital focus. A little hint from the high-flyers? Try doing the things you don’t want to do first.

So there you have it, a guide to creating your Morning Routine 2022 (2.0). Got limited minutes? Strap your trusty TAG Heuer by your side to keep you on track – our Connected Collection can even time or guide your workout and meditation sessions along with you, measure your heart rate for optimal cardio training, or remind you to create a manageable to-do list. And lest you still feel lonely at the top, or need a little more inspo, let’s end with some legends who crafted their own routines along the way to making history. Every morning, Steve Jobs would contemplate this philosophical question: “If today were my last day on earth, what would I do differently?”. Even on the busiest of his days in office, President Obama would begin with a complete cardio and weight routine, followed by breakfast with his daughters. Ariana Huffington still opts for a routine of yoga and meditation to start her day off right… while Jane Austen would wake up and immediately play the piano, breakfast with her family, and then begin to write.  Where will your morning routine take you?