Good Morning!

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Wake up to creative, purposeful, and snooze button-free mornings

Picture this (I know we all can): It’s a dark, chilly morning. Your alarm jolts you out of your dreams. You roll over and hit the snooze button. And, you justify it: “I’ll skip breakfast this morning to save time” or “the kids aren’t up yet.” Before you know it, you have to hurry out of bed and fly through your morning. By the time you start your day, you feel scattered and rushed—not a good recipe for a productive or creative day!

Here’s a different picture: Your alarm goes off—just once. You jump out of bed to exercise, eat a healthful breakfast, and even enjoy a quiet moment before the day begins. How would a morning like this feel? Balanced? Healthy? Get yourself mentally, physically, emotionally ready for the day by waking up early and completing a purposeful morning routine. Mornings are prime time for cultivating your creativity and setting yourself up for a productive day.


While everyone’s morning routine looks a different, my best mornings look like this:

8:30-9:00 PM: Go to bed
5:00-5:15 AM: Wake up without the snooze button
5:15-6:15 AM: Exercise
6:15-6:40 AM: Get dressed
6:40-7:00 AM: Eat a healthful breakfast
7:00-7:20 AM: Take time to reflect
7:20-7:40 AM: Read for learning and growth
7:45 AM: Begin the day

Go to bed

A creative and purposeful morning starts the night before. You can’t feel ready for a good morning if you don’t get a stellar night’s sleep. See See the Maximize your Time post under “Re-energized Rest” for more details. Don’t shortchange your sleep to wake up early—adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Wake up without the snooze button


Wake up to an alarm located across the room so that you literally have to get out of bed to turn it off. Next, put on a warm robe or sweatshirt to keep you from feeling tempted to get back under the warm covers. Then, leave your bedroom, turn on the lights, and head to the kitchen to begin rehydrating right away. The average adult loses over one pound of water overnight, and dehydration can make you feel sleepy.


Being physically active in the morning will make you a more consistent exerciser, because before others are awake, there are fewer distractions to hijack your time. And, exercising in the morning is also good for your brain. In his book Spark, Dr. John Ratey argues that exercise enhances brain function, making you more ready to think, learn, and be productive throughout the day. To maximize my exercise time, I listen to a podcast.

Eat a healthful breakfast


A healthful breakfast, like this these mini spinach frittatas, will give you the nutrient-rich energy you need to be productive. And, people who eat breakfast weigh less than folks who skip it. Don’t think you have time for healthy options? Subscribe to this blog, and you will receive a FREE link to my Breakfast-To-Go guide for 10 quick, healthful breakfast ideas!

Take time to reflect

Giving yourself breathing room to sort out your thoughts for the day is key to continual creativity. Take time for reflection by writing in “morning pages.” In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages of your stream of consciousness, right after you wake up, to spark creative thoughts. Unlike a journal, morning pages don’t have structure—they simply exist to get your thoughts on paper. After my morning pages, my mind is clear and I feel prepared for the day.


Time for learning and growth

During a rush-free morning, your mind is fresh, and you are less preoccupied with competing priorities. Learning something new sparks creative thoughts that will help you throughout the day. During my best morning, I listen to a podcast while I’m exercising, and I read a professional development book for about 20 minutes.

Start Small

Remember: we are only human. Start small with a morning routine, and gain more creativity and productivity. Wake up 15 minutes before the usual time for reflection before the day begins, or make sure you grab a healthful breakfast on your way out. Stay motivated by writing down 5 reasons you would like to practice a morning routine. Use your list for motivation!

What would be possible if you woke up with a morning routine?

Let me know by commenting below.

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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  • What would be possible if you woke up with a morning routine?

  • Lindsay Sullivan

    Great post Caitlin! Might I also add, having an alarm that is a song from your music collection that gets you pumped (and is across the room on your dresser) can certainly help me to not hit the snooze! My best mornings include a 30 minute jog, and 20 minutes of reading a book for leisure. Gets my creativity going with good, fictional writing! And definitely enough time for sauteed greens and an over easy egg with a cup of coffee. Love the new blog!

  • Thanks Lindsay! Your best mornings sound amazing. I will have to try a song as an alarm…the Rocky theme song comes to mind…

    Also, what kind of greens you use with your egg over easy?

    • Lindsay Sullivan

      Spinach and kale are great basics. Swiss or rainbow chard are great too if you like them, in the summer beet greens are fabulous. I usually cook them in bacon grease, just a little, my husband uses butter. Either works great, and it’s a 1 pan breakfast that takes about 5 minutes.

      • Yum-my! We are growing rainbow chard in our container garden. I will certainly have to give this a try. I like that you and your husband 🙂 like to make it different ways. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anne

    My best morning is a 50 minute walk up a steep hill to a beautiful view of the local mountain range. All the while I am chatting via conference call with my two sisters. When I get home I enjoy my homemade breakfast cookies( made with oatmeal, oat bran, cranberries,walnuts and flax) and a cup a green tea.

    • What a beautiful morning you describe! I love that you maximize your exercise time by catching up with your sisters. This is a great strategy for me to think about as well…it could act (secondarily) as a motivating factor/accountability system to stick with a morning routine.

      Those homemade breakfast cookies sound delicious! Thanks for sharing. Do they freeze well?

      • Anne

        Yes they do, I make a batch every 4-6 weeks and freeze them as a single serving, two to a baggie.

        • That sounds perfect! What an efficient recipe.

  • Ana S

    I think I need this tips from your post, wake up to creative, purposeful, and snooze button-free mornings because it’s been a while that my life and mornings start after hitting the alarm
    button. For several years of being dependent on this snoozing thing, I felt that I really need more time to sleep more and more time to finish my daily tasks. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts on this very important topic on staying productive.

    I was actually about to search for something similar and I also found this post relevant, “How the snooze button can make you more productive” ( I actually got few tips from this post and incorporate on my list of how to stay productive. Good luck!