239 Morning Task List vs. Morning Routine

Morning Task List vs. Morning Routine


Do you have a morning routine? If your answer is yes or no, tune in because in this episode I'm delving into the crucial role of morning routines and how they shape the trajectory of your entire day. The initial minutes of the morning can set the tone for the hours ahead and that's why I am passionate about helping women discover morning routines that lead to success. Morning routines aren't one-size-fits-all. Instead, it's about understanding the distinction between a morning task list and a genuine morning routine.

In this episode, I'm covering:

  1. Why you need to ditch your morning task list
  2. Deciding whether you need a morning routine that relaxes and energizes you
  3. How to create a morning routine that serves YOU

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Megan: 1:09
All right, friends. How many of you think you have a morning routine right now? If I would say, do you have a morning routine? If your answer is yes, I really want you to listen to actually if it's yes or no, or listen to this episode, because if the answer is yes, chances are you may actually have a morning task list and not a morning routine, and we need to change that. The answer was no, that you don't have a morning routine. We need to change that as well, because how you start your day has a direct impact on how your entire day goes. Let's go ahead and jump in and get you started on creating a morning routine that is going to serve you.

Megan: 1:50
Welcome to the Work-Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, megan Sumrall. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling, hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity, so you can have work-life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my Work-Life Harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram at Megan Sumrall, with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Welcome back to Work-Life Harmony Now.

Megan: 2:47
I am a firm believer that how our day first starts meaning kind of the mood that we find ourselves in the first five to 15 minutes of the morning oftentimes can set the tone for the rest of the day. So if we start out feeling stressed or irritable or overwhelmed, it can be really challenging to get out of that. And then when we bring a potential negative or stressful energy to our day, it has a direct impact to our productivity and just our relationship with time in general, and this is why I am passionate about helping women discover a morning routine that sets them up for success for the day. Now, before you start thinking that I'm about to give you a prescriptive morning routine, a step-by-step thing that you need to do to set yourself up for success each day. I'm here to tell you that's not what this podcast is about, and here's why it is not what it is about Because I do not believe.

Megan: 3:52
I firmly know for a fact that everybody out there cannot use the same morning routine. Number one we're different people. We have different personalities, different things relax us, different things stress us out. And, number two, we all have unique realities of our life that dictate how much time do we have in the morning for a morning routine. So, before you don't think you need to get out a pencil and paper to go, let me write down the exact steps Megan is going to give me here to have a successful morning routine. Instead, what I really want to leave you with today is a solid understanding of recognizing for yourself do you have a morning task list or do you have a morning routine? And then I'm going to give you a simple homework assignment that you can do for one week. It's going to take five minutes. All right, five minutes a day. That is it to start to set you up with a morning routine that's going to serve you.

Megan: 4:49
Now, at the time that this podcast is airing, we are getting ready to host my annual once a year I do a free master your morning event where I teach my full process to help you develop your own morning routine. So again, it's completely free. If you want to sign up for it, you can head over to megan sumrallcom forward slash master your morning. Get signed up totally free. All right, I've got a link here for you in the show notes.

Megan: 5:21
So first let's go ahead and have the conversation of understanding the difference between a morning task list versus a morning routine. A lot of women, when I talk to them about morning routines, they're like oh, I've got one, I totally have one, and I'll say great, tell me what it is. And then what they proceed to tell me is actually a morning task list and not a morning routine, all right. So a morning task list, in the way I'm defining it here, is typically when it's full of activities that could, that would ultimately live on a to do list, all right, meaning it might include emptying the dishwasher, packing lunches, making breakfast, walking dogs, that those kinds of things. Those are tangible activities that you might put on a task list. Right, a morning task list oftentimes is in service to others, not always, like maybe emptying the dishwasher is in service to yourself Cooking breakfast for others, feeding others that kind of thing that is in service to others, right?

Megan: 6:14
A traditional morning task list are things that, to an outside viewer, would look productive. We'd be like, oh, look at all those tangible things she's getting done. She's being very productive this morning, all right. And usually the items on a morning task list are things that are ultimately pulling from our energy stores for the day. All right. So when I think of things that would live on my morning task list, things that are in service to others, both my family and my pets they are things that are pulling from my energy stores for the day. They're not things that make me go wow, I love that.

Megan: 6:53
Fixing breakfast for someone on a regular day-to-day basis doesn't really light my fire and energize me for the day and put me in a great mood. Okay. So that is, unfortunately, what a lot of people think of. They're like oh no, I've got a morning routine, but what they really have is a morning task list and at the end of that morning task list, they find themselves feeling tired or already a little bit drained for the day. Now, on the flip side, let's talk about what a morning routine is in the way I'm defining it A morning routine typically.

Megan: 7:30
Now, notice, I'm always going to say typically, because there may be someone out there that, like emptying the dishwasher is their jam. It relaxes them, they enjoy it, they feel good with it. You do you, that's not me. This is what I'm going to say. Typically is we all get to set those rules, all right, but a morning routine is typically going to be activities that wouldn't live on your to-do list. They're not in service to others. They are in service to you, right, and to somebody else. From the outside looking in, they might watch what you're doing and be like you are being super unproductive. All right, from the traditional sense of productivity, but these are the things that fuel you, that re-energize you, that are relaxers that allow you to launch in the day feeling great instead of feeling maybe mildly irritated or exhausted or resentful.

Megan: 8:31
And it is my core belief that everyone, regardless of age or stage of life, really should start their day with a morning routine. Now here's the other thing that's important to know about creating a good morning routine for you A lot of the information out there. If you start, you know, searching your morning routines, you'll see these routines that can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. All right, a morning routine can be five minutes long and, honestly, if you're doing the right thing for those five minutes, it can really change the rest of your day. Okay, so now I want to spend some time kind of talking about my journey with morning routines and help you pick a five-minute morning routine.

Megan: 9:17
If you're brand new to this, that I want you to test out for at least one week, okay, so years ago I had a male coworker that came in one day just saying, oh my goodness, I've been doing this new morning routine. It's changed my life. You absolutely have to read this. You've got to do this, and it's a book called the Miracle Morning. It's been around for a very long time and I'm talking about the original edition of the book and I was in a space in my corporate life where I was all about efficiencies and productivity and planning and all of that. So anytime there was a recommendation for something that was supposed to help me be more productive and more efficient and all of that, I'm all in. So I was a good student, I read the book and I did the prescribed morning routine that was laid out in that book for 60 days straight. I was like I'm going to do it for the full 60 days because it was absolutely due. I think the recommendation might have been 30, but I was all in.

Megan: 10:13
I'm like I'm going to do this and I did the prescribed morning routine in that book for 60 days and I had a polar opposite experience than my coworker did. I was absolutely. I hated it. I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning At the end of doing that routine. I was actually in a worse mood than when I first woke up and so I gave up on it. And I gave up on this idea of morning routine because I did what so many women do is I instinctively immediately said what's wrong with me, there's something wrong with me, I'm doing it wrong, instead of maybe realizing in the moment this might've been great for him and for all these other people that recommend the book, but it wasn't great for me and maybe there was an actual reason why.

Megan: 11:04
So I paused on this whole morning routine for a while and then fast forward to a few years later, where I was now a mother of a toddler and I noticed that I was falling into a situation where I was pretty unpleasant in the mornings and I'm actually a morning person. I prefer to wake up early than to stay up late Usually wake up in a pretty good mood. I enjoy the mornings, but I found myself being oftentimes just super irritable by the time the morning what I thought was a routine at that time but it really was a morning task list was over and I sat down one day and I was thinking this is not okay. It is not okay that when I am launching into my workday I was still working in a corporate environment at the time. I am basically in a bad mood and harboring some mild resentment. It's like something has got to give.

Megan: 11:59
So I circled back to this idea of a morning routine and said, okay, and where did I go? First? I went back to the Miracle Morning. Okay, megan, what did you do wrong last time? And I reread it. I'm like I didn't do anything wrong. Those things that they're prescribing to do not help me start my.

Megan: 12:16
So I started down the rabbit hole in Google, as we do, researching morning routines from productivity experts, and at that time almost every single one was a male, a man, actually sharing what their morning routine was, and they were all very similar, whether it was meditation or yoga or stretching or journaling or very quiet activities like that, before then launching into the top three priorities of the day Again. All this information is still out there. It's the typical, very male-focused world of productivity and morning routines, and as I was reading all of these, I just kept thinking there's got to be something else. Why doesn't this work for me? And I stumbled on a study that was done. It centered around the traditional Myers-Briggs personality tests, the whole. You know, are you an I or an E and a T or a J? All the different letters you get, your four letters, it said, based on your Myers-Briggs personality assessment, there is proof that there are different activities that will set you up for success in the morning and that a morning routine activities that are going to serve you really need to be aligned to your personality test. I was like, oh my goodness, thank you.

Megan: 13:38
And the more I dug into this, knowing what my personality was on the Myers-Briggs scale, I realized that it's no wonder those other morning routines for productivity people weren't working for me, because they work the polar opposite of what my personality needed in the morning to relax my brain and to feel really good stepping into the day, and one of the key elements of my personality type is that I am someone that can get very easily overwhelmed, and so I need to find activities in the morning that curbs that, because if I don't, I will hit the ground running and find myself very quickly easily overwhelmed. Another interesting part about my personality type, which is usually shocking to people when they hear it, is I am actually an introvert. I refuel as an introvert, meaning if I spend a lot of time with people, it drains me and I start to get irritable. And for me to start my day with success, I need a little space of quiet where nobody is talking to me. I need that space in the morning, and I realized I was at a stage of life where I was waking up immediately in service to my family, and so I was, my feet were hitting the floor and immediately it's mom, megan, dogs, all of that, and I'm on and my brain is just going. Oh my gosh. So I'm getting completely overwhelmed and I haven't had a minute to pull myself together, and I use introverting as a verb. I didn't even have a minute to introvert, so by the end of the morning I was drained, I was overwhelmed. It's no wonder I was starting every day feeling very irritable. Now, on the outside, looking in, I looked super productive in the morning because I had a morning task list. I was rocking, but I did not have a morning routine that served me. So thankfully, I learned this when I did and it set me on a path to see.

Megan: 15:38
Can I create a kind of step-by-step framework here that others can use so that they can find the right activities to start their day, layered in with some principles that I teach inside my top program all things time management, organization and productivity, where we're also bringing in what are the realities of your home life, right, if you've got little kids that are waking up at 545 in the morning, it would be ridiculous to say, okay, you need to get up at 415 to have 90 minutes of quiet time. No, we have to address what are the realities of your life right now, along with what are some things that are going to serve you, along with what are some things that are going to serve you. So inside of my Master your Morning free event again, you can sign up at meganstommerlcom forward slash Master your Morning. I walk you through this step-by-step process where first we uncover what is your morning routine personality type, what are some of the recommendations for you based on kind of the next layer of your personality? And then I have this great worksheet that you can use to help you figure out.

Megan: 16:45
Let me back into what could a morning routine look like for me. That's realistic because of the reality of my home life in the morning. So here is what I want you to do for your homework assignment so you can get started right away. All right, now, if you already have a morning routine that is serving you and you're like I start my day feeling great, I always say this don't break it right, or don't try and fix something that's not broken. Now, if you're feeling like you've got a morning task list or every day feels very rushed, or you're just like I just want to have a hot minute for myself, here's what I want you to think about. I want you to just brainstorm for no more than two or three minutes.

Megan: 17:27
What are activities that actually relax you? What are activities that make you feel good, all right, that fill you up? Now, just because I say it relaxes you doesn't mean it needs to include being quiet or sitting right. You might find that going for a 10-minute brisk walk relaxes you, and I think people get confused by this. They think a morning routine has to be this quiet and sereneness. Depending upon your morning routine personality type, it might be putting on your favorite dance music and like dancing it out for five or 10 minutes. Maybe that completely relaxes you, okay.

Megan: 18:02
So do a quick brainstorm on what are some activities that relax you, that make fill you up, that re-energize you, and then for the next week, I want you to pick one of those that you could do for just five minutes and challenge yourself to just get up five minutes earlier and do that thing. All right, and you get to pick what it is. You can even test drive a couple different ones If you have a list of different things you might try. Oh, I'm going to get up and read for five minutes. Or oh, I'm going to just get up and just do a quick walk around the street for five or 10 minutes. And I want you to do this for a whole week and see how the rest of your day shifts by just doing that one small thing. And then, if you want to learn the whole process because the cool thing is, once you know the step-by-step process to create the right kind of comprehensive morning routine for you that fits with the realities of your life.

Megan: 19:00
As your life changes, you will know exactly how to revisit your morning routine and tweak it whenever you need to. So, for example, my morning routine in the summer months is different than during the school year. I even have a different morning routine when I'm on travel than when I'm at home. I have a slight change of mind on the weekend than I do during the week, and my morning routine this year in January because our daughter's at a new school that involves a different drive time and all of that my morning routine at the start of this year looks very different than the morning routine that I had last year. But the one thing that's 100% the same is it means that when it is time for me to show up for others and really get started on the tangible part of my day, I'm able to do it from a place where I'm no longer exhausted, irritable, feeling rushed or feeling overwhelmed. I get to step into my day feeling like I'm showing up as my best self, and this is why morning routines are so important for us to learn about. So I look forward to seeing you all in the free Master your Morning event Again. Just head over to meganstomwellcom. Forward slash. Master your morning and we are going to have a blast creating your morning routine. And we are going to have a blast creating your morning routine.

Megan: 20:24
Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the app store or Google play and download the pink B app. It's one word, the pink B. It is jam packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.

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