Mastering Your Morning Routine (For Night Owls & Those Who Work From Home)


To be your best self from the moment you get to work it’s important that you start your day with a morning routine that makes you feel calm. Creating a satisfying morning routine is all about your perspective. Here’s some advice on how to create a morning routine that promotes wellness and positive thinking, particularly for those who stay up late or work from home.

The Night Owl

Not a morning person? Neither am I. If you naturally stay up until 2am, I think it’s important to be realistic with your capabilities once the sun rises. If you can get up to exercise before your commute, it’s a great way to kick-start your energy for the day. But if you’re more of a “roll out of bed and onto the subway” type, then this list is for you.

1. Set two alarms, no more.

Though hitting snooze may be an automatic reflex, I’ve found that setting one alarm for your actual wake-up time and one alarm fifteen minutes before, can help prevent the ten alarms, 13 snoozes, and now I’m running late pattern.

2. Caffeine before you leave.

Make a cup of coffee or tea before you run out the door. It’s a great pick-me-up while traveling to work! By the time you get to your desk, you’ll already be in a productive headspace instead of wasting your first twenty minutes at the office half asleep, sipping coffee from the staff kitchen.

morning commute

3. Eat breakfast.

Keeping with realistic expectations, if you’re not a morning person, chances of you consistently cooking a full sit-down breakfast are slim. Come up with a variety of grab-and-go breakfasts. That way, your stomach won’t be growling two hours before your lunch break. Plus, eating a good breakfast can help you keep your cool when you open a 9am email informing you of five impromptu staff meetings, two new proposal deadlines, and a mandatory office birthday lunch for Janet.

4. Pre-set your things.

Each night, I make sure to have everything packed for the following day. Aside from making lunch in the mornings, I leave nothing else to chance.  I sort out everything from my keys to my glasses to my wallet.  When you’re a night owl, why not use that to your advantage?  Go through your mental checklist the night before so that you don’t have to be responsible for remembering things while you’re groggy the next morning.

5. Give yourself a specific time to leave the house.

Whether you’re catching the train/subway, driving, or biking to work, choosing an exact time to leave everyday can help keep your commute on track. If mornings aren’t your thing, having a regular departing time can ease stress while you’re trying to get out the door.  Your departing time will eventually become routine, helping you feel in control of your day from the moment you exit your home. I personally leave an extra ten minutes of leeway incase I can’t find my phone or I walk a block from my apartment and remember I left the iron plugged in. However, I stick to my departing time 99% of the days, using that extra ten minutes only if absolutely necessary.

6. Know the variables in your commute.

What are the three train times you can take and still make it to work? What roads are a traffic disaster in the mornings?  Are there other subway lines you can ride if your regular one is out of service? Some transportation mishaps are inevitable so I’ve found it best to plan for the worst.  It sounds pessimistic but in the end it’s better to be calm and early to work than late and annoyed that no one in your town knows how to drive in the rain even though rain is very common weather pattern and you’d think people would be able to go faster than 20 miles per hour when it’s literally just a light drizzle.  But I digress…

morning commute

7. Choose your morning hobby.

Whether it’s reading a book, skimming news articles, or listening to music, figure out what gets you in the most productive headspace. Your morning commute is “you time” once a day that no one can take away from you.  Listen to an interesting podcast or read a few movie reviews on your phone – anything that will get your brain moving, keep you calm, and maybe even provide a topic or two to discuss with your coworkers when you get to the office.

8. Have a desk routine too.

Again, feeling in-control of the morning can help night owls feel better in the early hours of the day. Have a general routine when you finally get to the office so your body will naturally fall into a productive rhythm. Maybe let your computer boot up while you drop off your lunch in the kitchen, or start making a second cup of tea to drink while you read through your morning emails – something simple that you can consistently do when you arrive at work to ease you into the day.

Working From Home

If you work from homedon’t lose that morning routine + “commute!”  Whenever I am not office-based, I settle into a morning routine that gets me outside for a little bit before I start work at my apartment.  It can be a quick run, a walk around the block, or a short trip to the local bagel store.

I find that taking a moment to run an errand or grab a drink from a coffee shop is enough of a morning reset to get energy flowing for the day. I like to pre-plan the night before so that I can easily get out of bed, dressed, and into fresh air the following morning.

Though you may be working from a desk three feet from your bed, emulating a commute without the transportation portion can take you from the mental space of “Cool, I get to work from home in pajamas!” to “Awesome, I’m going to be productive at my home office today!”