I’m not a morning person, and obviously, I don’t have a morning ritual. The first thing I do when I wake up is turn on my laptop. But there’s so much hullabaloo about morning rituals and a lot of successful people swear by the significant difference these habits have made in their lives. And being that I am currently in the mindset for change, I thought it’s time to give morning ritual a try. Or in my case, it’s more of a checklist than a ‘ritual’.

Mornings are hard for me, especially now that I have a daughter, whose activities influence how I go about my tasks.  Usually, I get to the bigger stuff first, like work and her needs – eating, bathing, playing. But then I tend to forget the smaller but still important things. So I figured if I’d get them done first thing in the morning, neglecting them will not nag at me at the end of day.

So here are what I have on my morning checklist:

  1. Personal hygiene. I know it’s embarrassing to admit, but I often skip this basic morning to-do, like brushing my teeth and washing my face. Working at home, my computer has become my morning ritual, and it’s so easy to get sucked in the vortex that is the internet. I check emails, the blogs that I frequently visit. I read news, celebrity gossips, updates on whatever thing I’m hankering for at the moment. Then I proceed to work and before I realize it, it’s already noon and I still look and smell like I just got out of the bed.
  2. Make the bed. I’ve lost count of the number of people who emphasized that making your bed every morning will somehow contribute to how productive you will be throughout the day. I don’t know if there’s any scientific basis for that, but I think it’s more of a behavioral conditioning. Unfortunately for me, despite my mom’s effort to teach me when I was young, I just didn’t develop the habit. I thought it was too much work. And the bed will be messy before noon anyway.
  3. Take vitamins. I’ve been sleep-deprived since I gave birth to my daughter more than 2 years ago. I know she should be sleeping through the night at 6 to 9 months , but she’s a terrible, terrible sleeper and I feel like I haven’t had a proper sleep since she was born. So I’m taking vitamins to compensate for whatever deficiencies I have due to lack of sleep, and I always forget to take them. Actually, I don’t like taking them – because the tablets are so big and taste so bad – so I put it off until the end of the day. But my husband told me that vitamins are better taken in the morning so I my body gets what it needs early in the day.
  4. Give my daughter vitamins. Like in my case, I always forget to give her hers. The rule is to give her vitamins after breakfast. But you know, she’s 2 years old – one moment she’s eating breakfast and the next, she’s pulling me in the bedroom to play. Inside the bedroom, there’s my laptop, the cellphone and other stuff that will surely distract me and make me forget things.

These items don’t seem a lot but my challenge really is to do them before 9 a.m. Now, that doesn’t seem difficult either but if you consider that I wake up at 8 a.m., or sometimes even a little later, and that in between the time I wake up and 9 a.m., is also the time when we have breakfast, these checklist items are all I can squeeze in the given timeframe.

While they may seem small in relation to the changes I want to have in my life, they help in conditioning myself to finish off tasks, big or small, right away and they give a sense of accomplishment knowing I’m doing everything I need to do everyday and not forgetting anything.

Ultimately, the goal is to turn them into habits such that they will become second-nature to me every morning.

But the bigger, more long-term goal is to be able to wake up much earlier, like 6 a.m. early, so I’d get to do more before the clock hits 9 a.m., which is the time I want to start working. Or maybe, I’d start working earlier instead. Whichever way it goes, finishing everything I need to do by noon is the ideal setup that I’m aiming for because I’d be able to spend the rest of the day playing and bonding with my daughter.

So checklist or ritual, or whatever changes that brings me closer to my goals, I’m all for trying it. In fact, it’s been a few days since I started and I think it’s working. I feel much better knowing I’m getting important things done and hopefully I’d be able to add more to my checklist and become more productive.