The Ultimate Morning Routine to Maximize Your Day

Written by: Kelly McSparran
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God desires to transform us into kingdom-building leaders whose days are filled with purpose and joy. He wants to cultivate our character so that we can share his love with those around us.

But as I lie in bed hitting the snooze button one too many times—much to my husband’s annoyance—this identity is difficult for me to embrace. Whether you spring from or drag yourself out of bed, we all can relate to the frantic feeling that morning disorganization causes.

Here are a few ways to develop the discipline of a Christ-centered morning routine to help focus your mind on God’s priorities and get more done that truly matters.

Start the Night Before

The best morning routines start the night before.

God instituted the rhythm of rest in creation (Genesis 2:2–3) and reiterated its importance to his people through the practice of Sabbath (Exodus 20:8–11). The author of Hebrews reminds New Testament believers of the gift of rest (Hebrews 4:8–9).

Today’s science now confirms what God instated long ago. One of the most important ways to care for yourself (perhaps even more important than diet and exercise!) is to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health.”

To make sure you get enough sleep, turn off your screens at least thirty minutes before bed. Health studies have shown the negative effects of evening scrolling and how “the blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm).”

Wake Up Earlier

Jesus’ time and energy was spent caring for those around him. His days were jam-packed with requests for healing, opportunities to teach, demands from Pharisees, and miles of sandy roads to be walked. But he prioritized waking up early to spend time with the Father.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

(Mark 1:35 CSB)

Your spouse, kids, and frantic schedule will all benefit if you follow Jesus’ example and wake up a few minutes earlier to carve out time for your most sacred relationship. And many health experts suggest that waking earlier will improve your mood, sleep, productivity, and concentration.

Spend Time with God

Start each morning by intentionally connecting with God, setting your thoughts on his priorities, and putting your trust in his promises.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.

(Psalm 5:3 CSB, emphasis added)

rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your word.

(Psalm 119:147 CSB, emphasis added)

Depending on your season of life, this might vary from a quick prayer as you help small children get ready or a more extended Bible study with a cup of coffee. If you enjoy structure, consider a daily devotional like New Morning Mercies or Experiencing God. If you connect with God in nature, take a prayer walk through your neighborhood.

Make Your Bed

In addition to boosting productivity and adding calm to your morning, making your bed has even been shown to improve sleep. By checking one thing off your to-do list first thing in the morning, you’ll be motivated to keep up with the many other tasks that you juggle each day.

I use this humble daily task as an opportunity to practice gratitude for my family and my home, saying a simple prayer of thanksgiving as I do it.

Need more motivation? A new study even shows that those who make their bed each day are more likely to be millionaires. While this habit may not actually affect your bank account, it is a great discipline to change your attitude.

Move Your Body

According to research, being active can significantly improve your mood and can even be used to treat anxiety! If you have the time, commit to a regular morning workout routine.

I meet a friend on Mondays and Thursdays for a 6 a.m. run. Without the accountability of knowing someone is waiting for me, I doubt I’d have the discipline to get myself out the door.

If you prefer to work out later in the day, spend at least a few minutes doing light stretching or cardio in the mornings just to get the blood pumping. No neighbors will judge you for a few jumping jacks in your bathrobe as you wait for your coffee to brew. (At least, I hope mine don’t judge me!)

Get Ready

After you have prepared your heart, your home, and your body, spend a few minutes getting yourself ready—even if you work from home.

It may seem like a waste to spend extra time picking out the right clothes or fixing your hair, but science now shows that what we wear and how we present ourselves has a profound effect on our attitudes throughout the day.

Be intentional with how you put yourself together, and you’ll notice an uptick in your attitude and confidence.

Write Down Your Routine

Writing down any goal—whether you are looking to accomplish a task or create a new habit—will help it to stick. Write down your morning routine and note how much time each item takes you. Once you know just how much time you’ll need each morning, you’ll also know when to set your alarm. (And more importantly, when you need to go to bed.)

Here’s mine:

9 p.m.: read and get ready for bed
10 p.m.: lights out and go to sleep

5:45 a.m.: wake up
6:00 a.m.: work out and drink a glass of water
6:45 a.m.: coffee and devotional
7:00 a.m.: make bed and start a load of laundry
7:10 a.m.: get ready

Starting off our day right has a profound impact and helps us to live the life God intends for us each day. How might God be calling you to start or shift your morning routine?