College Morning Routine: Get More Done By 7am

In Exercise, Nutrition & Sleep, Step-By-Step Guides, Time Management, Work
college morning routine

Here’s the ultimate college morning routine for students. Basically, you’ll learn how to be selfish AF and get shit done before your roommates wake up.


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College Morning Routine Guide

A consistent morning routine has been the single most important strategy that has helped me reach goals since 2014. I wouldn’t have done any of the cool stuff I have post-college had I not enlisted it as a big part of my life.

Actually, this blog would cease to exist without my morning routine. The simple act of waking up early has become my biggest advantage.

Get These 16 Tricks For Not Hitting The Snooze Button

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Heavy sleeper? Not a "morning person"? No problem. Make your morning routine "stick" with these 16 tricks to make sure you don't go back to sleep once the alarm goes off.

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The very first article I wrote for Goalcast that did well was titled, “The Advantage of Being Selfish In The Morning“.

It did well enough that I was asked to published a sequel piece on evening routines, which got 7,000 shares. Goalcast hired me because of that article.

In this guide, I’ll show why you should use a morning routine, my personal routine, and mistakes I’ve made these past 4 years that will save you time and frustration.

Hopefully, this guide offers you a little structure and tact for one of the best strategies for personal achievement out there: the morning routine. Enjoy!

The Miracle Morning

The fall of 2014 was when (the first iteration of) my blog was born. I didn’t make any money from writing online for the first 8 months, but this was when I started getting up early.

Getting up early became my secret weapon of sorts, and the discipline I’ve developed from doing it for 4 years continues to serve me today.

And I have to give credit to this book, The Miracle Morning, for helping me get started:

How To Design A Great College Morning Routine

Here’s how to put your morning routine together, step-by-step.

What’s Your Goal?

You have to have a good reason to get up early if you want it to stick. At the start, mine was to make money so I could pay bills.

Your reason will change over time, but without one, you’ll won’t be a “morning person” for long.

What do you plan to do with the time? Why does getting up early appeal to you or seem like a good idea?

Here are some ideas. You might use your college morning routine to:

  • Exercise, meal prep, or enlist other healthy habits
  • Get school work done, work on projects
  • Read
  • Learn a new skill
  • Make extra money

Any of these activities fit the bill for an effective morning routine. Pick the one that aligns with your goals.

3 Keys For Your College Morning Routine

#1. You have to be selfish with your routine.

Align your morning routine with what you hope to achieve, and nothing else. There is a very real opportunity cost to getting up early- you could be sleeping, after all. Pick activities that feed you, fire you up, or move you in the direction you’d like to go.

Don’t use your college morning routine to send emails to your professor, deal with roommate drama, or anything else that doesn’t directly benefit you.

#2. Combine healthy habits with action.

There’s something magical about starting your day off with a few “wins”, which could be as simple as doing a few simple habits before you leave for class.

You will be a much better, less stressed out college student if you start your day at a surplus.

My advice is to start the day with both habits and action.

Pick a few healthy habits, then do meaningful school work or something else. This combination will set the tone for the rest of your day, and over the course of a week, give you plenty of positive things to focus on.

Healthy Habits You Might Consider:

  • Meditation- see suggestions below.
  • Journaling- I use the Day One App, but good ol’ pen and paper never goes out of style.
  • Goal Review- a quick, informal glance at your goals to clarify where you’d like to head that day.
  • Reading- for all of you that say you never have time to read…found some!
  • Work- college classes, graduation tracking, etc.
  • Hydrating- you’ll be surprised by how much energy you have throughout the day if you intentionally hydrate when you wake up.

#3. Don’t sacrifice your health.

It will take your body a while to get used to getting up at 5am. We each get 100 credits a day to live our lives and work towards our goals. Until your body adjusts, the additional stress is bound to take away from other areas of your life. Accept it. Know it’s temporary.

The 5am wakeups will especially be tough if you’re out partying on weekends. You’re in college, so live it up while you can, but just know it will be more difficult.

Keep in mind that your morning routine is a lifestyle shift.

Research shows that human adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re getting up at 4:30-5am, you’ll want to find a way to get to bed earlier.

My 2018 Morning Routine

4 years in, here is how I map out the first 2.5 hours of my day.

Before I Start:

  1. Hydration (32oz out of a Nalgene water bottle)
  2. Brush Teeth

Habit #1. Mindfulness Meditation- 12 minutes

4:20am-4:32am

Mindfulness meditation is the most powerful habit I’ve enlisted since starting with a morning routine. If you were going to enlist one habit, this is the one I would recommend.

Even at 4am, I am amazed that by the end of a 12-minute session how energized, focused and ready to work I am.

Resources:

Habit #2. Open-Ended Journaling- 5 minutes

4:32-4:37am

I hate journaling, but using an app has helped.

I’m not big on guided journaling. I set a 5-minute timer, start writing what’s on my mind, and let my fingers and brain do the rest.

Resources:

Habit #3. Goal Review- 2 minutes

4:37-4:39am

I’m not sure if this is placebo or not, but taking a quick glance at my 2018 goals each morning just helps me focus. In my mind, it sets the sails of my morning in the right direction for the work I’m about to do.

Maybe it’s lame to think about reviewing your goals for college biology. Or maybe I’m just lame.

But if you want to be lame together, print your goals or keep them some place easily accessible like Google Drive.

Resources:

Break

Boil water, make coffee/tea.

Resources:

Work- Writing- 2 hours

~5:00-7:00am

I don’t have much to say here because your work block will be different than mine. Are you studying or writing papers for college classes? Exercising?

In January 2018, I sold or published 20 articles that totaled 28,874 words. 95% of those words were written before 7am. Heck, it’s 6:12 am right now as I write this.

For you, this time block should be whatever is meaningful to you. Go to the gym, write, read, or convince your significant other to get up with you and spend time with them.

Mistakes You Can Learn From

Get These 16 Tricks For Not Hitting The Snooze Button

Screenshot

Heavy sleeper? Not a "morning person"? No problem. Make your morning routine "stick" with these 16 tricks to make sure you don't go back to sleep once the alarm goes off.

Powered by ConvertKit

Here are a few things I wish I figured out sooner that you can apply to your college morning routine.

#1. Ask what you need to fix, not what’s wrong with you.

If you’re the type to get discouraged easily, it will frustrate you the first time you shut off the alarm clock and go back to sleep.

You’ll start questioning if you’re cut out for the early mornings, or if you’re just too lazy to make it work.

How do I know? Because this still happens to me now.

Look, it’s college. Don’t be unrealistic. If you got no sleep this weekend, maybe you only do your routine 2-3 times instead of every day. Maybe you are staying up too late to study and you don’t do it at all.

Sleeping in a few times while you adjust isn’t a big deal.

#2. Start with mini-goals.

Once you get used to the early morning, you can experiment with what you’ll do during your 2 hours.

Don’t worry about “stringing” together days or making this into a challenge (unless that motivates you).

First and foremost worry about tomorrow’s goal: to wake up early and do meaningful work. The rest will take care of itself.

Things To Avoid:

  • Social Media– Stay off social media until you are done with the work you’ve committed to. No one is awake yet anyway. I use the SelfControl app to manage this. Just be careful, because if you blacklist a website, there is nothing you can do to unlock it until the timer runs out.
  • Getting up early with less than 6 hours of sleep–  I actually believe you’re better off shutting the alarm clock off and going back to sleep if you’ve slept less than 6 hours. Save the “extreme hustle” stuff for people that are impressed by that kind of thing. See the big picture. Practice healthy habits.

I hope this college morning routine guide is useful to you and gives you a reason to get meaningful work done before 7am.

One last thing before you go. I asked college students on Reddit if they prefer morning or afternoon classes, and how it affects their grades. Perhaps their answers (found here) will give your morning routine some motivational “juice”.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Here are some other popular answers to college student questions in the college student Q&A.

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