My Early Morning Routine for Productivity + Happiness

Let me start by saying that, like most people out there, I am not a “morning person”. I have never had a morning routine, or any other routine now that I think of it. When I was in elementary school, my mom signed up my younger sister and I for a plethora of extracurricular activities, so we knew exactly what we were doing every day after school, but that’s the closest I ever got. And mornings were certainly not my specialty.

As I got to university, I noticed that the early hours of the day were my prime study hours. It was when my brain wasn’t being pulled in a million directions, and when my willpower and concentration was at it’s peak.Β  4 am mornings weren’t uncommon during exam periods, even if it meant I would go back to bed and take a nap around 7 or 8 am. But even then, it wasn’t until after I graduated and got a “real” job that I felt very frustrated about the lack of control I had over my time and was desperately searching for a way to reclaim it. As a result, I developed a tiiiny obsession with productivity and efficiency, and did what any millennial would do in my situation: YouTube’d it.

What YouTube told me was that not only do pretty much all productive YouTubers get up at 5 am every day, but so do many successful people in different industries. It was the most consistent piece of advice I got, so I decided to follow it. But here’s the thing: it is really, really hard to get up earlier than you need to when you have no idea what you’re doing with your extra hour or two. So after hours of more YouTube research, I mixed and matched pieces of other morning routines until I came up with my own.

I wanted to share it with you today because it has been quite literally life-changing (and trust me when I say I don’t exaggerate and call just anything “life-changing”). It has reduced so much of my stress, makes me feel so much more in control of my own life, and let me finally get back into the habit of reading on a regular basis. Those might not be the benefits you’re looking for, but that’s the beauty of building your own routine; you get to make it completely your own.

Now, onto the point of this post…

5:30 AM – Waking Up + Skincare

My Morning Routine | The Curious Button

Right now, I’m at a solid 5:30 am wake-up time. On the hard days when I didn’t get to bed early enough, it sometimes slips closer to 5:45, but I told myself that as long as I’m up before 6, it’s a success. Eventually I want to push it back even more, to 5 or 5:15, but it’s a work in progress. I also make sure to put my phone just out of stretched arm’s reach, so that I’m forced to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. I find that if I’m already standing, I might as well get the day started.

The first thing I do after getting up is heading to the washroom to take care of business and do my (very simple) morning skincare routine. This consists of just a quick splash of cool water on the face (another tactic that helps me stay up instead of crawling back into bed), and my Pure + Simple Skin Drink, a non-scented moisturizer that I love for not being at all greasy. I got a sample of it when I attended the Design Forward show put on by Fashion Takes Action last year, and loved it so much that I went back to buy myself a bottle to replace my old moisturizer.

5:45 AM – Lemon Water + Reading

My Early Morning Routine for Productivity + Happiness | The Curious Button

My Early Morning Routine for Productivity + Happiness

I then head downstairs for the highlight of my mornings: lemon water. I’ve always been a lemon flavour fan, so the fact that having warm lemon water first thing in the morning helps with digestion and starts your day off with some healthy hydration is a big win-win for me. I squeeze about a quart of a lemon’s juice into my mug, pour in some warm water, and settle down on the couch for some reading.

6:15 AM – A Morning Scroll

By about 6:15, I’m usually ready to put my book down and I take some time to catch up on everything that’s happened on my phone overnight. I’m still debating with myself about whether this is a healthy check in so I’m not distracted when I get to work, or if I should avoid the phone all morning completely. Either way, I see it as progress compared to when I used to scroll through Instagram first thing in the morning, so I’m going with it for now.

6:30 AM – Breakfast

My stomach is grumbling by now so I make my usual breakfast, which consists of oatmeal with hemp, chia, and ground flax seeds and a drizzle of honey. If I have chopped walnuts or sliced almonds on hand, I’ll toss some of that in as well. I’ll be honest, nutrition isn’t my forte, but as far as I know oats are a pretty good way to start your day.

6:45 AM – Getting Ready for Work

My Early Morning Routine for Productivity + Happiness

By now, J has woken up and started to get ready for work, so I head upstairs to say good morning and get dressed for the day. I brush my teeth, do my daily makeup (using clean and non-toxic beauty products, of course), and pack anything I need to bring to work, like a lunch or water bottle. Then before leaving, I take some time to tidy up so I can come home to a clean house afterwards. It’s actually amazing how little details like wiping down counters, washing your breakfast dishes, making the bed, and other quick fixes can completely change how you feel when you walk in the door after work.

7:30 AM – Leave For Work

I like to get an early start and get home earlier so I can work out before I get too hungry, so I start my workday at 8 am. At 7:30 (okay, sometimes it’s more like 7:40) I’m out the door and on my way, refreshed, knowing that everything has already gone according to plan and ready to take on the day.


This morning routine plays a pretty vital role in keeping me sane and happy on a daily basis. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below – do you have a morning routine? What does it look like? If you don’t, are you thinking of starting one soon?

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