Six steps to creating a morning routine for a better day
The morning sets the tone for the entire day. That is why it is important to start our day properly. Rushing to eat breakfast, driving to work or school, seeing the first patient…. Do you ever feel like you are always “behind”? Did you wish you had some time to breathe?
If you look at articles in Business Insider, Inc. Magazine etc. they always talk about the morning routine successful business people have. Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook) puts in the same shirt every day, Russel Simons gets the same drink every morning… The idea is that by doing the same things, you are telling your body and mind that it is now time to get going.
“A morning routine is another way to bring some zen and sense of control in our daily lives.”
What is a morning routine
What is a morning routine? You have a gym routine, a makeup routine, and maybe a Sunday routine. A morning routine is just that – a series of actions that you take over and over again. You condition your body and mind to perform a certain way regardless of the circumstance. The more you perform the routine, the easier it gets. I think of it as putting on my makeup. In the beginning, I had to struggle with the foundation and eyeliner (do you remember those days?) Now, it is second nature and I do it fast! A morning routine will become second nature too if you put the original effort.
As a dental professional (dental assistant), our day is extremely hectic. If you are a student and taking the dental assisting board exams (RDA™ exam or the DANB® CDA®, NELDA®, COA®, CPFDA®, and CRFDA® exams), this also applies to you, since we can all benefit from a better start. Getting the perfect morning routine that works for YOU costs you nothing, but it has a whole lot of benefits.
“This is about YOU.”
How to create a morning routine as a dental professional
1. Write down a list of actions you can take as soon as you wake up.
Example: stretch, check my phone, drink water, use the bathroom, drink my smoothie, drink my coffee, etc.) Be specific about the action. For example, “getting ready” is NOT a good description.
2. Pick 3-6 items from the list of actions you just created that you can do every day regardless of the circumstances.
Example: check my phone, drink water, stretch in bed, set an intention for the day (still in bed), use the bathroom, and put on my makeup.
Now the key here is to select things that you have access to, hopefully, all the time. If drinking a smoothie is in your routine, you can be thrown off when you travel. I had “going to the gym” in my previous list, but realized that it is not something I do every day. So, it is on my wishlist, not on my morning routine list.
3. Estimate the seconds and minutes it will take to perform each action item.
Example: Stretching will take me 3 minutes while drinking water will take me 5 seconds.
4. Prepare to start the morning routine the night before.
Example: Get a glass of water ready next to your bed.
If you don’t require any preparation, wonderful!
5. Practice to put the items in a sequence and perform the morning routine.
Tip: In the beginning, you may need a physical list to remind you of the steps. Don’t be shy and put it on your wall.
6. In 7 days, re-evaluate if the items you have chosen work well for you.
If you think you should add coffee to your routine, please do so! This is about YOU. You decide what puts you in a good mood.
“And at the end, you feel calm and energized.”
In general, a morning routine should be completed within 2 hours. I would even say that it is best if the actions can be done in 30 minutes. The shorter our “checklist” is, the better! And of course, who has 2 hours? We are all busy. If you are a dental assisting student or a dental assistant, you know how busy life is.
If you are a parent and don’t have the time
Our family is always a priority. We need to get our children the attention that they deserve, and sometimes, we forget to take time for ourselves. I know that moms sometimes do not even have the time to use the bathroom alone. My previous role as an educator at Boston Children’s Museum taught me the challenges of being appearance. But we have to try our best.
Instead of choosing action items that take minutes, you can find actions that are shorter. It can be “counting to 20 in a calm tone in your head,” “drinking a glass of water,” and “setting an intention.” When you have more time later in your life, you can tackle the stretches and the morning jogs.
“Anxiety easily takes over and a solid morning routine can help you be in control (in your mind)”
This is meditation
This morning routine rule is related to the concept of meditation. How? Because it ultimately functions as some “ME” time. You decide to control the precious part of the day. As you check off the items in your morning routine one by one, you will feel great! (Who doesn’t like checklists?) And at the end, you feel calm and energized. You conditioned yourself to start a kick-ass day.
I am also a yoga instructor (a career I had before entering the dental profession). The benefits of meditation are obvious, but as we all know, meditating is one of those “lofty” things to do. A morning routine is another way to bring some zen and sense of control in our daily lives.
If you are a student, this is also important
As the founder of SmarterDA dental assisting exam prep solution (online), I constantly help students get to the finish line (passing the DANB® board exams or the RDA™ exams). One of my recommendations is to find methods to create predictability in life to rock the dental assisting boards. Anxiety easily takes over and a solid morning routine can help you be in control (in your mind). I promise you; you will perform better.
You don’t need to get fancy to start a morning routine. Grab a post-it or a piece of paper. You can also use the note function on your phone, hello 21st century! The entire exercise will take you less than 5 minutes. Now, are you ready?
The goal is #SUCCESSANDNOTHINGLESS. Be the best you can be!
P.S. SmarterDA has great STEP-by-STEP preparation courses for DANB®’s exams that give you everything you need. There are FREE trials in each course, 100% FREE. If you are interested in being successful, give it a shot. See our list of prep courses for the dental assisting exams
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Author: Claire Jeong RDH, MS
Claire is the founder of StudentRDH and SmarterDA – exams prep solutions for the dental hygiene and dental assisting students. The online solutions deliver content of the highest quality through the latest e-learning technology. According to some students, studying is now “addictive!” Prior to her career in the dental field, Claire Jeong was an education specialist at Boston Children’s Museum. Claire is licensed to practice in the United States as well as Canada. She provides personalized mentorship and can be reached at ClaireJ@SmarterDA.com.
Disclaimer: DANB®, CDA®, NELDA®, COA®, CPFDA®, and CRFDA® are registered trademarks of the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (“DANB”). This article is not reviewed or endorsed by or affiliated with DANB.