17 Productive things to do in the morning

Croissants and New York Times ready for a productive morning

Do you feel like your mornings are always chaotic and they often just make you feel overwhelmed and unproductive? Don’t you worry, because there are many productive things to do in the morning, that will ensure you will have a great day and get everything done. It’s the small daily habits that change your life, little by little. If you do something for 10 minutes every morning, that’s over an hour per week! I’m sure you want to change your life for the better and become a more productive person, so just keep reading!

1. Do a quick workout

Some people like to wake up early to hit the gym, and it’s great if that’s you. But if you’re someone who doesn’t even want to think about doing any exercise in the morning, hear me out. First of all, you don’t have to spend much time on your little workout. Even a couple of minutes of jumping jacks and sit-ups will contribute to your weekly exercise. Secondly, exercise gives you energy and it will make you more efficient.

2. Prepare healthy snacks for the day

You should definitely eat a healthy breakfast to start your day right, but you should also make sure that you will maintain constant energy all day long. Prepare something like nuts or fruit to take with you to work or university, so that you won’t find yourself in an afternoon slump, reaching for coffee and chocolate bars.

3. Think about your goals

Now this is an important one, because what you should always keep in mind, are your ultimate goals. Why did you get up this morning? Why are you doing this? Remind yourself of the big picture and of the future you’re trying to build. Keeping in mind why you’re doing this all and why this day matters is what keeps you going and helps you do your best.

4. Write a to-do list

This might just be the most important thing to do in the morning. You already know what you’re supposed to do and the sooner you get everything done, the better. But simply telling yourself to “do everything” isn’t much of a plan. Writing a to-do list helps you understand how much you can get done in one day. It also helps you to concentrate only on a few things and not think about those things that you won’t have time to do today. Additionally, it gives you the feeling that you are on top of things.

Sign that says "Things to do today"

5. Break down all the tasks into actionable steps

You have your to-do list and you’re ready to go? Great. But first you have to make sure that your list makes your tasks easy to take care of, instead of freaking you out as you see that the next thing on your list is “clean house” or “essay”. What you want to do, is break down all your tasks into smaller, actionable steps. This will make even the toughest tasks look much more doable. If you’re cleaning your house, write down things like “clean fridge” or “change sheets”. If you’re a student who has an essay due tonight, no worries. Just start by writing down “come up with the topic”, “research topic”, “draft introduction” and so on. Your to-do list will be easy to tackle when the tasks are simple and don’t take much time on their own.

6. Do one small thing that you’ve been putting off

We all have those small things we should get done, but for some reason, it takes weeks or even months to finally get to them. And then you often notice that it actually wasn’t that bad after all. Build a habit of taking care of those small things already in the morning and you will feel you’re on top of things. Whether it’s an appointment to make, a postcard to write, or a lightbulb to change, just do it without thinking too much about it.

7. Listen to podcasts as you get ready

Maybe you are like me and you have 20 podcasts waiting for you to listen to them. And every once in a while that number seems to grow. Mornings are excellent for listening to podcasts, as they tend to be very motivational and energetic, and it’s easy to listen to them while you’re busy getting ready or preparing breakfast. Listening to podcasts in the morning is an amazing way to keep learning or get some motivation as you start your day.

8. Review words

Are you learning a language? If not, I highly recommend you start, because learning a new language has many benefits. You don’t have to sit down every day to study your textbooks for hours. Taking 10 minutes here and there to review some words will do marvels. I recommend you download an app like Anki or Duolingo to be able to study whenever you have a few minutes or for example when you’re on the commute.

9. Read one chapter of a book

Are you one of those people (like me!) who have huge a pile of books to read, but for some reason never quite get around to reading them? It’s easy to tell yourself that you will read the books “when you have more time”, but the time simply never comes. Instead, you have to make the time. You can choose to read one chapter every morning or 5 pages if that’s what keeps you going. Either way, you will slowly but surely read your books, learn more, and have a great start to your day!

Clean desk with a laptop and notebook

10. Clear your workspace

If you want to be productive and get done as much as possible, you have to make sure there is nothing that is on your way. Keep your desk as tidy as possible, and don’t place any unnecessary items on your desk. You should only have what you really need with you as you work. Any extra books, papers, old notes, or coffee mugs can hamper your concentration.

11. Shut out distractions

One of the biggest mistakes people do is to let distractions rule their life. If you want to get things done and be efficient, you have to shut out all the distractions. That means putting your phone away, turning off the tv or even music if that slows you down, and hiding everything that might steal your attention while you’re trying to work. You might also want to use apps and browser extensions to ensure you won’t lapse. For example RescueTime can help you, if you have a habit of “quickly checking” if something has happened on Facebook.

12. Listen to a motivational speech on Youtube

If you have a lot of things to tackle or if you feel like crawling back to bed, you might need some extra motivation. One powerful way to make sure you have a productive day ahead of you, is to head to Youtube and listen to one or two motivational speeches. Youtube is full of them and you’re bound to find something that truly motivates you. Try this motivational videoΒ for example.

13. Clean one small place

Do you dread cleaning days? I think most of us do. To make life a bit easier for you and to ensure that you will have a more productive morning, I suggest you start cleaning one small area every morning. It only takes two minutes to tidy up a bookshelf or clean the bathroom mirror, but it is one more thing done that day. You will be proud of yourself as you’re brushing your teeth in the evening, looking at yourself in the squeaky clean mirror.

French newspaper Le Monde on a table

14. Read the news in a different language

If you’re studying a foreign language, one of the best ways to implement the language in your daily life is to read the news in that language. It might be difficult at first, but it will get easier over time. And reading only a couple of articles in your target language every day will definitely make a difference already in a few weeks. What makes understanding news in a different language easier, is that you already have an idea of what is going on in the world and what has been in the headlines the past few days.

15. Make a schedule

To-do lists are great, but if you don’t also schedule your day, you might end up putting off the things on your list until it’s too late. One way to combat this is to create a daily schedule. If you have something planned at 9 am, you’d better just get to it. If all you have is a list of things to do, you might be inclined to think that you still have plenty of time, so you can just as well scroll Instagram a bit more. When scheduling your day, make sure to leave some time for breaks too.

16. Go for a walk

Going for a walk is a great way to start your day. It lets you take some time for yourself and often puts things in perspective. If you have some troubles or a problem to fix, going for a walk can clear your mind and make it easier to come up with a solution. A little exercise doesn’t hurt either!

17. Journal

Another way to start your day right and set you in the right mood, is to journal. If you have too much going on, putting it all on paper before you tackle the day’s challenges is one of the best ways to ensure that you will have a productive day. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it. You don’t have to write much and you certainly don’t have to worry about what to write or how well you write. Just let the words come and afterward you will be ready for the day.


What are your go-to productive things to do in the morning? Do you have a certain schedule or do you do different things every morning? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to pin this post!

17 Super productive things to do in the morning


  • Ana
    March 20, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    These are such great tips! Thanks for sharing

    • Nina
      March 20, 2021 at 8:07 pm

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Ally
    March 20, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Love this post! How you start your morning can really reflect how your day will go so it’s important to be productive! These are great tips to help you really get your day started! Thanks so much for sharing ❀️

    • Nina
      March 21, 2021 at 8:19 am

      That’s so true! It’s much harder to start being productive in the afternoon, if you haven’t done much till then. And whatever you do, time seems to fly! That’s why it’s best to spend every hour of your day well. Thank you for your comment!

  • Patty
    March 20, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    You mean besides drink coffee. 🀣 I have been trying to replace my social media habit with more productive habits. Great tips. I really need to start listening to more motivational stuff while I’m making breakfast.

    • Nina
      March 21, 2021 at 8:20 am

      Haha exactly! πŸ˜€ Motivational videos/podcasts are super good! Highly recommend!

  • Destiny
    March 20, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    I love all of these tips and I find journaling to be one of the best ways I can use to be less stressed in the mornings!

    • Nina
      March 21, 2021 at 8:21 am

      Thank you! Journaling really is so good, it’s one of the best ways to start your day πŸ™‚

  • Meg Stewart
    March 21, 2021 at 9:05 am

    11. Is huge. I work full time from home and homeschool and have a 5 month old – distractions are inevitable in my world, ha!!

    • Nina
      March 22, 2021 at 9:12 am

      I can imagine! But it’s the busiest years that are the best years of life, right?

  • Martha
    March 22, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    These are great tips. For me, #5 and 11 are really important so that I can focus on the right things and not be distracted! Thanks for sharing these.

    • Nina A
      March 23, 2021 at 10:01 am

      They are crucial steps! Everything is so much easier if you have a clear plan and have nothing to distract you πŸ™‚

  • Aranda Rahbarkouhi
    March 27, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Really useful post – and very aligned with my thinking! Lockdown has been hard so these tips are invaluable right now. Thanks!

    • Nina A
      March 27, 2021 at 12:47 pm

      Awesome! Lockdown really has changed a lot for most of us and I’ve seen a lot of people lose their motivation. But if we want to build a great future for ourselves, we have to stay productive and get things done!

  • Tyanne Johnson
    April 25, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    I love the podcast and workout idea! If I do not workout right when I get up, I will not get to it!

    • Nina
      April 26, 2021 at 6:12 am

      Workouts are great in the morning, they really wake you up! Unfortunately I usually have to leave so early there’s simply no time. But definitely recommended!

  • Ally
    April 25, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Working out first thing is my favorite way to kick start the day! Great list!

    • Nina
      April 26, 2021 at 6:13 am

      Thank you! No wonder, it really makes your day better!

  • Lyz
    June 1, 2021 at 3:59 am

    Love your suggestions here! I usually listen to a podcast or do a quick workout, but I love the idea of reading the news in another language!

    • Nina
      June 12, 2021 at 5:20 am

      Podcasts and workouts are great! And yes, reading the news in another language helps a lot. It’s not necessarily as hard as it sounds either πŸ™‚

  • Nandini
    July 1, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Very nice read! Thank you for sharing all these tips, I plan to start following them!

    • Nina
      July 2, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      Awesome to hear, thank you for your comment!

  • Pixie | Productive Pixie
    July 12, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Great list! I do almost all of the things on this list, and I can confirm that it helps me to be more productive!
    – Pixie | Productive Pixie

    • Nina
      July 12, 2021 at 6:28 pm

      That’s great to hear! Making sure you’re productive from the beginning makes all the difference πŸ™‚


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