Let’s face it, mornings can be rough.
But they don't need to be. Whether you’re the type of person that hits the snooze button ten times in a row or someone who jumps out of bed the minute the sun rises, mornings set the tone for your entire day. And how you spend your days, of course, is how you spend your life. It also sets you up for success in your career.
For artists, because our work days are usually self-structured, morning routines are especially important. You need to be in the right frame of mind to produce your best work in the studio. But, how?
Get your day off to the right start by tackling these ten things before 10 A.M.
Prioritize at Least Seven Hours of Sleep
Sleep. It can be an elusive thing for many busy artists, but it is crucial for your overall health, including your ability to create. You can’t expect to maintain a productive schedule without this one.
Sleep experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults and link a healthy sleep schedule to improved memory, increased creativity and attention, decreased risk of depression and a longer life and lower levels of stress.
If you’re having trouble reaching that goal, here’s what they suggest:
Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable enough.
Turn off electronics before bed (or don’t bring them into bed at all)
Set an alarm to remind yourself when it’s time to make your way to bed.
Set Your Intentions & Get in a Grateful Mindset
Before you head into the studio, it’s important to remind yourself of your “why.”
Think of three or four reasons you are grateful for being an artist and three or four things you want to accomplish during the day in your work.
Practicing mindfulness can remind you of how lucky you are to be living your passion and help ignite a renewed passion in your art. By stating what you are grateful for, you decrease your stress and frame your world in abundance, positivity, and opportunity. All of these set you up for future success.
Use The Night Before Wisely
If you are not a morning person, you know just how much of a struggle waking up and getting out the door can be. So why not prepare for the day before you’re in the thick of it?
Reordering your to-do list, packing a lunch to take with you, or even laying out tools you plan to use in the studio can leave you dragging your feet in the morning and procrastinating on getting to the real work. Do these jobs when you have the energy for it the night before. The less you have to worry about when you wake up, the more ready you’ll feel to get the day started.
Take Care of Your Most Important Tool: Your Body
The rigors of daily studio work can take a toll on the most important tool of the trade: your body.
If you aren’t the morning gym type, try and get your body moving first thing in the morning in a different way. Find a yoga flow you can do in your house or studio or jog around the neighborhood as the sun rises. Whatever you choose, using your body first thing in the morning increases your levels of happiness and productivity.
In the very least, take some time to do some stretches when you roll out of bed.
Stretches like the Lying Knee Twist, Cat Cow Yoga Pose, and Cobra Stretch (all demonstrated here by APM Health) can do wonders for your back, while the Praying Position and Extended Arm Wrist Curls stretch out those priceless creative instruments, A.K.A. your hands and wrists.
Your life as an artist depends on your body. Take care of it.
Sketch or Doodle an Idea or Observation
Just like an athlete needs to warm up before playing, artists should get the brain ready to create with a few creative exercises.
Doodling in the morning is the new making your bed first thing in the morning.
Making your bed in the morning has been proven to increase your productivity during the day by putting yourself into the mindset of accomplishing tasks. You make your bed, your brain feels rewarded for completing something, and it wants to complete more tasks.
For artists, doodling in the morning can do the same thing for your brain. One small doodle will put you in mind frame to keep creating.
No matter what you create, the important thing is that you create something. Doing something small each morning will help you get over the hurdle of “I don’t feel creative today.” Plus, you never know what it will inspire you to make next.
Take Five Minutes to Learn Something New
Even if it’s just a few minutes of your morning, block out some time to learn something new. Listen to an art business podcast or an audiobook on your morning commute.
Over time, these actions add up and by the end of the year you will have read, listened or consumed multiple books and educational content that will contribute to your overall success. The most successful people and artists commit to lifelong learning.
With a site like Highbrow, you can sign up to have free five minute lessons sent daily to your email where you can learn anything from business tips to personal development. A perfect way to get your brain activated and ready for the day!
Get After Your Goals
You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about goal-setting by now. But, there’s a reason why pretty much every successful person on the planet uses them.
Goals provide the direction you need to do big things. So, review each morning what long-term goals you hope to accomplish, and here’s the kicker, do one small thing daily to help see it through.
Set up that Instagram account. Sign up for that workshop. Send out that newsletter. Then, celebrate your accomplishment—after all, you’re that much closer to reaching your long-term goal! The good vibes will make you want to keep at it.
By writing your goals down and reviewing them every day, you remind yourself of your artistic vision and can more easily sort out what is important.
Check In on Your To-Do List
The great thing about writing down your goals is that all goals have an action plan to get there.
Look over your to-do list in the morning to see where you are at in getting to your goals. Committing these steps and small to-do’s to paper allows you to quickly jump in. There’s no time lost wondering what you should start.
What should you start with first?
Most experts recommend tackling your biggest task of the day. Why? You’ll overcome that mountain of a project before your energy and excitement wanes. Or, if not the biggest task, choose the one you are most excited for. Use that excitement to your advantage and get things done!
Stick to a Routine
A routine? But does doing the same thing day in and day out send artists into a rut?
Surprisingly, no! In fact, many creative powerhouses use routines to keep them focused, organized, and ready to work.
If you’re in need of a jump start, take a look at this morning routine made just for artists that include practicing positivity and eating a healthy breakfast. You’ll feel happier and more creative when you start the day off right, no surprises.
Do One Thing a Day to Stay Organized
It’s unavoidable—you can’t do your job as an artist if your studio or business is in disarray.
When you are constantly playing catch up on where your artwork is, who you sold each piece to, or how to get any of this critical information, it can be nearly impossible to concentrate on creating. The stress alone is overwhelmingly mind-numbing.
Getting your art business organized should be a big bullet point on your to-do list, if not at the very top.
Try out Artwork Archive for free to stay organized as an artist. Then, each morning, make it a goal to keep the business-side of your art up-to-date. Look over your inventory, schedule, and sales and see what customers you need to catch up with, what invoices still need to be sent, what gallery you need to ship work to and where you need to pick up your pieces. Then, easily print out reports, inventory lists and keep track of your goals by looking at your business insights.
The rest of the day can be spent in the right frame of mind to create.