How to Create a Productive Morning Routine after Moving Abroad

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The first few weeks of living abroad can be tough. Many people are adjusting to a new language, culture, and climate. The morning routine is often the most productive time of day for expats so it’s important to have some productive morning routines in place.

You can have a productive morning routine without waking up at 5 AM. As a morning person, it is easier for me to get things done in the morning. I noticed that the quality of my day depends on the quality of my morning routine. I assume it happens to you as well, but you just don’t realize it.

Do you always rush in the morning and feel like you are all over the place throughout the day? Do you often hit the snooze button and wake up late rushing your morning so you won’t be late for work?

You are setting the tone of your day.

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You might think that having a productive morning routine sounds boring and unnecessary, but here are the benefits of a morning routine:

  1. You control your schedule.   
  2. You set the tone of your day.
  3. It reduces stress. 
  4. It gives you more time for yourself.
  5. It helps you prioritize. 
  6. It increases productivity. 

There are days when I don’t want to be productive and I want to sleep in. Some days I wake up tired but I still make sure to follow my morning routine.

Especially now, being home for too long can take a toll on yourself. More reason to drag yourself and create a productive morning routine.

If that’s not enough, here are more benefits of a morning routine after moving abroad:

  1. Waking up at the same time every day will give you a productive boost in your morning and help with any jet lag that you may be feeling.

  2. Drinking water after waking up helps to rehydrate your body and mind so it’s easier for them to function throughout the day effectively.


  3. Do some stretching or yoga before breakfast, if possible – this gives you even more energy from all of those endorphins released during exercise! 

  4. Taking quick shower or bath allows you to wake yourself up while still feeling refreshed on busy mornings when there isn’t much time between getting out of bed until having to leave for work/school etc.  

  5. Getting dressed ensures that what is going on outside doesn’t affect your productive morning routine.

  6. Eating breakfast is important because it will give you the energy to continue with productive tasks during your day! 

My productive morning routine in 2021

My morning routine has changed after my husband and I adopted three cats in Stockholm. I was never a cat person before moving to Sweden, but it’s always a good idea to try new things when you move abroad!

  • Make my bed & open the curtains
  • Feed the cats
  • Brush my teeth 
  • Do my morning skincare routine
  • Drink a glass of water 
  • Do a 5 or 10-minute tidy 
  • Make coffee and have a breakfast 
  • Plan my day
  • Shower 
  • Change clothes for work 
  • Clean my workspace 
  • Write my work to-do list

I wake up between 6 – 7 AM and ever since we started working from home, I spend 1 to 2 hours on my morning routine. Usually, people spend 30 to 60 minutes on their morning routine. It’s up to you, as long as you can follow through.

I like to have a productive morning routine on weekdays since it is easier for me to prepare my mindset for work.

I also do most of my tasks in the morning including the ones I dread doing. I cannot put it off later in the afternoon; it will give me a reason to do it the next day.

Productive morning routine ideas

You probably don’t have a morning routine yet (and that’s okay!) or you just want to get some ideas that you can add to your routine that’s why you are here.

Making a productive morning routine is also a good step in getting your life together.

You might be doing already 3 or 5 without knowing, but it’s a good start! Here are the productive morning routine ideas.

Productive Morning Routine

Here you will find different ideas for your morning routine. I decided to separate each routine so it will be easier for you to find what you are looking for!

Main productive morning routine ideas

  1. Wake up early. You don’t have to wake up at 5 AM! Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to go to work or school. Or if you are working from home, then you don’t need to think about the commute time!  
  2. Skip snoozing the alarm and don’t interrupt your internal body clock. Hitting the snooze button will only make you feel tired and groggy. Remember: your morning routine sets the tone of your day.  
  3. Make your bed. Doing this as soon as you wake up means you accomplish one task! Making your bed is the start of a habit that lets you do more other habits.  
  4. Open your curtains and let the sunlight come in.
  5. Drink a glass of water to rehydrate your body. 
  6. Brush your teeth.
  7. Cleanse your face. 
  8. Make a coffee or tea. 
  9. Eat a healthy breakfast. 

Boost your day

  1. Go outside & get some fresh air. If you don’t want to go outside, you can open your window and breathe some fresh air. 
  2. Meditate. 
  3. Workout. 
  4. Journal. 
  5. Take vitamins. 
  6. Take a cold shower. It’s better to take a cold shower since it helps you wake up in the morning.
  7. Talk to your family at home! If you are feeling homesick while living abroad, then communicating with. your loved ones can also boost your day. 

Home organization and cleanliness

After we bought an apartment in Stockholm, I couldn’t start my day without cleaning the entire apartment! 

Home Organization

  1. Do a 5-minute tidy. 
  2. Mop the floor. 
  3. Vacuum. 
  4. Do your laundry.
  5. Put away your clothes. 
  6. Wash the dishes. 
  7. Put the dishes away. 
  8. Water your plants.
  9. Take out some trash. 
  10. Recycle. 
  11. Shop groceries online.
  12. Plan your bills.
  13. Pay your bills.

Boost your brain and productivity

  1. Clean your workspace.
  2. Plan your day (Current favorite: Notion).
  3. Create a to-do list.
  4. Read the news.
  5. Read a chapter of a book. 
  6. Practice a new language. 
  7. Work on a side hustle.
  8. Use positive affirmations.
  9. Listen to a podcast (Current favorite: The Lavendaire Lifestyle).
  10. Skip social media.
  11. Respond to emails. 

How to create a productive morning routine

Your morning routine sets the tone of your day.

I know I have been saying that a couple of times now, but that’s just it. Regardless of what is in your morning routine, your day depends on it.

  1. List the things you want to do every morning
  2. Define how much time you need to do it 
  3. Consider your work or school schedule
  4. Specify what time you need to wake up in the morning
  5. Create a realistic and sustainable schedule

What do you want to do in the morning?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is what do you want to do in the morning? You need to know it because it makes a huge difference if you add it to your morning routine and do it consistently to make it a habit.

This is also why I don’t believe that you have to wake up every day at 5 AM to have a productive morning routine. It still depends on how you want to spend your morning. What’s important is you wake up at the right time.

For example,

  • Do a quick tidy-up
  • Workout
  • Take a shower
  • Get ready
  • Have breakfast
  • Blog

How much time do you need in the morning?

After listing down the things you want to do in the morning, define how much time you need to do it. If you need to leave the apartment to go to the gym, then add the travel time.

  1. Do a quick tidy-up – 10 minutes
  2. Workout at home – 15 minutes
  3. Take a shower – 10 minutes
  4. Get ready – 10 minutes
  5. Have breakfast – 15 minutes
  6. Blog – 1 hour

What time do you need to wake up?

Now that you know how much time you need in the morning, next, is to know what time you have to work or what time will your class start?

If you need to travel to work or school, then you need to add the travel time on top.

Let’s say for now you are working from home and your work starts at 9 AM. This means you need to wake up 2 hours before 9 AM.

Is it a realistic and sustainable schedule?

It’s good if you want to do a lot in the morning, it’s also good if you want to do a few things only. What matters is you set a productive morning routine that is realistic and sustainable.

You need to be specific on what you won’t do in the morning, and tell yourself WHY you need to do it. In that way, you will feel more motivated with starting a productive morning routine.

When should you start the morning routine?


Don’t wait for next Sunday or Monday. Or next week. Or next month. START TOMORROW.

Best morning routine

I am guilty of Googling what is the best morning routine and doing the exact routine of another person.

At first, I thought it would be impossible for me to create the best morning routine and I set high expectations on myself. The result wasn’t good; I became lazy and unmotivated.

You will not have the best morning routine if you did not set it yourself.

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I hope you got ideas to create a productive morning routine for you. Take it one step at a time and slowly, you will get there!

My productive morning routine changes from time to time depending on what I want to achieve on that morning. Eventually, you will find the best morning routine for yourself.

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1 comment
  1. Dear Karen,

    Very nicely written and detailed article. However, there is a downside that waking early will leave you fatigued for the later half of the day. How do you counter that?

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