Morning Routine

'The Happiness Project' writer on ways to change your routine for a happier morning

If you don't consider yourself a morning person, sometimes it's hard to wake up with a smile on your face — especially before coffee.

But with a few tweaks to your morning routine, you can change that. TODAY.com spoke to Gretchen Rubin, author of several books including "The Happiness Project" and "Better Than Before," about what she does when she wakes up every day, and how we can have a happier morning.

Here's what she had to say:

Elana Seibert
Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin shares her morning routine tips.

What's your morning routine like?

We got a new puppy about a month ago. I used to get up at 6 a.m. regularly, but now I get up at 5:45 a.m. so I can take the puppy for a walk. So I get up, get dressed, go for a walk, come back to my office and work with my new puppy until it's time to get the family up for breakfast, about ten to 7 a.m.

What work task do you have to take care of first?

A lot of people say don't do low-value work in the precious morning time, but I found I can't do more demanding work until I feel like I've cleared the weeds. So I spend the first part of my day answering email and checking out social media.

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What's for breakfast?

Three eggs scrambled in butter. Lots of butter.

Broadway Books
Rubin's new book.

How can we have a happier morning?

The first thing: Look at what's dragging you down in the mornings. Look for specific problems to solve. There are some common ones — maybe you can't find your keys or your wallet or your phone. A lot of things to make the morning better have to happen the night before. Always charge your phone overnight in the same place, keep your keys and wallet in the same place. So you're not always scrambling.

Another thing is to get enough sleep. If you're chronically sleep-deprived, you're just not going to have a good morning experience.

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For busy moms like you, what helps make the morning smoother?

If the whole household is getting ready at the same time, there's a lot of yelling and running around and looking for stuff. Try getting up a little earlier yourself. It works for me.

I have a friend who doesn't see her sons much during the week, and they were having such unpleasant mornings. So she decided to start getting up a half hour earlier, so she can get herself ready, have a cup of coffee, and not have to do all her stuff while getting her sons to do all their stuff. If everything has to happen at the same time, there's no margin for error and your stress level will rise.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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