There’s nothing like the early morning quiet when the whole world feels like it belongs to you. In those few precious hours before the barrage of emails, meetings, and to-dos, you have time to start the day however you’d like—by exercising, meditating, reading, writing, or even just sitting still.
Thoughtfully designing your morning can make a total difference in your happiness, energy, productivity, and focus throughout the day. Here are seven apps to help you make the most of your morning time, however you choose to spend it.
1. If You Want to Meditate: Brain.fm, Free
AI generated music to improve focus, relaxation, and sleep
With a lot of apps, you don’t necessarily see results right away—but Brain.fm is one where you will. Brain.fm “converts auditory neuroscience into personalized brainwave training programs.” In non-fancy science terms, that means turn this baby on and you’ll notice a difference within the first 15 to 30 minutes of using it. This app will improve your ability to relax, focus, or fall into a better sleep—not that we recommend this particular latter function for your morning routine.
If you’re looking to establish a meditation or relaxation practice, this is a great tool for getting you in the right headspace for it—literally.
2. If You Want to Exercise: 7 Minute Workout, Free
Scientific 7-minute workout app from The New York Times
If you’re looking to exercise more consistently, there’s no better time to do it than in the morning when you can’t make up excuses not to do it later in the day. The 7-Minute Workout, brought to you by The New York Times, is a 12-step circuit you can do with only a chair, a wall, and your body weight. It’s super easy to do, and you’re guided all the way through the program, down to the second. There’s also a more advanced nine-step workout that takes seven minutes to complete and just requires a few dumbbells.
You can do your chosen circuit as many times as you’d like, but even one round every morning can make a difference. This is a fantastic app for anyone who wants to incorporate working out into their morning routine, but doesn’t want to deal with traveling to a gym or buying a lot of fancy equipment.
3. If You Want to Write: Day One 2.0, $4.99
A journal app for Mac and iPhone
If you’re big on capturing your memories, this is a must-have app. Day One is stunningly and simply designed to help you record your experiences, photos, and thoughts every day. You can store multiple photos per entry, keep up to 10 different journals, use various timeline filters (tags, location, weather, music), and export your entries into a PDF format.
Many creatives swear by a process playwright and filmmaker Julia Cameron coined Morning Pages, where you write a total of three pages every morning (you can do it for a set amount of time, too). The goal is to write whatever comes to mind, and it works wonders for one’s creative process (and isn’t all of our work creative in some way?). If you want to establish a more consistent journaling practice in the morning, this is the app for you.
4. If You Want to Read: Blinkist, Free
Quick summaries if you don’t want to read the whole book
Do you ever wish you had more time to read? Now, with Blinkist, you will. On this app, you’ll find over 1,000 different book summaries for non-fiction bestsellers that you can read in just 15 minutes a piece. For many of the classic books, you have the option to read or listen to summaries—which is super helpful if you want to “read” during your drive to work in the morning.
You can find books in over a dozen different categories, including science, politics, productivity, relationships, leadership, and personal growth. Now, you can absorb the most important information about your favorite non-fiction books in a fraction of the time. Sign us up!
5. If You Want to Build a New Habit: Streaks, $3.99
The to-do list for habits
With the Streaks app, you can choose up to six different “tasks” you want to turn into habits—like walking to work, flossing your teeth, or practicing a new language. Then, set how frequently you want to do the task (it could be daily or less frequently).
Every time you complete a scheduled task, the streak continues. The goal is easy: don’t break the streak! It sounds overly simple, but it’s actually a highly effective habit-changing technique. If you want to establish a new habit as part of your morning routine, Streaks will help you get there.
6. If You Want to Track Your Life: Gyroscope, Free
A personal website powered by your life
There are a number of apps out there that will help you monitor your health, fitness, time management, and more. Gyroscope essentially takes all of those monitoring tools and mashes them together. It creates a personal profile for you based on the various different smartphone apps you use to track things like travel, productivity, weight, health, heart rate, and more. Seeing all of your data combined in one place can tell you a bigger story about yourself on any given day—and also reveal your long-term progress and behavior patterns.
If you geek out about quantified self-help tools, this is one of the best new apps out there. Don’t be surprised if you start checking it religiously multiple times per day.
7. If You Have No Idea What You Want to Do: My Morning Routine, Free
Inspiring morning routines for a productive and enjoyable day
If you have absolutely no idea what you want your morning routine to look like in the future, My Morning Routine is a great way to see what others are doing. The site details the routines of over 170 different creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. You can even find a bunch of cool summary statistics here.
Looking for more apps and resources to fuel your morning routine? Check out the full collection on Product Hunt.
This article was originally published on Medium. It has been republished here with permission.