<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=658263587654409&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> Daily Morning Routine Ideas: 7 Things I Do Every Morning | Blog from Ashlyn Carter | Launch Expert & Copywriter for Creatives


I've been called the OG of copywriters for creatives, wink—I hook up women with words as a launch copywriter & brand strategist. Even while raking in more than 7-figures since I've been at it, I believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you.
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January 13, 2018

Daily Morning Routine Ideas: 7 Things I Do Every Morning

Reading time: 6 min.

Let’s talk about daily morning routine ideas! And let me preface by saying I’ve ALWAYS been a mornin’ bird—way back to Limited Too inflatable metallic chair days reading my teen devotional Bible (at age 12—so naturally I felt SO grown up).


How I plan my morning routine | Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes copywriting and calligraphy

I still love mornings, but do you know what? I’m sick of starting mornings and feeling like I’m already behind … like I’ll never make peace with my day’s to-do’s … and like I’m insufficient.

Every. Morning. that I wake up is a gift from the Lord, and his mercies are NEW each day … and they SHOULD be carried with us throughout the day. James Wedmore gave a great podcast episode about your morning routine—because if you’re not carrying it into your day and instead, keeping it silo’d, you’re probably doing it wrong.


I’ve always been into routines and wanted to share my morning routine here. It’s been a BIG game-changer when it comes to waking up with abundance and gratitude in mind … which helps squelch my grumbling later in the day.

Hopefully, this post explains the PRESENT thing I talk about on Instagram from time to time … and I’d love to know if you do this, too!

The P.R.E.S.E.N.T. Method

One of my FAVORITE books I recommend to everyone is Design Your Day by Claire Diaz-Ortiz. She’s the one behind this idea, and it’s brilliant.

Cued from Claire, I have these 7 letters written across the top of each day in my Emily Ley Simplified Planner. They stand for:









Emily Ley Simplified Planner review from Ashlyn Writes

When I have PRESENT mornings, everything’s just better!

I don’t go in order, so here, I want to walk you through what I do during each part of the PRESENT routine … but actually in order that I do them.


Morning Routine Step: Express

I wake up around 5/5:30 a.m., chug a glass of water, and pull out my morning tools: my journal, my Bible, and my Bible study workbook.

I start by journaling (E for Express!) through some prompts I’ve learned from Michael Hyatt and John Lee Dumas.

  • The date and where I am
  • What the weather’s like, because if it’s good enough for first graders to mark on a felt board each morning during circle time, it’s good enough for me. It’s also fun to look back and remember when there was a snow storm or sunny beach day.
  • 2 things that rocked yesterday
  • 2 things that didn’t rock yesterday
  • 2 ways I can maybe change those
  • My scripture for the day I’m studying or notes/thoughts  on what I’m reading
  • My mood
  • Then, I pick 2-3 of these: what I’m learning from a book, things I’m excited about or nervous about, goals I’m working on, a story I want to tell, my favorite verse from the Bible study I’m working on, my focus for the day, the 3 things I want to have done by the end of the day


Morning Routine Step: Read

I read my Bible and do a few pages of my Bible study workbook (right now I’m working through all of Jen Wilikin’s teachings from Flower Mound Women’s Bible Study — she has a great free podcast with workbooks you can print!).

I also try to read at least 20 pages of whatever book I’m reading that week. I try to read 3-4 books a month (if I can!)—click here to read my post where I wrote about how to become a better reader as an entrepreneur.


Morning Routine Step: Exercise

Next, I hop in the car and go to my gym for a little class. My fave classes are the 30-45 minute ones (give me a quick class any day … I may feel like I’m going to keel over, but it’s over faster!). If I couldn’t sleep well, I skip it—my body needs sleep more!

If I slept and still want to move (which I try to do each morning) or am traveling and don’t have access to a little HIIT or barre class, I do one of Drew Kutcher’s 10 minute no-equipment workouts. I usually listen to a podcast on the way there, SOMETIMES business, and sometimes political (love me some Ben Shapiro).


Morning Routine Step: Prayer

Back from the gym, I pour a cup of coffee and I go to my war room to pray over my day. 🙂 If I can work up my courage, I’ll show you what it actually looks like since a few of you have asked, but it’s a lot of prayers and scriptures washi-taped to a door. So when I say “room,” I mean I basically just swing open my closet door — and it’s no walk-in. Ha! For me, this has helped focus my time talking to Jesus because — if you didn’t guess, I tend to be a little easily-excitable. I’m all over the place.

If I sit in one spot, on my knees, head down on the floor with sheets of paper in front of me and a weekly guide so I don’t forget what I want to bring to his feet, something magical happens: I focus on Jesus. Soo … that’s why I do the war room thing. If you’ve not seen War Room, it’s a pretty good visual of what creating space like this with Jesus actually looks like.

My FAVORITE tool for prayer is from my sweet friend Val Marie Paper. I use her prayer journal every morning to help me stay focused, keep a record of prayers the Lord has answered, write down and work on my scripture memory, and remember prayer requests. Val’s entire blog is a GREAT resource on prayer—don’t miss the chance to shop her journals!

My morning routine Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes

Prayer Journal Optin

Morning Routine Step: Schedule

Scheduling comes next—or typically, the night before. That helps me grease the slide!

I write out on my calendar how long things will take me and time block. I pick 3 big things to do … the rest is fluff. I also have batched days:

  • Sundays: Personal Growth
  • Mondays: Marketing
  • Tuesdays: Client Work
  • Wednesdays: Product
  • Thursdays: Client Work & Meetings
  • Fridays: Admin
  • Saturdays: Rest

That takes the guesswork out of any task that comes on my plate … it just goes on the docket for whatever day it fits. If it’s a full day that day, it goes to the next week.

Does this mean I say no to a lot of things? Yup. Does this mean I can be a hardliner about telling people when I can get them things? Yup. But clients pay me to do A+++ work … not do it overnight. And my husband married me — not an LLC. So, for someone that’s struggled with clinical depression & anxiety, I have to stand by these rhythms to not just serve Wes well, but deliver top-notch client work (’cause I only take on 4 at a time max).

Here’s a quick video I did about how I set up my planner and pick those 3 things each day.

Morning Routine Step: Nourish

I love studying decision fatigue and how top leaders tend to wear or eat the same thing every day … I think it rubbed off on me! I eat the same thing all week—no decisions each morning, and I just have to decide on Sunday what I want to eat all week.

For good meal ideas, I lean on my friend and mastermind sister at Simply Real Health, Sarah. I pick apart her Pinterest boards and blogs constantly!

Some weekly favorites have been:

  • Green smoothies (pre-packed in little bags on Sundays)
  • Kefir + yogurt + berries
  • Emily Ley’s fancy avocado toast idea


Morning Routine Step: Track

Kinda more of a through-the-day step, but I do track my time on a pad of paper next to me during the day. At the end of the day, I load it into Toggl (my whole team uses this to keep track of our hours).

Be a maker in the morning, and a manager in the afternoon. Click To Tweet

I try really hard to hack the first 4 hours of your workday. “Be a maker in the morning, and a manager in the afternoon,” I’ve heard.

Drill down those first 4 hours to zone in on your biggest, hardest task, or your craft (so writing copy or doing calligraphy work for me, whatever it is for you. Stephen King spent 4 hours a day writing before calling it quits and Jerry Seinfeld wrote jokes for four hours a day).

Then, track your time to see where it goes. As it turns out, you may not be working as much as you think. ???? Download my free time tracker here, and put Laura Vanderkam’s books on your reading list.


So that’s it, that’s my morning routine, and lately, it’s involved a lot of exploring this Young Living oils thing, too, which has been fun!

What do you do in the mornings?



How I plan my morning routine | Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes copywriting and calligraphy

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure your words sell. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

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  1. Nicholette von Reiche says:

    I love seeing how you start your day. And your batched out days is just perfect. I’m going to try that for sure. Thank you for sharing lovely.

  2. Eveline Shum says:

    Super structure. I love how your days are focused. Big takeaway for me. Thanks for sharing and giving us a glimpse of you.

  3. Meg Simone says:

    I love reading your blog posts! I’m so glad I met you at Camp Wed 🙂 Thank you for sharing your routine! My friend gave me the Theives Oil and Theives lozenges from Young Living and I swear that’s why I haven’t (knock on wood) been sick all year! Totally bonkers!

    • Meg, that makes me so happy! I’m glad I met you, too—-and I’m right there with you. I rub Theives on my feet every night, and I’m starting to believe its mystical powers, too. 🙂

  4. KyAnn Molina says:

    This blog post was SO incredibly helpful, Ashlyn!! Thank you so much for all of your tips! I am refreshing a lot of things in my life after a year of burn-out last year and my daily routines is one of those things. This was so helpful to see a perfect outline that helps start the day with all of my top priorities (time with Jesus, exercise, business planning, taking time to reflect and be grateful, etc.). I am going to implement this right away and I even took notes and went ahead and applied some of your tips to my Powersheets! I will definitely start using the PRESENT acronym idea asap because I love it!! I also hadn’t heard of this prayer journal before, but I went to check it out and even though the yearly versions are sold out, I’m ordering the undated version today because this is exactly what I need to center my prayer life. Thank you so much again for all of your help!!

    • KyAnn … well aren’t you just the sweetest. Thank YOU for encouraging me. I’m so glad you’re taking those bold steps AWAY from burnout. It’s the worst, and has no place in our lives. You’re doing great! xo – Ash

  5. Peyton Flowers says:

    Thank you for taking the time to detail out your mornings! I am so excited to start this system for myself. I have only Bible studied with just my Bible, but noticed you mentioned workbooks. I am really interested in starting this! Do you have any additional recommendations on study workbooks? Thank you. 😀

    • Hey, Peyton! YES! Okay, I LOVE recommending Jen Wilkin’s studies. The podcast is free (Flower Mound Women’s Bible Study) on iTunes, and you can find the links to the workbooks through those. I’ve bought a few of her studies on Lifeway, too. She’s a go-to for me because she teaches SO scripturally based, and starts with the Word itself. I would really recommend her book Women of the Word, too!

  6. Lisa says:

    Hello! Just found this today as I’ve been focusing on coming up with the best morning routine for work from home days and work at work days, which I’ve been struggling on since moving homes and getting married in the last year. One thing I’m not sure I understand is the “E for Express”. Could you elaborate on this?

    • Hey Lisa, we’re so glad you found this, and we hope it was helpful for you! The “E for Express” is part of Ashyln’s beloved “PRESENT” method, and E for express is the time she sets aside for journaling and expressing herself — she lists out some of what she’ll write about in the middle of the post. Depending on the day, “E for Express” can be more of a brain dump, just getting things out of your head and onto paper, or it can be more reflective. Just depends! But, there’s a lot of research out there that shows journaling and processing your thoughts/emotions daily is very healthy for managing things like stress and anxiety! xo. Team Ashlyn Writes

  7. Jaylyn says:

    Hi Ashlyn! Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed seeing a morning routine from a Christian woman entrepreneur. Its encouraging to see other women still putting Christ and time in the Word first. Thanks for a practical ans encouraging post.

  8. I love this! Definitely going to implement some of these ideas…

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