Meditation has been used for thousands of years to improve concentration, reduce stress, and promote overall wellness. Learning how to meditate in the morning before work can be a great way to start your day.  As with most habits, knowing its value doesn’t always mean you follow through. 

Here is a short guide on how to prepare to meditate in the morning before work.

Decide how long you will meditate

If you’re looking for ways to start your day off right, meditation is something you can do. You don’t need any special equipment or fancy surroundings to begin practicing meditation. All you need is a place to practice. You can start with a short practice of five minutes. It doesn’t even need to be quiet. 

You can start with five minutes to give yourself a taste of what morning meditation feels like. As neuroscientist Amishi Jha shares in her book, the most current research points to 12 minutes as an ideal practice length.  

Mindfulness training does indeed have a dose-response effect, which means the more you practice, the more you benefit. Based on these many studies, what we’ve come to understand is that asking people to do too much, especially those with a lot of demands and very little time, demotivates them. The key is having a goal that is not just inspiring, but possible. Twelve minutes worked better than 30, and five days worked better than every single day. So this is what I want to encourage you to do: Practice 12 minutes a day, five days a week. Mindful 

That said, starting with five minutes to get the flavour of mindful mornings is a fine place to start. If you find the morning an ideal time to meditate before work, add one minute to your practice every week or two. 

It might be that your morning meditation before work is only 3-5 minutes, and you do a longer meditation at another time in the day. One of my clients, a therapist, does a short practice when she wakes up in the morning and a longer practice at work. Before she opens her laptop at work, she does a 12-minute meditation where she listens to the sounds in the office.


Know your goals

Before you start a meditation practice, think about why you want to learn to meditate now.

What are you hoping meditation will help with?

If you are starting a practice because you heard it might help you feel better or be more present, that can be your goal. Reminding yourself of the purpose can help you stick with it, especially in the beginning when you haven’t experienced rewards or gained practice momentum. Your mindfulness goal will change over time. 

  • When I first started meditating, I had the goal of reducing stress to help reduce the number and severity of my migraines
  • Once I had less stress and fewer migraines, my goal was to increase my concentration levels
  • Once I had more focus at work, my meditation goal was to nurture creativity 
  • Once I was being more creative in my work, my meditation goal was to speak with more wisdom and authority

Common first goals that inspire people to meditate in the morning before work include stress relief, self-understanding, wanting to feel more present, increasing focus, or nurturing innovative thoughts. Meditation can help you reach any of these goals. 

One warning about goals: If you want relief or to feel less stressed, that’s doable. Meditation can help. But be careful about setting expectations on what the meditation will feel like. If you come to meditation thinking, “I want to have a quiet mind,” but your mind is full of thoughts, you will be disappointed. A goal of  “I want to reduce the suffering I have about overthinking” is doable.

We’re always meeting ourselves at every sit, but the insights we get from every practice can help our bigger goals. 

There are specific types of meditation that help you build these skills. I teach these specific mindfulness techniques alongside storytelling lessons in SET ONE.


career happiness meditation


Plan what technique you’ll do for your morning meditation before work

There are a lot of meditation styles to choose from. I benefitted the most from the Unified Mindfulness (UM) System that Shinzen Young created. The UM System is used by leading universities like Harvard and Carnegie Mellon to study the effects of mindfulness on human flourishing. I am a UM teacher. 

Before I did UM, I spent 15 years doing a combination of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) — I did the 8-week training program, Transcendental Meditation, and listening to random meditation teachers. I attended a few meditation retreats, listened to mindfulness app guidances, and attended a local insight meditation group for years. While I found all these programs interesting, I would always reach a stalling point in my practice and stop for a few months.

Then one day, I heard Shinzen on a podcast, and he led his signature technique, SEE HEAR FEEL, and I was like — “Oh…this is meditation.” 

Since then, I have studied his system intensely to understand all the techniques and the UM system fully. 

Now, you don’t need to spend years learning how to analyze what each mindfulness method does to benefit from meditating. You need to test some techniques and see how they feel for you. While there can be benefits and growth opportunities in doing difficult techniques, save this for when you are advanced. Right now, explore what works for you and is easy for you to do every morning. 

Many people find the SEE OUT technique easy to do in the morning before work.

You could do this technique in motion — you could pay attention to all the objects you see as you rise from bed, go to the washroom, and make your morning beverage. Here is a short guide on how to do this technique — (note that in the video, I guide you to sit, you can do meditation techniques while walking, standing, or sitting).  


The SEE OUT technique can help you get relief, build concentration, and develop sensory clarity (along with a dozen other benefits).

Choose where you’ll do your meditation in the morning before work

It is helpful to know where you plan on doing your meditation.  It might be the edge of your bed, a blanket near your bed, a chair where you make coffee or tea, or some other spot.  

Walk around all the spaces where you are in the mornings and see if there is a place you could meditate.

For many years, I have meditated in my office. It is near my bedroom, and I need to walk by this room in the morning. I would set up cushions and light a candle on a low shelf. I made it feel special, so I looked forward to meditating there every day. 

Here’s a video clip from that meditation space:

A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a vertigo disorder. I was given a physical therapy exercise every morning for preventative care. The therapist said, “After you do this sequence of movements, it’s important to sit still for 15 minutes. Most people don’t last 5 minutes but see what you can do. Fifteen minutes is ideal.” 

The exercise set is done in my bed, so my new morning meditation spot is staring at a blank wall by my bed. It still works. 

Two important parts of choosing a spot are that it’s a place you feel comfortable and can access every morning.

Once you build up more mindfulness skills, you’ll be able to do all the techniques anywhere. I still use my office space for other meditations day and night. I love having the same spot every day, especially with a window; it helps me witness the seasons changing and how all the sights, sounds, and feelings change alongside them. 

Track your practice

Meditation often leads to insights. There are whole meditation systems created to help you have insights, like Vipassana. 

Insights are when something that happens during practice leads you to know or experience something you hadn’t before.

  • Keep a practice journal similar to a running journal.
  • You can track how long you meditated in the morning, which technique you used, and where you did the practice.
  • Note any insights. 

Insights can be very useful in helping you to understand yourself, even if they are not that comfortable to learn. When I started doing UM and the SEE OUT technique, I noticed that I couldn’t just see an object as an object. I would add a story about where it came from, how much it cost, or how I should get rid of it. I didn’t know I added stories to things like that. In my meditation journal, I asked, “Where else am I adding stories?” This changed how I experienced things at work. I started to note where I was reacting to the story in my head instead of the information. This insight changed how I met work obstacles. 

I host a weekly call in the True Awesome Club where people share their practice insights and get guidance on how to use them to relieve stress, feel better, or show up amplified in their work.  

Put it all together

You can have a successful meditation practice in the morning before work once you: 

  1. Know how long you will meditate 
  2. Know your goals
  3. Decide on a technique 
  4. Have a practice location
  5. Choose a way to track your practice and insights

Have fun. 

Test things out.

And if you want company and guidance, join the MORNING AWESOMENESS CLUB for live meditations every Tuesday – Thursday morning, plus deep dives into mindfulness and story techniques that support career contentment.

If you have questions about setting up a morning meditation practice that I haven’t covered — please ask in the comments or send me a message.