Mornings are the most important part of your day. It’s where everything begins or ends. We have all had rough mornings before, and we all know how this usually means spending the day saying, “today just isn’t my day.”
Taking control of your mornings is one of the best ways to improve your productivity. By installing some useful and effective habits into your morning routine, you are helping to make sure you start off every day right, increasing your chances of accomplishing everything you would like to.
It’s hard to know exactly what you should be changing, though. There’s a lot of information out there, and there’s no one morning routine that guarantees success. People are, after all, entirely unique. So, to get you started, we’ve come up with a list of five things often found in the morning routines of productive people. Think about how you could apply these to your life and consider doing so that you can get more out of each day.
Waking Up Early
This one can be a bit hard to swallow for some people, especially if you don’t consider yourself a morning person. But one of the most common practices for anyone we would consider “highly productive” is an early wake-up time.
There’s a few reasons for this, one of the most important being that getting up early simply gives you more time. How many of us wake up, jump in the shower, shove some food down our throats and then run out the door? We might feel that by getting an extra hour or two of sleep we are doing ourselves a favor, but we’re really not.
Getting up early gives you the chance to focus some time on things before the day gets in the way and sucks up all your energy. Say you want to exercise more, or you are building an online business on the side. If you leave these things until the afternoon, chances are you won’t have the energy to do them when it’s six or seven o’clock in the evening and you’re exhausted from the day.
But you still need to get the proper amount of sleep, so to make this work for you, you’ll probably need to start getting to bed earlier. This will take an adjustment, but over time you’ll be grateful you’ve made this change that allows you to get the most out of each day.
Eating a Quality Breakfast
We’ve all heard at one point or another that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” In fact, it’s repeated so often many of us respond to it by rolling our eyes.
But no matter how you react, this doesn’t take away from how true it is. Starting your day off with not only food, but quality food, that will help your body, is essential to being productive.
So, what exactly constitutes a healthy breakfast. Here are some suggestions:
- Fruits – Nature’s candy will give your body a nice boost of essential nutrients.
- Proteins – Yogurt and hard-boiled eggs are the healthiest sources out there. Try to stay away from heavy meats and fried eggs, as these will slow your body down throughout the day
- Whole Grains – Whole wheat bread, granola and oatmeal are all great options. Make sure you’re getting whole grains; they digest slower in your stomach and will have you feeling full for longer.
- Coffee – This isn’t a requirement, but high-quality freshly roasted coffee gives your body a jumpstart, provides you with a shot of nutrients and antioxidants, and helps your brain stay strong. If you don’t like coffee, consider drinking green tea, or even hot water with lemon.
Start taking breakfast seriously and you’ll quickly feel the effects in your day.
Taking Some ‘Me Time’
One of the best parts of the morning is the silence. Even if you live in a big city, if you wake up early enough you can enjoy what life feels like without the hustle and the hurry. Making use of this opportunity to have some “me time,” is a great way to get your day going in the right direction.
For example, life coach and entrepreneur Tony Robbins begins every day with breathing exercises, prayer and gratitude. This dedicated time for taking care of yourself helps center you and prepare you for the day. If you’re not willing to do this, then you need to wonder if you’re really prepared to make the changes necessary for increasing productivity.
Meditation is a great thing to do in the morning. One of the purposes of meditation is to train yourself to distinguish the conscious from the subconscious. It teaches you to detach from your thoughts and to not allow them to dominate your actions. This is important since a lot of our negativity comes from these thoughts, and by working to understand them, we are helping to weed this negative energy from our life. Over time, this will help you make better decisions and improve productivity.
It doesn’t need to be meditation but carving out even just 10 or 15 minutes to do something for yourself in the morning is a great way to get the most from your day.
Doing Some Exercise
For you to be your most productive, your health needs to be a top priority. It cannot be something you will tend to “if you have time.” So many of us leave exercise for the end of the day, but as we mentioned earlier, this just opens the door for life to get in the way and make you not want to bother.
Moving exercise to the morning will not only give you more time for it, but it signals that this is no longer something extra that you’ll do if you can, but rather a priority. Barrack Obama is famous for exercising first thing in the morning, no matter what. He wasn’t prepared to let the rigors of his job affect his health, and if you want to be at your best, neither should you!
This might be a challenge for some of us, especially those who don’t have a great relationship with the morning. So, start small to make things easier. Think about going for a walk around the neighborhood in the morning—you don’t need to start off running a marathon right after you get up. After a while, when you get used to this change and start seeing its benefits, consider adding more to your routine to help you grow.
Plotting Out Your Day
This one might seem simple, but that doesn’t make it any less important. And you’d be surprised at how few people actually do this.
One of the keys to being productive is focus. You need to make sure you’re spending your energy on what you need and want to get done. To do this, you need to minimize distractions. By sitting down every morning and plotting out what you’re going to do—and by making sure to put the most important things at the top of the list—you’re giving yourself an action plan for the day. This way, as you move through the day, you’ll have a physical reminder to help you avoid distractions and stay on track.
An added bonus to this is the boost in self-confidence that comes from knowing you’ve completed things on your list. This charges you with energy and has you prepared for the next day. So, in this sense, this morning ritual pays off more than once.
Taking advantage of your mornings is a great way to increase your productivity. But this won’t happen by itself. You need to take control. By adding some of these rituals to your morning routine, you’ll be giving yourself a much better start to the day and a big boost in productivity.