The way you begin your day can play a huge role in how it ends. An effective morning routine allows you to start your morning with peace, confidence, and determination to handle anything and everything the day may bring.
Read on to find out how a few simple tweaks to your morning routine can set you up for improved productivity throughout the day.
Wake Up Early
If you review the habits of highly successful entrepreneurs and businessmen, you’ll notice they all have one thing in common: they’re “morning people.” They start their days earlier than most while many people wake up late and spend the rest of the day stressed and anxious as they try to catch up. In fact, studies show that early risers earn better grades, excel at planning, and are more proactive.
The good news is you can try to adopt this positive habit by training yourself to gradually wake up early. If you usually wake up at 8 a.m., start setting your alarm for 7.30 a.m. during the next week. Once you grow comfortable with a 7.30 a.m. start, move your wake-up time to 7 a.m. Continue to set your alarm earlier each week until you reach your desired wake-up time. Waking up at 4 a.m. might not suit everyone, so listen to your body clock to know what works for you. Going to sleep earlier the previous day also can help you wake up on time.
Do you reach for your phone every morning before you get out of bed? This habit can put you in a reactive mode and set you up to experience stress and anxiety even before the day begins. Start your day in a tech-free mode by stopping yourself from checking emails or social media sites for at least the first 15 minutes after you wake up. Instead of making other people’s needs your priority, save your precious morning time to do something you enjoy. For example, you might write in a journal, read the newspaper, or simply spend quality time with your family. If you find it too difficult to resist your inbox, turn off your phone notifications at night.
Get your body warmed up and ready for the long day ahead by engaging in some morning exercise. Remember to stretch your muscles to improve their flexibility and performance. An early morning workout not only benefits your health, but also sets a positive tone for the rest of the day by reducing stress and increasing energy levels.
Because people often skip self-care and physical activity when work calls, ]exercising in the morning also enables you to make time for it before work or other demands start to cut in.
Hydration is very important — especially in the morning as you wake up from an eight-hour fast — so start your day with a glass of water. You can even squeeze half a lemon into your water to help kick-start your metabolism and boost your energy. But, if you drink lemon water, remember to wait an hour before brushing your teeth as the acidity in lemons can soften tooth enamel.
Research shows meditation can deliver residual benefits, such as improving people’s emotional stability and response to stress. Even just 10 minutes of quiet meditation or prayer at the start of each day can help you center yourself and achieve the mental clarity necessary for a productive day at work.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t skip it. A nourishing, balanced breakfast helps improve memory and physical well-being throughout the day in both children and adults.
Streamline Your Routine
Identify which tasks take most of your time in the morning and then decide if they deliver the results you want. Simple steps, such as programming your coffee machine timer and setting out your clothes the previous night, can help you save valuable time in the morning. With a streamlined morning routine, you can start the day in a calm, relaxed manner.
Review Your Daily Goals
Setting clear, concrete goals for the day — along with a plan to achieve them — will help you start your day with more confidence and less uncertainty.
In addition, make the toughest or most meaningful task on your to-do list the first item on your schedule. This approach means you work on priority tasks early in the morning when your focus and energy levels remain high and then save easier tasks for later in the day when fatigue starts to set in. If the task is too big, break it down into small, achievable goals. As Mark Twain famously said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
You didn’t create your current morning routine overnight — it took years of practice. Similarly, any changes you make to it won’t find overnight success. Experiment and adapt until you find a morning routine that works well for you. Remember, if you want your morning routine to succeed, you have to make it a habit that works equally well on weekends. While the same morning routine won’t suit everyone, you can find inspiration in the morning routines of some of the world’s most successful people.