Turn your Day into a Positive One with These Early Morning Routines: In times like these, productivity and efficiency have become a major concern for many, especially given how things have changed in so many ways lately. Today, we live in an era of the “new normal”, increasing the need for timely strategies to increase productivity and effectiveness in our lives, businesses and relationships.
It’s a well-known saying that rest should come first, and I agree. If this is the case, it means that the course of your morning will largely depend on how meticulously your plans for the rest of the day are laid out. If there’s one thing that highly successful people have in common, it’s a positive morning routine. Some of these customs are familiar because they are common. I have summarized some of them.
Here are 7 simple but effective habits to help you have a productive and effective day.
1. Waking Up Early.
This may sound redundant, but yes – waking up early has always been (and will always be) a great habit to increase your performance. It’s very tempting to hit snooze when the alarm rings in the morning but that only delays the inevitable, you getting up and it robs you of the advantage of a headstart to your day. Those times you resisted the temptation didn’t you feel good and lively knowing you’ve spent good time doing something vital for yourself before everyone else in the world wakes up. Early mornings are simply the best times to focus on activities that increase productivity because of the quite around you. Also, Imagine not having to always hurry off to work and dealing less with distractions outside and within you that comes with being unsettled and being in a rush because you chose to be an early riser.
To get used to waking up early, establish the routine of going to bed early at night each day so you get quality sleep. Having an alarm set for the morning will greatly help in waking up early. If you have formed the habit of sleeping through your alarm ringing then, when you set your alarm make sure it’s at the highest most annoying volume and set it down far away from your bed. This is so that you can’t just turn over or stretch to snooze it or put if off. It takes a lot of self-discipline and willpower to be an early riser. You’ll feel grumpy at first, but it’ll get easier over time.
2. Eating A Healthy Breakfast.
Most people make the mistake of skipping a healthy breakfast. Your first meal in the morning sets the tone for the day. When you sleep at night your body doesn’t not stop working. The systems and organs of the body keep working through the night and these working require energy. This is why breakfast before dashing out for the day is important. You body needs to be replenished with nutrients to keep you functional cognitively and physically. Some people say they function better without breakfast but most people cannot. If you notice hat whenever you skip breakfast, you feel hunger pangs at work, headache, and easily lose focus skipping breakfast will inhibit your capacity to be productive and effective during the course of your day.
Not missing out on breakfast isn’t the only thing that matters, what you eat is also very important. Make sure that you fill yourself up with high-protein and high-fiber foods to keep you full for longer at work and improve your focus at the same time.
3. Creating A To-Do List
Taking time to sit down and make a list of your activities for the day allows you to have a greater sense of direction, orderliness and accountability. The simple act of writing your goals for the day down helps you to be conscious of them and to also set up strategies to accomplishing them. Its also helps you to know beforehand hand the tasks you can or should handle yourself and those that you should delegate or outsource to others.
With that, you should identify responsibilities you could delegate to someone. If you own a business, you can outsource projects that are repetitive and take up too much of your time. It’s important that you focus more on tasks that have a greater impact on your organization. Keep your to-do list as simple and as specific as possible.
There are articles all over the internet that discuss the tremendous effects of daily meditation on a person’s productivity and success. Meditation is simply the act of focusing on a specific subject matter for a period of time. Meditate to gain clarity, meditate to attain inner peace. Anyone can meditate. At first it would seem like the more you try to attain quietness in your mind, the more thoughts barrage your mind. It’s normal. With time you’ll be able to effectively tune every other thing except what you want to think on out. For a start take about five minutes after waking up to sit down comfortably on your bed or chair. Close your eyes as you focus your attention on positive, loving thoughts. You can even listen to guided meditation sessions which you can download online to help you get started.
Meditate on only positive concepts and thoughts. It could be personal or work related and you’ll be sure to get results. Meditation can actually boost your performance in life and help you accomplish more by tuning out all kinds of distractions of your daily life – personal or work-related
The importance of exercise to kickstart your day cannot be over emphasized. Beyond using exercise as a vehicle for loosing weight, exercise also pushes the organs of the body into functioning optimally. If most of your day is characterized by sitting behind a table and doing little physical activities then exersing in the morning should not be skipped. A morning exercise enhances your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re sitting at your office desk for hours. If you have a goal to loose weight be rest assures that regular exercise will have a huge role to play in crushing that goal.
If you’re just starting, exercise in the morning can prove to be difficult but it will be worth your while eventually. You don’t have to engage in a full blown workout session. A fifteen to thirty minutes jog or a ten minutes exercise right beside your bed should be enough to get your blood pumping and ready for the day.
6. Tiding Up Your Desk.
If you work from home, you might neglect keeping your work space clutter-free. After all, there’s no boss to check up on you and you’re at home and can do it much later right? A clean desk isn’t just for showing off, it’s for you to experience the psychological benefits of a chaos-free space which again, impacts your day’s performance. Admit it, there’s nothing more irritating than the sight of stray adhesive notes, crumpled pieces of paper, and unfiled folders. A chaotic work desk can make it difficult for you to locate important items that you need and it will cost you time which cannot be regained trying to find it.
Before you start your day’s work, make it a habit to de-clutter your area. Have a bin nearby so that you can instantly get rid of trash while you work. Instead of keeping paper, why not store digital files? If possible, use drawers to help you organize your supplies. Lastly, label your folders or items for easy access.
7. Connecting With Your Loved Ones.
Last but not the least, if you can, don’t miss spending time (even a few minutes) conversing with the people who are dear to you. They could be your kids, spouse, relatives or best buddis. Connecting with special people in your life gives you happy feelings. Instead of preoccupying yourself with work-related emails first thing in the morning when you wake up, send a morning greeting to a loved one, have breakfast with your family and talk about the beautiful things that could transpire during the day.
The positive energy you’ll create by being and communicating with special people makes you more capable of tackling the day’s challenges and working harder. This boost in productivity brings you closer to success.
Practice these 7 steps and be sure to see a boost in your productivity. If you’re already doing any of them you can consolidate and d more.
Your alarm clock goes off and it’s time to mindlessly shower, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, then head to work. Is that really all there is? In this article, we wake you up to 11 healthy morning habits to incorporate into your routine for increased productivity and creativity.
In order to prime yourself to think creatively in the day ahead, your morning shouldn’t be a thoughtless drag.
The author Annie Dillard once wrote that “how we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives,” but she might have been being too general. Recent studies show that it’s not how we spend our days that’s most important to our lifelong happiness and creativity but how we spend our mornings.
Our mornings set us up either to be primed for creative insights or to be numbed and mindless, merely trudging through our day. Some of us identify as “morning people” while others are anything but; yet, either way, it matters less what time we wake up at but what we do with that time. Creative people live life differently in a variety of ways, but perhaps none more important than what they do with their morning hours.
So check out a few of the scientifically proven habits that the most creative individuals use each morning and see if it’s not just your mornings that are transformed but your lifelong creativity as well.
01. Make time to be mindful
Making time for mindfulness in the morning is one of the most important habits a person can form for her creative progression. Recent studies show that taking the time to meditate makes people more creative and increases mental clarity.
Specifically, “open-monitoring meditation”—a meditation of clearing your mind, thinking not of a single concept, person, or object, but instead being open to anything that flits through your head—is particularly conducive to creativity.
People in the study who engaged in open-monitoring meditation were significantly better at generating new, creative ideas than those who either did not meditate or meditated differently.
02. Stay disconnected
People only have so much time to focus and stay creative so wasting that time on relatively thoughtless pursuits in the morning is poor management of both your time and your creative juices. Avoid tasks like checking emails or writing out lists or memos as the first thing you do and instead focus that precious time and attention towards more rigorous, creatively trying tasks that require the very best from you.
If, however, emails or similar morning tasks are hyper time-sensitive, it’s probably worth it to get up a touch earlier so you can focus first on creative tasks then get to emails and such later. We’re all granted small windows of time at which we’re most creative—it’s a shame to waste them.
03. Keep drinking coffee
Great news: Caffeine makes us more alert, yes, but perhaps more importantly, it also increases our brain’s production of dopamine, which gives us a feeling of reward and motivation when we start having good ideas. Making it a habit to grab a morning latte in the morning adds structure to your morning and helps create the aforementioned windows of creativity.
04. Be intentional about your choices for the day
Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, said that every day when he woke up he would go to the mirror and ask himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer were “no” for too long then he knew he’d have to make a big change in his life. Intentionality can be as existentially deep as Jobs’ self-questioning, but it can also be as simple as writing down what you want to get done for the day. If you’re proud of the list, and you’re satisfied with where your life is going then you can rest assured that you’re living with intention.
If, however, your daily tasks boil down to things that you find dull or pointless then perhaps it’s time to reconsider why you’re doing them in the first place. Because if you don’t live intentionally, it becomes far too easy to move through life without ever having lived on your own terms. As Dillard said, our days comprise our lives. Intentionality means taking stock of our lives and making changes if we’re dissatisfied. Creativity can only flourish if we’re in touch with ourselves and our aspirations.
05. Don’t be in a rush to get up
The key to creative insights is not solely in the number of hours you sleep but in how you wake up. A large proportion of creative insights come when we’re groggy and still somewhat sleepy because sleepy people have a “more diffuse attentional focus,” which leads them to “widen their search through their knowledge network”. “This widening,” the researchers wrote, “leads to an increase in creative problem-solving.”
This may mean you need to go to bed a touch earlier or just set your alarm thirty minutes earlier than usual. And while it might be a bit of a jarring change, it will be well worth it for the creative insights that are gained. Nonetheless, be sure to get enough sleep (which can be in the form of naps) since naps and proper sleep not only improve alertness but they’re also correlated with increased activity in the right brain, which is closely associated with creativity.
Exercise stimulates creativity not only because it fires off endorphins and gets the blood flowing to our brains but also because it helps break up the monotony of sitting and working, leading to more creative insights. American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour plays an hour-long tennis match most mornings in New York at 5:45 am sharp. Russian composer Tchaikovsky, “believed he had to take a walk of exactly two hours a day and that if he returned even a few minutes early, great misfortunes would befall him,” according to The Guardian. And while both of these instances seem perhaps obsessive, creating a habit around morning exercise and movement is a sure-fire way to avoid getting stuck in a creative rut.
07. Reduce your morning choices
Don’t waste your precious morning creative energy choosing between, say, a wide array of clothes or different types of coffee. Reducing variation in your morning routine may seem dull or uncreative, but it’s a matter of conserving your cognitive stimulation for activities in the day ahead that actually deserve (like brainstorming, writing, or problem-solving). Barack Obama, for instance, wears only grey or blue suits because, as he said, “I have too many other decisions to make.”
So too with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who puts on the same grey t-shirt each morning. “I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life,” he told The Financial Times. Simplify your life so that you can spend your time thinking not about the color of your shirt but about your next great creative idea.
08. Find time for gratitude
Being thankful for the life that you’ve worked hard to achieve can help you to reconnect with your purpose and the things and people in your life that motivate you. Creativity does not always come easily so getting back to your roots of inspiration and the people who have helped you along the way will assure that you’ll keep working hard even when the going gets, inevitably, tough.
Try spending a part of your morning commute thinking of two or three things or people for whom you are thankful. Not only will it help inspire you to keep working hard, but it will also make you happier, more optimistic, and will reveal what matters most to you in life so that you can spend more time doing the creative things you love rather than the mindless things you merely put up with.
09. Stop telling yourself you don’t want to go to work
You don’t have to drop everything and give 100% of your focus to your creative pursuits to improve your creativity. Not only is there nothing wrong with having a day job and coming home in the evening to follow your creative passions, in fact, the structure provided my a nine-to-five job can make you work more efficiently and creatively than if you had tried spending your whole day being creative.
Parkinson’s law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
This means that the less time you have to be creative the more creative you’ll actually tend to be.
Plus, working a day job and being creative go hand-in-hand more often than many people think. T.S. Eliot was a banker. William Carlos Williams was a pediatrician. Joseph Heller was an ad executive.
William Faulkner worked in a power plant. “I think what these people get from these jobs is structure and self-discipline and also focus,” wrote Oliver Burkeman, an author on creativity. Creative inspiration comes when we’re doing a diverse array of things so, in that way, going to work and diving into projects is much more conducive to creativity than sitting on the couch twiddling your thumbs, hoping against hope for a creative insight to magically reveal itself to you.
10. Create a routine and stick to it
No matter where in the world you find yourself, try to keep the same morning routine. Author Haruki Murakami extolled the virtues of morning consistency, writing, “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.” But, as anyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution knows, it’s relatively easy to create a routine or a goal for oneself, but then sticking to it is a different story.
There are always excuses to break habits like proper sleep, morning exercise, or staying disconnected in the morning, especially when we’re on holiday or on a business trip, but breaking habits “just once” is a slippery slope that can erode the creative habits we’ve worked hard to form.
11. Plan your morning the night before
Making to-do lists and designing your morning routine before your alarm clock goes off can go a long way in getting you up and out of bed and into your routine without wasted time. It also cuts down on the amount of analytical thinking we need to do in the morning, which frees us up to think more abstractly and creatively. By spending a block of time figuring out a routine for the next week or two, we can simply get up and execute rather than spending our mornings dallying, trying to figure out what we want to eat or who we need to call or coordinate with in the day ahead.