Want to know the one thing that's guaranteed to get my day off to the best start?
My morning routine.
There's no denying it. Maximising your morning can supercharge your productivity and help you accomplish more throughout your day. Michelle Obama gets up mega early, Oprah meditates and Richard Branson eats a very healthy breakfast. Their success is not created by luck, but by working hard to get to where they want to be. And their morning routine helps them achieve that.
I love mornings. I never hit snooze and I love getting up early to start the day. So because I'm such a fan, I wanted to share some tips that you can try, to help you add precious hours to your work and reclaim your mornings.
If I asked you what makes you stressed in a morning, I bet I'd be able to guess your answer - rushing. You're running round making sure you've got everything and you feel all flustered when you start to work.
The trick to solve this problem is to prepare as much in advance as possible. Here's what I do each night to prepare for the next day:
- Check the weather and pick my outfit (including shoes and a jacket)
- Make sure my bag is packed
- Make my lunch and get my snacks together
- Prepare my breakfast
- Make sure the next day's dinner is out of the freezer
- Sort the washing and time a wash to be ready just before I leave for work
This means that in a morning, I can concentrate on looking after myself and getting ready for the day. It saves SO much time.
But you can also prepare with what you do when you go to bed.
What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep? Check Twitter? Watch snaps? You're on your phone. That is a recipe that sets you up for a bad day. Instead, you want to create a calming ritual. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Reading a chapter of your book or writing in your journal are both great ways to relax before you go to sleep.
SET YOUR ALARM EARLIER THAN YOU NEED TO
Now I'm not saying if you get up at half 6 you should get up at half 5. Some people say set your alarm an hour earlier but I'd say that's quite a crazy way of trying to maximise your mornings! I do it for ten minutes.
So I used to get up at 6:40 and found that it was enough time before I had to leave the house, but I always found myself not having time to maybe upload an Instagram photo or schedule a few tweets. But now I set my alarm for 6:30, it makes me feel as if I've got an extra half an hour. Honestly, I don't know where the extra time comes from, but that ten minutes make a huge difference.
DON'T HIT SNOOZE
This is a bad habit to get into. My brother is a bad example of this - and he won't mind me saying it! He can set his alarm for 8 and snooze until 10, whereas as soon as my alarm goes, I stretch and I'm up.
Research has even found that if you press snooze and nod off, you can restart your sleep cycle again. Which means the next time you wake up you'll feel groggy, and it could take you hours before you start to function properly.
SET A ROUTINE
I'm planning to write a post about my morning routine, because honestly, it's one of the things I love most about my day. Starting each day the same will cue your brain to move onto the next goal it wants to achieve.
For me, I wash my face, make my bed and do my makeup. For you it might be breakfast and then get ready. But whatever it is, doing it at the same point everyday will get your mind and body ready for the day.
Here are some other things to think about including in your morning routine:
- Movement. And I don't just mean walking round your house to get the steps in. I mean actual movement. For me, I don't enjoy working out in a morning, so I'll just do some short stretches to wake up my body. It makes me feel ready to tackle anything.
- Don't go on your emails until you start working. Can you imagine if you woke up in a good mood and then saw an email that you didn't want to see? It'd change your outlook for the whole day. It can really steer your morning off course, so try to avoid it.
- Get focused. Ask yourself questions. What are you grateful for today? What do you want to happen today? How can you add value to your day?
- Spend time with your family. I take my breakfast to work, but I always make sure I sit down with Tom and have a tea during breakfast time.
START WITH SOMETHING IMPORTANT
Don't start with your emails, or an online chat. Start off your working day with something that's really important to you. You can eat the frog afterwards, but starting your work day with something to look forward to will make it a lot easier for you to tackle your inbox and accomplish those less interesting tasks.
Research has also shown that working on 'passion projects' keeps you engaged and relaxed throughout the day, and will also help you perform better at work.
MANAGE YOUR ENERGY
We all perform better at certain times of the day. I'd happily get most of my writing done in the morning so I can focus on reading, web maintenance and emails in the afternoon. For you it might be different. But whenever you're most productive and whenever you have the most energy, you need to make sure you utilise that time.
Block off tasks for when you know they fit into your productivity levels. Use your creative energy to your advantage.
A Final Note
Great mornings don't just happen. They're planned. They're intentional. They don't end. They keep you inspired, wired and a lot more happier and satisfied. I really encourage you to use some of the points in this post so you can maximise your mornings.
What do you love about mornings? Do you want to take them back?