It doesn’t take much to understand the importance of a good start to the day. If you’ve ever started the day on the wrong foot you already know it could have a massive impact on your productivity throughout the day. Most people drag themselves out of bed and spend their mornings in a groggy stupor. This brain fog prevents them from being productive and getting any meaningful work done in the first few hours of the day. When lunch arrives, they’ve managed to do less than expected and by late evening, they’re too tired to complete what little they started. This vicious cycle can chew into your productivity if you let it become a long-term habit.
Instead, the most successful people on the planet wake up surprisingly early and have a set routine that pumps them up for the rest of the day. A routine that’s specifically designed to wake you up and get you started on the right note is immensely valuable. It can help you breeze through your tasks and deliver better results than ever before. So, here are the nine essential things you must do to make your mornings productive:
This might seems like an odd way to start the list, but it’s the easiest to do the minute you get up. Smiling, even if you don’t feel like it, has a proven effect on your good hormone levels. Different things can make different people smile, so it’s important to find what works for you. Perhaps you could remind yourself of a certain good thing that happened the day before or make it a habit to smile at yourself in the mirror when you go looking for your toothbrush. Remember, you don’t have to be genuinely happy or amused every day. You simply have to fake a quick smile first thing in the morning to make yourself feel better.
There’s a considerable stack of evidence to support the positive effects of meditating. Not only can it help you calm down and focus better, but it can also help you visualize the day ahead and prepare for a productive few hours. Many top-level athletes visualize themselves completing their competition before they go out onto the field. The same applies to work. You can spend a few minutes focusing on your breath before you start pumping yourself up for the day. Seeing yourself working through multiple projects energetically is the best way to boost your energy and get more done.
- Intense exercise
Another simple way to boost your energy levels is to start the day with a short and intense exercise routine. Any quick exercise routine will help you boost blood circulation. The great thing with exercising in the morning is the flexibility you have to set your own routine. You can take a few minutes to stretch or spend half an hour jogging around the neighborhood. Any form of exercise is likely to have the same effect, but since you’ve started early in the morning you can get through a proper routine without having to worry about your other commitments. You have a clear window of free time to get moving before your work starts. Not only will an intense workout boost your energy, but it will also help you feel more focused and confident throughout the day. This can have a real impact on your productivity at work.
- Drink water
This trick doesn’t get mentioned a lot but it should. The body tends to get dehydrated while you sleep. A lack of water could be the reason you feel lethargic and groggy in the morning. A glass of water first thing in the morning will help your body replenish the lost moisture. Make sure, however, that you aren’t substituting water with anything else in the first hour after you wake up. Avoid that cup of coffee you crave till later in the morning. Over time your body will start getting used to a glass of water and you’ll crave it whenever you wake up.
- Cold shower
An early morning cold shower might sound horrible, but it’s a great way to shake yourself awake and make you focus on the day ahead. Warm showers usually help reduce your blood pressure and help you relax. That’s perfect if you’re about to go to bed, but not really ideal when you have to get started with work in the morning. A cold shower, on the other hand, will boost your immunity, pump your blood pressure higher, reduce stress and perhaps even make you burn fat faster. It’s a great way to start the day if you can get accustomed to it.
- Rich Breakfast
Never underestimate the power of a hearty breakfast. Packing your body with all the essential nutrients is absolutely crucial when you start your day. Try to start off with a power-packed protein filled breakfast.
- Feed the brain (news)
Almost every successful person you’ll meet will have one thing in common – a desire to learn. Most successful business leaders start their day by feeding not just their stomach but also their mind. It could be a simple morning routine of reading the newspaper or a few pages of that novel you’ve been enjoying. Even a simple crossword puzzle or a game of chess could help you start your day with a stimulated mind. Your ability to grasp new concepts and better techniques is also at its peak early in the morning, so this might be the best time to learn that new language or pick up a new skill.
- Plan your day
Starting your day by planning ahead could be a shortcut to productivity. It’s better to plan your day at the start rather than decide what you’re going to do the night before. Early in the morning, you’re in a better position to judge your ability and capacity for work. You can create a reasonable plan for the tasks ahead. This will help you judge the scope of every project you have pending.
- Eat a frog
Once you’re done planning you can hit the ground running. Eating the frog is from Mark Twain’s advice about starting the day with the most painful or difficult task. Once you’ve cleared an important hurdle in the morning, you can spend the rest of the day going through the easier task with more confidence.
Human beings are hopelessly habitual. The brain craves structure and repetition so it can exert less energy and get more done efficiently. The problem with most people is that they let bad habits creep into their mornings. There’s simply no way to be productive if you start the day wrong. Take the time to create a morning routine based on these nine essentials. A proper morning routine will make you a lot more productive and will have a major impact on your eventual success.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.