You’ve had days which got off to a fantastic start. You were focused, alert, energetic, and you stormed through a ton of work. By lunch time, you were feeling great: motivated to carry on and make great gains in the afternoon too.
I’m guessing, though, that you sometimes have days which don’t go quite so well. Maybe you think you’ve done everything right – you got up on time, you ate breakfast – but somehow, you end up spending your morning sorting out emails, struggling with little problems, and failing to focus on what really matters.
Here’s how to rock your mornings, every single day:
Get Up Ten Minutes Earlier
Some folks thrive on getting up really early and meditating, reading or working while the rest of the world is asleep. If that’s you, great, keep it up.
For most of us, though, getting up at 5am sounds like hell. The thing is, setting your alarm ten minutes earlier can make a surprisingly significant difference to your morning.
You won’t feel rushed. You’ll have time to sit and enjoy eating breakfast – rather than stuffing it down as fast as possible before work. You’ll start your day in a great frame of mind.
Do the Important Stuff First
Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before. But are you actually following it?
If you want to get your day off to a great start, you need to get your important tasks done first. For most of us, that isn’t email or Facebook. Important tasks look like:
- Preparing for an upcoming presentation
- Writing part of a big report
- Working on that essay due for class next week
- Spending some time planning the future direction of your company
- Client work which forms the bulk of your income
How about you don’t check your emails until 10am, and spend one solid hour working on something important – is the world really going to fall apart?
Get Things Off Your Mind
When you’re working on something mission-critical, it’s all too easy to get waylaid. Perhaps you’re busily writing up a report, only to suddenly remember that you need to collect your dry cleaning after work. Maybe you’re hunting through books for the right reference for your essay, only to suddenly remember an email you meant to reply to.
It’s easy for these thoughts to distract you completely. Either you switch to what seems urgent, or you carry on with the important task – but with half your mind on all those “mustn’t forget” items.
There’s an easy fix for this. Keep a notebook close at hand where you can write down anything that crops up. You can deal with it as soon as you’ve got through a chunk of your important work.
Take a Break
This might sound a bit counter-intuitive. After all, if your work is going swimmingly, why would you want to stop?
It’s easy to keep on and on working – and hit a wall. The best time for a break is before you feel absolutely drained. Take a break while you’ve got some energy left, and you’ll feel much more like getting back to work once it’s over.
It’s a good idea to take a break in the middle of a task, rather than at the end of one – that way, you’ll be able to get straight back into working, without having to figure out what you’re doing next.
When you are working, work. Use your breaks to read webcomics or watch viral videos. Stick to one task at a time – don’t have your inbox open while you’re putting together your presentation.
If you work in an unfocused, patchy way, jumping between tasks, you’ll generally find that you don’t work very efficiently or effectively. You might get your inbox clear, but make very little progress on your report. You might feel hectically “busy”, without really accomplishing anything.