Mornings are the most valuable time of the day, but for many people they are also among the most difficult to manage. Are you tired of stumbling through your morning, feeling as though you’re failing to accomplish your goals? With these five effective morning routines, you can join many other highly productive people and discover how to simply get more done.
1. Become a Morning Person
Some of the most successful, productive people in the world roll out of bed well before 6 am. Bob Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington State, for example, wakes up at 5 am every day to cook breakfast for his family. Caroline Burckle, a US Olympic bronze medalist in swimming, rolls out of bed at 5:30 for her morning workout. Waking up early in the morning can cause a substantial boost in productivity because there are fewer distractions, fewer people demanding your attention, and more time stretching before you to get things done. In many cases, simply waking a little earlier can leave you feeling much better prepared to face the day; becoming a morning person means you can take advantage of this every day.
Learning how to become a morning person, however, often seems incredibly daunting. Try some of these strategies:
- Start by waking fifteen minutes earlier each day for a week, then gradually work your way backwards. By changing your routine slowly, you’re less likely to cause a massive shock to your system that sends you straight back to your old habits.
- Go to bed earlier, too. Plenty of sleep is crucial to actually taking advantage of those morning hours and reaching your productivity goals, but many people fail to get in bed on time at night. As a result, you may find yourself struggling all day to reach your goals.
- Use lighting to trick your brain. Natural light is critical to helping your mind wake up. If it’s still dark outside, try turning on bright lights inside to help you feel more awake and ready to face the day.
2. Stimulate Your Mind
Getting up early is great for productivity, but not if you’re still stumbling around in a fog. Mind stimulation is critical first thing in the morning. Successful morning routines don’t start with smacking the snooze button; rather, they start by getting yourself up, moving, and ready to face the day–both physically and mentally.
Keys to a Successful Morning Routine
Want to get your day off to a successful start? Try some of these key strategies.
Figure out what type of exercise works for you. Find a morning exercise routine you love and stick to it. A quick yoga sequence or a fast run around the block can wake both mind and body and get you ready to move.
Drink a glass of water. This starts your day off hydrated and sets your body up for a great start. It’s also an important reminder that you’re awake and moving!
Journal. An exercise in meditation and mindfulness is a great start to a healthy morning routine. If you’re religious, this is a great time to get in prayer or religious study.
Turn on some music. Music helps stimulate your brain and set your mood for the day which, in turn, can make you much more productive.
Things Not To Do First Thing in the Morning
While there are many great things you should do early in the morning, there are also a number of things that are certainly not mind-stimulating and might set your productivity back several notches. Try to avoid:
Hitting the snooze button. You can sabotage your productivity in one fell smack by rolling over and going back to sleep–and frankly, you won’t feel that much more rested, either.
Checking your email. Sure, it’s tempting to start your morning by discovering exactly what happened while you were sleeping; but ultimately it will bog down your productivity and make it hard for you to get started-and could completely derail your plans for the day. Instead, wait to check your email until you’ve had a chance to wake up and take care of some of the basic tasks already on your list.
Staying in bed. Even if you aren’t disturbing a spouse or partner, working from bed can disrupt your mind’s ability to handle the day in front of you, leaving you wanting to roll over and go back to sleep instead of getting things done. Worse, you may disrupt your sleep later by taking care of work tasks in bed.
3. Improve Focus by Planning Ahead
When you plan your day ahead of time, you have a much better idea of what you need to accomplish at every point in the day—including early in the morning, when you may feel as though you’re staggering through a fog and struggling to keep up. A little pre-planning can put you in a better position to avoid that fog and know exactly what you need to do next.
It’s also important to learn how to plan ahead successfully. You don’t need a generic to-do list that includes everything on your morning routine and leaves you overwhelmed first thing in the morning. Instead, try this before going to bed at night:
Make a list of everything you need to accomplish the next day. Take a hard look at exactly what you need to accomplish – even including the little things, if needed.
Break large tasks down into manageable pieces. Are you feeling overwhelmed and out-of-sorts as you look at your to-do list? Try breaking your list down into smaller parts so you can tackle one small task at a time, as your schedule allows.
Prioritize. Take a look at what you really need to take care of for the day. Make a top-three list and remember that those are the things you most need to accomplish for the day. If those things are done, then the rest of the day is a success–even if you don’t manage to get to every item on your list.
4. Schedule Your Productivity
As you prepare your plans for the day, do you know how to really set yourself up for success? It’s not just about making a to-do list. It’s also about knowing how to schedule your day for success. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs deliberately set up their days to allow for maximum productivity–and you can steal their secrets to help you reach your goals.
Take care of the most difficult tasks first. Schedule them for early in the morning, when the day is fresh and you know you’re more likely to dive in and be highly productive. Mark Twain is noted for saying. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If you have a huge task on your plate that you absolutely must complete, make sure that it’s the first thing on your priority list for the day. Take care of it early. Not only does this ensure that the task is taken care of, but it puts you in the best possible frame of mind to complete the rest of your tasks for the day.
Leave time for leisure and rest. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Founder of Twitter, often worked sixteen-hour days as he was building the two companies. On the weekends, however, his time was his own–and he knew it. By leaving time for leisure in his schedule, he was better prepared to dig in, focus, and be productive during the long and busy days associated with building his businesses. You may also discover that you need to leave time to reflect and make changes in your daily schedule–extra time that will allow you to more effectively manage the demands on your time and energy. Don’t over-schedule yourself, especially on a daily basis. This will quickly lead to burnout.
Schedule adequate time for important tasks. There’s a big difference between scheduling adequate time and constantly feeling as though you’re in a rush, with a desperate need to accomplish more than you really have time to accomplish. Many highly successful people have already discovered that the best way to schedule your day is by learning how long it really takes you to complete a task. Sure, you can knock that meeting out in fifteen minutes, but are you going to cover everything you need to cover, or are you going to be left feeling rushed, your true task unfulfilled?
Know exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Some entrepreneurs choose to schedule their day down to the minute. They know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and when they are supposed to be doing it. Others, however, find that they are more productive when they have an outline for their schedule and a list that lets them know what to fit in and when to fit it in. Choose a method that works for you and stick with it long-term to see that increase in productivity.
5. Get Organized
If you want to truly be more productive, both in the morning and throughout the rest of the day, it’s critical that you learn how to get organized. You can’t accomplish all of your goals, if you’re constantly scrambling to remember what you’re supposed to do next, find that important piece of paperwork, or check on data that should have been at your fingertips. Simply getting organized can substantially increase your overall productivity. Try some of these tips:
Use Z-Stream. Z-Stream is the perfect tool for improving organization and boosting productivity. It will allow you to:
- Prioritize important tasks
- Keep sight of high-priority tasks before they become emergencies
- Focus on what matters throughout the day
- Keep all of your information at your fingertips, where you can access it as needed
- Supply reports and access from one easy location so that you can keep all of your suppliers, employees, and clients informed about your progress
- Control access so that members of the team see only the information you intend for them to see
If you’re hoping to get your day off to a highly productive start, Z-Stream is one of the most effective tools for helping you reach your overall goals.
Remove information you don’t need from your workspace. Clean off your desk. Get rid of paperwork that’s outdated and unnecessary. By organizing your physical space, you’ll find that you have more room both on your desk and in your mind.
Put everything in the same place every time. Get used to organizing, and stick with it. Give everything a “home” and ensure that it makes it back there at the end of every day.
Take time to tidy up at the end of the day. Don’t start your day with a mess on your desk or in your head! Instead, take the time to set yourself up for success ahead of time by organizing that area.
Are you ready to start enjoying more productive mornings? With these five habits backed by other successful entrepreneurs, you can change your morning schedule and learn how to take on the world more effectively.
Learning how to take advantage of the morning is one of the most critical habits for highly effective people. Learning to become a morning person is the first step in creating a more effective morning routine. Many entrepreneurs learn a variety of important habits, including scheduling their mornings ahead of time, planning their days, and learning to organize their spaces so that they can easily access vital information. With Z-Stream, many entrepreneurs, managers, and other highly productive individuals have discovered they can reach their goals much more effectively.
Z-stream is available for a free 30-day trial. Activate it now and multiply your productivity.