“The early bird gets the worm”
While we’ve heard that many successful people wake up early- some studies have found that morning people are more proactive than night owls- the more important thing is that those people keep a routine. We can’t always control the things that happen to us, but keeping a routine can help us form habits that benefit us in the long run.
It’s important to find what works best for your personal routine. Here are some of our tips to be more productive in the morning.
1. Prep your day the night before.
No one likes to be rushing around in the morning. Adequately preparing for your day the night before can help minimize that stress.
Anything you do to prepare for tomorrow eliminates having to make unnecessary decisions again every day, and save you a lot of time in the long run. For example, laying out your clothes the night before saves you time from having to pick and outfit in the morning.
Have your work stuff, keys, and important things in one place so you don’t have to hunt for any misplaced files or laptop in the morning. If you have a work station, organize everything you need to start off your work day strong.
2. Wake up (early) consistently
Read more: 4 things that impact your sleep quality
Not everyone is a morning person, but even if you can’t wake up early at the crack of dawn, you should try to wake up consistently. This helps your body establish a rhythm of getting up at the same time every day.
Waking up early is something many successful people cite as being a part of their morning routine. Morning chronotypes across a large sample tended to be more proactive, and their behaviors were linked with better job performance, career success, and higher wages.
A consistent work and morning schedule can greatly influence your productivity. It sets up a habit for you to pace your day, and give yourself enough time to do everything without feeling rushed.
Example: Apple CEO Tim Cook ways up as early as 3:45AM so that he can wake up before his East Coast colleagues. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi wakes up at 4AM, while Disney CEO Bob Iger gets up at 4:30AM to read.
3. Resist snoozing your alarm
This is a simple but important tip.
Snoozing your alarm doesn’t make you feel more rested- in fact, quite the opposite. When you snooze your alarm, you doze back off into sleep but you’re not getting deep, restorative sleep. When your alarm goes off again, it jolts you back out of fragmented sleep which makes you feel even groggier.
An easy way to avoid this is to change your alarm clock. Many alarms now have sleep trackers that slowly rouse you from sleep to avoid jolting you out of deep sleep, or use features that wake you more naturally all together.
4. Drink water
Even before you hit your morning coffee, it’s important to be hydrated to improve your energy levels and fuel brain and cell function.
People naturally dehydrate overnight when you’re asleep and not drinking water. Start your day hydrating to set a good foundation for your body.
Drinking enough water prevents dehydration which is linked to decreased mental performance and can compromise memory or completing difficult tasks.
Get at least 30 minutes of light exercise everyday, preferably early in the morning. Exercise can make you feel more alert, focused, and can motivate you to not fall back asleep.
Easy exercise like taking a walk can also get you outside which can also help improve your overall health. Getting early morning sun exposure can boost your vitamin D supply which is needed for your immune function, and can stimulate your wake-sleep cycle.
Did you know that exercise can promote better sleep, and vice versa? Exercise improves your sleep quality and was even found to improve mental health. Additionally, getting enough sleep was shown to be an important influence on the better performance for athletes such as basketball players.
Example: Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary gets up at 5:45 AM every morning to exercise.
6. Use mornings to prioritize your day
The mornings are quiet and can be the best time to focus on a high-priority task or project. Got an important meeting? A difficult assignment to review? When you’re awake and alert, use the opportunity to tackle challenging tasks that require the most energy.
Decisions fatigue describes the deteriorating quality of decisions a person makes, which can lead to making poor choices or giving into impulses. Over the course of the day, making many decisions can slowly exhaust a person’s ability to make effective decisions.
Example: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes sure to schedule his important meetings before noon so he can be alert and not compromise his decision making abilities due to being tired.
7. Journal or track your progress
Do you keep a to-do list? Knowing what you wanted to get done in a day can help you pace yourself for the rest of the week. Keeping a calendar or journal of what you did in a day can also help you see progress, which can be motivating.
Staying organized helps people stay on track, and keeps you conscious of your progress and how much you’re getting done in a day.
Give yourself several goals that you want to accomplish each day, and focus on those to avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do. Daily journaling can even help people who deal with anxiety.
8. Meditate or find quiet time
Mornings can give you the down time to take a moment and enjoy the peace and quiet. Meditation can be a great way to relax, breathe, and can improve your mental health space as well as reduce stress.
If you have less time to mediate, take the time to do something calm and enjoyable for yourself. Read the news while you drink your coffee, take a nice morning shower, or make yourself breakfast.
Example: Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post mediated every day to keep stress down.
9. Spend quality time with others
It’s important to have work-life balance. Making time to spend with your family or loved ones can be good to reduce stress, and give yourself a break before work.
Example: Jeff Bezos says that he spends time with his family in the morning, using his leisure time to have breakfast with them before he gets to work. Former President Barack Obama also makes a point to have breakfast with his family, showing how prioritizing quality time with your loved ones can be a good part of work-life balance.
10. Keep a routine
Routines are powerful motivators. They keep you organized, and they can also help you stay consistent in producing work and also supporting work-life balance. Routines can keep you from procrastinating too much and can help keep our stress-levels down.
Routines are established over time. Rather than try to change everything over night, we recommend adding one positive change to your routine at a time.
Example: Stephen King keeps his routine down to the minute; He sits down at his work place at the same time every day, arranged the same every day, in the same chair as a way to focus on working.
Make your own personal morning routine.
Everyone has a different agenda and needs, so it’s important to know what works for your lifestyle. Be aware of what works for you and what makes you feel good, and start slow and steady. Your routine can make a difference in starting your day with energy and optimism.
One of our secrets to a productive morning? We have a special alarm that makes waking up better and actually enjoyable. You can check it out here.