In our last #betterdayproject we discussed our five reasons for waking up early. Now hopefully you’ve taken our challenge and established the habit of waking up 15 minutes earlier each day and have seen your productivity soar. (If you haven’t, I suggest you take 10 minutes to read the post and implement tomorrow!)
Now that we’ve established the simple habit of waking up early, let's start putting some structure around your morning to ensure you start the day off right. After all, your morning will dictate the direction and success of the day.
If you are around me enough you’ll hear me talk about how structure can create freedom. It may sound a little odd, but having a simple set of guidelines can help you achieve freedom in your day, your nutrition, your fitness and your overall mental health. Our goal with this post is to create structure around your morning and help you create a foundation for a better day.
Morning routines are nothing new. Successful individuals have taken advantage of the morning due to limited distractions, fewer temptations and increased willpower, energy and focus. While most of these routines differ slightly, just having a consistent morning routine is more important that what is in it. That being said, here are a few things that you want to stay away from to maximize your productivity in your morning routine.
Checking your phone immediately (email or social media) - You need to earn your social media and email time. Starting your day off with these can completely eliminate productivity AND generate negativity.
Leaving your bed unmade - Nothing feels better than getting something done. Why not start off every morning by completing the simple task of making your bed? This task has been shown to help boost positivity and productivity for your day.
Hitting the snooze button - Just don’t do it. Not only are you missing out on your magical productivity time, but the sleep after isn’t even that good. In fact, most people wake up even more tired than if they would have been if they would have gotten up on the initial alarm.
Fail to prioritize - This is for all you classic over-doers. The ones that are trying to cram so much into the routine that they end up getting nothing done. Remember, if you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.
Wasting time on unimportant decisions - Don’t let decision fatigue get to you! Why should you waste your willpower on simple decisions like what you’re going to wear today or what to make for breakfast? Decide these the night before to clear your morning for the important decisions. (We’ll work more on this in our next post when we discuss how to use your evenings to prepare for tomorrow.)
Now that we know what NOT to do, let’s focus on some tasks that most productive morning routines have in common (and some of our favorites).
Write down your Top 3 - We recommend starting each day by writing down your three most important tasks for the day. These are the tasks that if completed, would give you a sense of accomplishment for the day. Try to keep this is only three and don’t “overdo” it.
“Eat the Frog” - Brian Tracy’s morning philosophy is all about tackling your most important task or work first. By completing your biggest task first, you gain a huge boost of accomplishment right at the start of your day.
You time - Spend time every day on something that helps you set your mind on what you want to focus on for the day, and set your heart and mind in the right attitude for the day. This could be yoga, going for a walk, meditation or if you’re like me, reading.
Eat breakfast - Starting your day with a healthy, balanced meal of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats will deliver sustained energy during your morning routtine.
Start with gratitude - Every morning write (or think) about one thing that you are grateful for. This small task can help you become more open to optimism and inspiration, improving your outlook in life.
Break a sweat - There is no doubt that I believe in getting your workout in early. It can help jump start your day and you are more likely to stay consistent without the plethora of excuses that pop up as your day progresses.
It’s time for you to own your morning. Experiment with some of the above routines to find the right combination for your schedule and goals. Remember, the morning routine will help set the pace for the rest of your day. Win the morning. Win the day.