I think we can all unanimously agree that mornings are the worst, and often the least productive times of the day.
And because your morning is so lackluster and dreary, your entire day is ruined, and then the entire week, the weekend, and so forth.
Your bad mornings are made all the worse by walking into work to find a bunch of your colleagues all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on their day’s tasks.
What is their secret? Why are they so energetic in the mornings when you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus? Twice.
I’m here to tell you that your mornings can be better, more energetic, and more productive.
You just need to know how to start your day off on a positive and motivational note, and I have eight tips to help you do just that.
By the end of this article, you will know how to reclaim your mornings so you wake looking like this:
Instead of this:
Here are eight ways you can start off your morning on a productive note…
1. Plan Out Your Day in Advance
If there is one thing that ruins a morning, it is trying to figure out what you need to accomplish that day.
When your mind is groggy and you just want five more minutes’ sleep, you can’t properly process what needs to be done.
What ends up happening as a result? You forget important tasks during the day, all because you didn’t plan properly.
Don’t put yourself in that position. The day before, decide what needs to be accomplished the next day—whether it’s paying bills or calling people.
The night before, pick out your clothes and shoes, and set the table for your breakfast.
Create a mind map for all your tasks and you will save yourself the hassle of worrying about what you need to do that day.
By doing these routine tasks, you won’t have yet another thing to do in the morning, so your mind can work on waking up and being productive.
2. Don’t Hit Snooze!
The snooze button on the alarm is not your friend, it’s your enemy.
Hitting the snooze button does you no good—you have to wake up eventually, and by pressing snooze, you’re only delaying the inevitable.
Worse, you’re actually disrupting your sleep—your mind is being jerked awake, sent to rest, and then rudely awoken again and again. No wonder you can’t concentrate for the rest of the day.
Instead of pressing snooze, force yourself to get up immediately after—and by ‘getting up’, we mean opening your eyes, planting your feet on the ground, and then standing up.
Don’t lie in bed after your alarm has rung—your body will be better motivated if you change position and move.
Avoiding the snooze button isn’t something you will get used to easily, but in time, you will make a habit of it.
3. Don’t Look at Your Phone
Your alarm is most likely on your phone, and you will be tempted to look at it once you are awake. Don’t do this.
You should spend your morning focusing on yourself—not looking at what your cousin is doing in Fiji, the latest cat meme, or whether that project has finally got the go-ahead.
Looking at your phone will cause you to lose focus on the here and now, and more importantly, will take your mind away from your current needs.
As tempting as it is to spend ‘me’-time checking social media, use your morning to relax instead (social media is not relaxing).
Try meditating, listening to calming music, or just looking out the window and absorbing the nature around you.
4. Drink Water, Not Coffee
Caffeine is supposed to wake you up, which is why so many people start their day off by drinking coffee.
But what will really get your brain into gear in the morning isn’t coffee—it’s actually water.
Look at it this way, you have been asleep for 6-8 hours. And while your body has slowed down it’s functions during that period, it still needs nourishment, chiefly water.
Instead of having a cup of coffee first thing after waking up, have a cool glass of water to rehydrate your body.
This will also help to wake up your brain so you stop feeling so sluggish in the morning.
You can have your caffeine fix later in the morning, but start off the day with water.
5. Eat Breakfast When You Want To
First things first—you can’t skip breakfast. It is important to start your day with a full, hearty meal that will power you through the rest of the day.
But some people just aren’t able to down a full breakfast first thing in the morning—it actually makes them feel ill.
And they have a whole commute to navigate, either by car or public transport. A full breakfast sounds like a bad idea.
What people often forget is that not all bodies are the same. Some people can have a big breakfast at 6am, others can’t stomach anything till 10am.
Eat when your body wants to but eat well. As with water, your body has not had nourishment for a long period of time, which is why you are unable to be productive in the morning.
If you eat a good breakfast, you will be better able to focus on the day ahead.
6. Set Your Daily Goals
Once you get to work, create a task list according to your schedule for what needs to be accomplished that day.
Give yourself concrete goals, and try to accomplish them to the best of your abilities. Don’t aim too high—you are unlikely to finish writing 10,000 words on a busy day (even freelance blog writers can’t) and when you fail to do so, you will feel demotivated.
Set achievable goals that can be accomplished and will make you feel better about yourself, and your day. As we know, there is nothing better than checking an item off your task list.
7. Do Your Worst Tasks First
Most people are guilty of starting their day by procrastinating. But by not doing anything in the morning, you negatively impact your productivity for the entire day.
If you leave the tasks that you absolutely hate doing for the end of the day, there is a high chance that you won’t do them at all.
By end of day, you will find another excuse not to do the task. You will push it off to the next day, and the cycle will repeat, until your deadline is looming and you are in a panic.
Don’t avoid the task, no matter how much it terrifies you. Tackle it first thing in the morning after creating your task list.
This process is known as ‘eating a frog’, which references a famous saying by Mark Twain.
Eat a frog first thing in the morning, and the rest of your day will be much more manageable and productive.
8. Avoid Multitasking
Your new morning routine will have given you renewed energy to take on the day. Surely you can do multiple tasks at once?
Turns out multitasking isn’t as beneficial to productivity as many have believed it to be.
By doing multiple tasks at once, you actually divide your attention and skill, rather than if you were to focus on one task from start to completion.
If you try to do too many things at the same time, your mind will have trouble processing multiple sources of information—it won’t know what is, or isn’t, necessary for the tasks at hand.
Avoid trying to do too many things at once in the morning—focus on completing one task thoroughly, and you will be able to do more in less time.
Being productive in the morning may seem like a fantasy only other people enjoy, but with these eight tips you can be better motivated and more energetic in the morning.
Start your day the night before—plan out what needs to be done and what you want to wear. Don’t snooze your alarm or look at social media. Drink plenty of water and eat a full breakfast when you want to.
Once you are at work, set attainable goals for yourself, and finish the most difficult tasks first. Try and focus on one project instead of several, so you can be more efficient.
Changing your routine takes time, but once you get used to it, you will be more productive at home and at work.
About the Author:
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. She has a wide variety of interests, including marketing, productivity, pop culture, diversity, and management, all of which she enjoys writing about.