So it’s no surprise to most of you who have been following me for a whole, that I am a massive morning person.
I set the alarm every night for 4.30am, set off to the gym at 5.10am to be there for 5.30am. I work out for 90 minutes or so, then come home to eat and shower before going in to work for 9am.
And I know that it may sounds tedious, and is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. And don’t get me wrong, I love my sleep but it’s my routine and what works for me.
But I wasn’t always like that. I wasn’t always a morning person, and what I’ve outlined below are little tweaks that I have incorporated into my morning routine that have helped transform my days.
Something most of us are unaware of is that as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work. As self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood sours.
So in hindsight, what I’m saying is that exhaustion kills our productivity levels, and therefore it makes the morning hours, when self-control is highest, the most important hours of the day.
Now I’m not saying that the minute you wake up, you should delve straight into work or study. NOOO. Quite the opposite actually. So whether you naturally wake up feeling alert and productive or wake up with the brainpower of a zombie, these tips will help you transform your morning routine and set a positive tone that lasts the entire day.
1. Start with exercise: apparently exercising first thing leads to more energy during the workday and people tend to have a more positive outlook. It also ensures that you’ll have the time for it, and it improves your self-control and energy levels all day long. You’re less likely to snack when you remember how tough it was to drag your ass to the gym in the early hours of the morning.
2. But drink some lemon water first. Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up spikes your energy levels physically and mentally. You need to drink it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) to ensure full absorption.
3. No screen time until breakfast. When you dive straight into e-mails, texts, Instagram and Facebook, you lose focus and your morning succumbs to the wants and needs of other people. This is one I stand by. I don’t look at my instagram feed or snapchat stories until my walk home from the gym after my workout. I use those couple of hours, to be alone with my thoughts, focus on my own goals and mentally prepare my mind for the day ahead.
4. Eat a real breakfast. Eating anything at all for breakfast puts you ahead of a lot of people. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, they have more stable blood-sugar levels, and they tend to be less hungry over the course of the day. And this is one I LIVE by. I will not leave the house without having a hearty bowl of oats to set me up for the day. A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.
5. Set goals for the day. Setting goals specific to the day puts everything into motion. Narrow your goals down to a few achievable ones that can easily be broken down into steps. When you have views of something you want to achieve—you have a way to achieve it.
Getting your morning started off right at home is important, but it’s only half the battle. If you fail to maintain that tone once you set foot in the office or arrive at work or college, your morning can lose momentum quickly. Here’s how you can maintain a productive tone once you hit the office:
6. Clean your workspaxe/studyspace. Even though it’s a pain to clean right when you get into work, it makes a big difference to your ability to concentrate. In fact, the effects of clutter on concentration are not all that different from the effects of multi-tasking.
7. No e-mail. This is one I struggle with a lot. I automatically delve right into them first thing and it sometimes can be overwhelming. Apparently, the most productive people know the importance of biting into this delicacy first thing in the morning. In other words, spend your morning on something that requires a high level of concentration that you don’t want to do, and you’ll get it done in short order. I need to work on that one.
8. Don’t multitask. Multi-tasking in the morning—when you have lots to do, tons of energy, and it feels like you can do two or three things at once—is tempting, but it sets your whole day back. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus adequately on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully and you don’t want that this early in the day.
9. Finally, say no. No is a powerful word that will protect your precious mornings. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them while your mind is fresh. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood as well as your productivity.