We all want to be more productive. We’re always searching for a new way to maximize our time and effort. Creative professionals want more moments of “flow”. Entrepreneurs have a list of ambitious goals to meet each day. No matter what you do, you know your productivity during the day depends on how that day started.
A disastrous morning usually amounts to a difficult day at work, and a great morning greatly increases your chances of delivering your best on all fronts. Managers could share their personal experience with morning routines and promote wellness in the workplace, more productivity encouraging employees to make the most of their morning.
You can depend on fate to guide your mornings and hope for the best. Or you can take charge and craft a morning routine almost guaranteed to improve your productivity.
Wake Up Early, Get More Sleep
Here’s the first scenario you want to avoid if your aim is increased productivity: rushing out the door to work. You know what this looks like. You skip breakfast, throw on the first clothes you see in your closet, and are still half asleep when you sit down in your car. You arrive at work feeling breathless and agitated.
If this is one of your problems, fix it by giving yourself a little more time to prepare for the day. You don’t want to cut into your sleep– lack of sleep tanks productivity. So consider moving your bedtime back to give yourself extra time, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, to get up and going.
Creating Your Morning Routine
Now that you have a little extra time to work with, what are you going to do? This is the beauty of making a morning routine: you can craft it however you want. There are only so many things people do in the morning. Common morning routine staples include:
• Drinking water
• Eating breakfast
• Spending time with family
• Reading and writing
• Meditating and soaking in silence
• Setting goals for the day
List out everything you do now or want to add into your morning routine. This is the raw material for creating your morning ritual. The next step is narrowing down what makes a more productive day for you.
What Has to Happen Each Morning
There are two categories to consider here: what you must do and what you want to do. The first task is determining what has to happen for the morning to take off at all.
Let’s consider the situation of a working mom in Mountain View. She is looking for a new job – a critical time to have an effective morning routine nailed down. There are a few “musts” on her list. She has to pack lunches and see her kids off on the bus to school. She has to drive from her home in Mountain View to the Palo Alto staffing agency helping her find a new position. Getting herself ready, feeding the dog. They’re all on the list of what is most important.
This routine is what she does every morning, and sometimes her day goes well while sometimes it doesn’t. These tasks don’t supercharge her morning for increased productivity throughout the workday. The next step for her, and for you, is to move beyond your morning to-do list and figure out those determining factors that make the work day better.
What You Want to Do Each Morning
You’re not rushed because you woke up with time to spare, and you know what you have to do to make it to the office on time. Now you can add in those elements that make all the difference to your day.
Peace and Quiet. You might call this practicing mindfulness. Whether it takes the form of meditation, soaking in the morning sunlight, or enjoying your first cup of coffee, make sure you take time to settle your mind. This isn’t the moment to plan or check your phone (see more on that below). It is for breathing deep, a quiet conversation, and collecting yourself before jumping into the day.
Exercise, food, and water. Take care of your body first thing and you’ll maintain better clarity and energy all day. Drink lots of water and get your exercise, whether it’s ten minutes of stretching or a long morning run. Take the time to eat a healthy breakfast.
Goal Setting. Once you feel at peace and energized, you can dive into setting your goals for the day. How you go about this is up to you. Be as pragmatic as possible and keep trying new goal-setting methods until you find one that works. Try picking one big thing for the day that, if you accomplish it, will make you feel super productive.
Wait to Check Email, Text, and Social Media
Productivity experts are big on this. When you check email or social media, you’re addressing the needs of whoever is in your inbox. This has to happen at some point, but not first thing in the morning. Instead, begin your day with your own purpose and vision. The world can wait an hour for a response while you center your mind on your intentions for the day.
Routine Itself is What Counts
The daily rituals of famously productive people in history are wide and varied. Many rose early and planned their day, others took walks, and some waited half the day before digging in to work.
One common point between them is they did the same thing everyday. The more effective your morning routine and the longer you stick with it, the more likely you are to arrive at work ready for the day. Figure out your best morning now and start increasing your productivity first thing tomorrow.