I don’t know about you, but I’m at my best in the morning. Yes, I’m still yawning, rubbing sleep out of my eyes and trying to clear my head.
But in some ways, that’s a good thing.
I haven’t yet started mulling over all the problems and complications in my life. My mind is a clean slate, and that means I can focus on my work. I usually get more done in the first couple hours of my workday than I do the rest of the day, much of it before I even eat breakfast!
So I try to make the most of my mornings, and I’ve come up with some great optimization routines to do just that. I’ve also done a lot of reading on productivity tricks and secrets used by other successful people. I want to share some of these tips and tricks with you now.
Morning Ritual #1: Get your to-do list ready the night before
Never wake up uncertain of what you should be doing. If you wake up without a focused to-do list, you’ll waste all that great morning energy trying to figure out what to do, rather than actually doing it!
Taking just 10 minutes the evening before at the end of my workday can easily save me an hour or two the following day.
Morning Ritual #2: Stick to a strict schedule
I have one of those jobs where I can set my own hours. What I’ve learned from that is that I have to use that freedom sparingly. Every once in awhile, I need an extra hour of sleep, and that’s okay. But I’ve noticed every time I disrupt my schedule, my performance suffers.
I get so much more done when I get up and start work at the same hour each day. Our bodies and minds prefer routines. Those routines keep us focused. When the clock time doesn’t match your “task time,” you can start to lag behind.
Morning Ritual #3: Ignore your inbox
Unless there is something urgent waiting for you in your inbox in the morning, ignore it. In fact, you may not even want to look at your inbox.
Emails are a major distraction in the morning. Not only do they eat up that valuable time you need to be productive, but they fill your head with worries and uncertainties, all of which drag your focus away from your work.
Morning Ritual #4: Do the type of work that is right for you in the morning
Some people are at a creative high in the morning. Others are able to work at focused, intense speeds. Do whatever you do best in the A.M.
For example, I am great at doing tasks that don’t require a lot of creative thinking but do require speed and concentration in the mornings. So I save tasks that require critical thinking for later. But if you are at your most creative in the morning, you’d want to do the opposite.
Morning Ritual #5: Turn food into a reward
I don’t know what it is about food I find so distracting, but I know I’m not alone.
Some people get off to a great start with a big breakfast. Good for them. Personally, I find breakfast weighs me down in a couple ways. First, I do my best work first thing in the morning. If I eat before I putting my nose to the grindstone, I feel like I’m behind schedule.
Second, digesting makes me feel sluggish. Of course, like everyone, I enjoy food. So what do I do? I wake up and work, and make breakfast my reward for getting tasks done. I do the same thing with snacks throughout the day.
Morning Ritual #6: Difficult tasks in the morning—yes or no?
I grew up hearing that you should always complete your hardest tasks in the morning so you can coast the rest of the day. That’s great advice if it works for you, but it never did for me. It just meant I spent my morning energy inefficiently trying to do challenging work, only to have the majority of my work stretching out in front of me while I slipped behind schedule.
The key here is to do what works for you. I find that mild to moderate difficulty in the morning is best. Saving my challenging tasks for the afternoon doesn’t discourage me; it just gives me the space and time I need to focus on them when I get to them.
But that’s me. For you, it might be the exact opposite. The most important thing is that you figure out how you work best, and stick to a schedule that maximizes your productivity.
Morning Ritual #7: Eat a healthy breakfast that will give you the boost you need
How much or little you eat in the morning depends on your own needs, but make sure whatever you do eat will nourish your body and feed your brain. An antioxidant smoothie packed with vitamins and minerals is a great idea, as is a protein shake. Protein gives you a great energy boost, and those antioxidants are good for you.
Morning Ritual #8: Create a routine to get yourself in the right frame of mind before you start working
Some people drink a cold glass of water with lemon juice. For others, it’s a small breakfast. For still others, it might be a ten-minute workout, or dancing a favorite song cranked up to full volume.
Some like to meditate. Others look at quotes that inspire them, or recite affirmations. Still others, myself included, jump straight into work. Your routine is as individual as you are. Just pick something that puts you in touch with the best in yourself.
And that’s really the bottom line here. There is no one-size-fits-all morning routine for successful people, but there is a routine for everyone. It is up to you to find yours.
These tips and tricks will hopefully get you thinking about your own energy levels, capabilities and needs. From there, you can start creating a morning routine that works for you and helps you make the most of your abilities!
Stay tuned to this blog for more productivity hacks that will help you make the most of every day. If you’re not on my mailing list, now’s the time to join. 75% of my material is sent only to my subscribers. Join today (it’s 100% free) and you’ll receive my 40-page time management guide “Catapult Your Productivity: The Top 10 Habits You Must Develop To Get More Things Done!”
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