Would you like to know how to be more productive in the morning? Did you know that the way you first start your day can actually set the tone and affect your productivity for the remainder of it?
What you do first thing after waking up is really important.
Here are a few things I do that help me get the most out of my day, even if I get out of the wrong side of the bed 😉 You may wake up grumpy, (I know I sometimes do!) but there are ways you can quickly turn it around so that you don’t stay that way for the rest of the day!
Start the night before
Your day can be great and run really smoothly if you actually start your day the night before. What do I mean? Well, here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Plan what you will wear for the next day, and even take out your outfit the night before and lay out the clothes. I’ve found when I do this, it does 2 things for me.
First, I don’t just end up grabbing the same boring outfit (or whatever is handy), and instead I actually have an outfit that is better put together, meaning I look better the next day (and feel better as a result), because I had the time to pick out clothing that I like and goes well together. How I feel about how I look affects my attitude to my work and, amazingly, makes me more productive.
Secondly, it reduces ‘decision fatigue’ – meaning that it’s one less decision I have to make first thing in the morning, which frees up my brain to concentrate on the important tasks of my day. During the course of your business day, you may have a number of important decisions that you have to make, and so reducing them means your limited capacity for decision making throughout the day is not spent.
2. Write down your Most Important Tasks that you need to work on that day, but do it the night before. This will mean that you will literally hit the ground running, and start on those things that positively impact your business, rather than being distracted by other demands made on you.
Create a morning routine
Create a morning routine that sets you up for success.
1. Grab a cuppa
First of all, grab a cuppa of your favourite tea or coffee 🙂
Better yet, try starting your morning with a glass of hot water and lemon. I got this advice from a nutritionist – it is good for your body as it helps with your digestion, it increases your metabolic rate and it hydrates you, amongst other benefits.
To get the most benefit, you need to drink it about 20-30 minutes before drinking or eating anything else, so before breakfast.
2. Gratitude Journal
I like to write regularly in a gratitude journal.
First thing in the morning, with my cuppa in hand, I write down 3 things in my life that Iam grateful for.
This immediately boosts my mood and there is scientific evidence that this increases your joy. There is also a direct correlation between our happiness (our mood) and our productivity. The happier you are, the more productive you will be.
Being grateful also causes us to focus on what we DO have rather than what we don’t have. Focussing on what you have brings more of it into your life, because you get what you focus on. There’s incredible wisdom from a verse of scripture which says, ‘As a man thinks, so is he’.
What you think, focus on, dwell on (and talk about) is what you become.
3. Read something positive or instructional
Before you start work, read something positive or instructional for about 30 minutes.
You’ve heard the expression – garbage in, garbage out. The reality is that what our mind feeds on greatly affects us – it affects our mood, our attitude to the world, and our belief in what is possible in our lives. You will achieve more if you put positive and instructional input into your mind, because you will be inspired, motivated and challenged to reach for more in your life!
Feeding first thing on the news, which is always negative (and sensationalist) or on social media, or by checking your emails, puts you into a state of stress and negativity. This then sets the tone for a negative and unproductive day. So be careful what you feed your mind with, especially first thing in the morning.
4. Review your Goals
Every morning, read through your list of long-term, medium and short-term goals. These are your dreams for the future – I don’t mean the activities involved in reaching them, but the main things that you want to be, do and have in your life.
The more we review our goals, the more likely we are to achieve them.
By reviewing them every morning, we tell our subconscious mind what to focus on, and our brain will go to work being open to noticing opportunities and people all around us that will help us accomplish those goals.
This is because of the Reticular Activating System (or RAS) which are nerves in your brain that help you sift through the vast amount of information that you are bombarded with every day. It allows you to filter that information so that you notice what is most important to you.
So by shifting your focus to your goals every day, you are helping your RAS know what to look for and focus on – thus ultimately helping you more quickly reach those goals.
5. Look at your MITs – Most Important Tasks
Just before you start your work, look through the list you created of the 3 Most Important Tasks that you need to get done that day. This puts you in the position of focussing on the things that are going to most move you forward in your work, rather than getting derailed by minor, trivial tasks that are not nearly as important and aren’t helping you towards your longer term vision.
6. Start on Task #1
Try to start on Task #1 out of those 3 MITs, as your first work action of the day. Do it before checking email and getting sucked into other peoples’ agendas. Once you have completed this one, most important task of your day, only then check your email.
This will mean that most likely before 10am in the morning (if you started working at 9am), you’ve already accomplished a major task and had a productive morning.
Your Mornings Help Create your Day
Having a morning routine that jumpstarts your day in a positive way will work in your favour and lead to greater productivity in your life.
So, tell me about you? Do you have a morning routine and does it work well for you? I’d love to hear your comments below.
I always make a to do list the night before and even if I don’t complete them all in one day it provides structure. Yes, reviewing goals is important and I aim to do this regularly. I haven’t heard of the reticular activating system before, but I can definitely see how reminding yourself of goals can help! Thanks for sharing:)
Sue Sundstrom says
Thanks Kathy! It sounds like you have a great routine in place yourself. Lovely to meet you.
A really uplifting post with great advice. My morning routine starts slowly with breakfast + cup of tea while watching the news… this is one thing I will now change after reading your post. It´s true that the news is so negative and watching this does slow me down a lot. If I just have brekkie + tea and then get up from the table, I know my day will be more productive instead of sitting there for however long before I move my butt! Arranging clothes and other things the night before is something I kind of do already and is great advice for anyone. Breakfast can even be made the night before so it´s ready and more delicious the next morning eg overnight oats from the fridge. Thank you again for this post. It´s give me a big boost 😀
Sue Sundstrom says
That’s so lovely to hear Susie! So glad it gave you a boost. Thanks for your kind words.
Interested in writing a book.