For many, most mornings begin with a rush—a rush to get dressed, a rush to find something edible for breakfast, a rush out the door and into rush hour. Likely you have heard articles advising you to set your alarm early to give yourself some flexibility—which is sound advice, of course—but consider a few of these additional tweaks to your morning routine that can set a productive tone for your day at large.
1) Keep Screens Away Until Breakfast
Oftentimes, our first instinct upon waking is to check-in on our phones, tablets, or computers, to scope out the latest social media updates and e-mail correspondence. While diving into the action might seem productive, studies show that waylaying screen time until you’re up and dressed, and have had a good breakfast, will actually make your first pass at all things digital more focused, clear, and efficient. Instead of answering a few e-mails, checking out a friend’s photos, and then hurrying to shower and dress, instead make a resolution to keep the online world at bay for the first half-hour to an hour after you rise, then you’ll approach the digital world with fresh eyes, energy, and adeptness.
2) Meal Prep
Sometimes hitting the snooze button is inevitable, but if you make prepping breakfast the night before a part of your routine, then grabbing something healthy on the go will be a snap—and your stomach will thank you for it. Load up your coffee machine ahead of time, so all you have to do is hit brew. Or, chop up a fruit salad, mix a smoothie, or simply put a granola bar and a grapefruit in your lunch bag, ready to be grabbed on your way out the door. Even if it’s small or basic, keeping yourself fueled will keep distractions, inefficiency, and mood swings at bay.
3) Queue Up a Podcast on Your Commute
Whether you’re driving, biking, or taking public transportation into the office, a podcast is a perfect way to brush up on industry knowledge. Try sourcing a podcast relative to your field and narrated by experts. Not only will it get you thinking about the topics of your industry—while expanding your professional vocabulary—it will also wake up your brain and get your head in the game as you prepare to launch your day. Use your commute time to bump up your knowledge and conversation points, and you’ll be ahead of the curve before you reach the office.
4) Begin with a To-Do List
When work gets busy, sometimes just getting started is an overwhelming prospect. Before you dive in to your e-mails and projects, take twenty minutes and be thoughtful as you assess your daily and weekly to-do list items, then map them. By giving yourself a bullet point system of what you need to accomplish and by when, you can undo some of the anxiety that a busy schedule promotes.
5) Walk It Out, Even If You Missed the Gym
While we often rely on coffee for our morning buzz, exercise provides a potent burst of energy that can supercharge your day. But, let’s say you’re running behind and skip the gym—all is not lost! Take fifteen minutes in the early morning to take a walk around the block a few times. The fresh air and aerobic exercise will wake you up, get your blood moving, and provide your morning with a natural injection of motivation.
Everyone’s morning routine varies, but perhaps the first step is identifying aspects of your routine that could be improved, and tackling them from there. From waylaying screen time distractions to getting in a little blood-pumping exercise, keep these tips in mind as you launch your most productive morning routine ever.