by Josh Millar
Productivity begins before you head into the office or dive into emails. Every morning, we lay a foundation for our productivity in the day ahead. If you want to work with greater efficiency throughout your day, you need to harness the power in those first few hours of your morning. Think about how it feels when you sit down to work after a morning of waking up late, running around to get yourself (and possibly your family) ready to go, considering your cup of coffee as breakfast, and arriving to the office just in time. This kind of morning often leaves us distracted, stressed, and unfocused. So, how can you start on a better note? Here are some of the best things you can do in the morning to fuel your productivity all day long:
Wake Up Early
I know this one seems obvious, but it’s really the key to maximizing your morning. The beginning of our day sets the tone for our stress levels and mindset, so you need to give yourself enough time to wake up and move through your morning without feeling rushed and frantic. You also need to give yourself time to incorporate the activities you know will support the rest of your day. This routine often starts the night before by getting to bed by a time that gives you enough sleep.
Move and Eat
An equally simple routine. While this will look different for everyone, keeping these two ingredients in the mix every morning is key to productivity throughout the day. Moving might mean some gentle stretching or a few-mile run. As long as you feel like you’re waking up your body, it’s going to help you down the line. Movement energizes us, reduces stress, and supports a healthy mindset — all of which contribute to our productivity. Skipping breakfast can easily become the norm for busy professionals, but when we don’t adequately feed our brains, our productivity suffers. Make a habit of eating a healthy breakfast in the morning. It’s a much better source of fuel than caffeine alone and won’t have you crashing in a couple hours when your cup is empty.
Review Your Schedule
This doesn’t mean jump into work. In fact, I’d say that if you can avoid work tasks for the first part of your morning, your overall productivity will benefit. So, if you can, don’t open the inbox and check in on paperwork; instead, review your plan for the day. It only takes a few minutes, but scanning over the day ahead is a great way to boost efficiency. It will make for smoother transitions and less stress throughout your workday.
Develop a Practice
Carve out some time in the morning that’s just for yourself. Read, journal, meditate, write a gratitude list, or do some deep breathing. Find a practice that helps you feel calm and make a real effort to make it a habit. This doesn’t need to be a 30-minute block of time (though it can be!). Even five minutes of engaging with a healthy practice can have powerful effects.
Start the Night Before
Finally, one of the best things you can do for your morning routine is to take unnecessary things out of it. Anything you can do the night before to give yourself more time and less stress in those first couple hours of your day will be a direct investment in your productivity. Preparing a lunch, packing your gym bag, and organizing your things for work can all contribute to a more beneficial morning.
So often, our mornings are under-utilized. We hit the snooze button, check work emails, and get ourselves feeling stressed before our workday even begins. One of the best ways to support all-day productivity is to repurpose your morning. When you start to value those first few hours of your day and commit to developing healthy routines, you can supercharge your productivity.