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In 2020 we’re all about productivity and efficiency. We don’t like to waste time, we have to get things done! However, taking time for a good morning routine can actually help you be much more productive throughout the rest of the day. See it not as a waste of time, but as an added value to your day, making you a better person, and a better worker. Today I wanted to look int things you can add to your productive morning routine.
Some people have a 15 minute morning routine (get up, shower, get out the door) while others have a 3 hour morning routine. It is completely up to you, but you probably don’t have that much time.
So I have looked at and read a lot of successful people’s productive morning routines and looked at what elements they have in common.
Now I don’t suggest you put them all in your morning. I don’t think it’ll fit. But what I suggest instead, is that you pick the ones that appeal to you. The ones that seem feasible to you, you think you could make them work. They’d fit in your morning without having to switch your life around, or get up 2 hours earlier.
1. Make your bed
Making your bed in the morning gives you a simple sense of accomplishment. No matter what happens the rest of the day, you’ve done at least that. It has been said that making your bed correlates with happiness, accomplishment and productivity. People who make their bed seem to be less stressful, more content with their lives and increased discipline (*). A lot of positive effects from such a small effort, right?
However, I feel like I should disclose there is also an argument to not make your bed first thing in the morning. The reason for this is that scientists say it traps dust mites in the dark with the humidity from your sleep, which allows them to thrive. They claim leaving your bed unmade in the morning dehydrates the dust mites and exposes them to sunlight, which could help kill them (*). While dust mites are everywhere so this might not make a difference for you, it could be a consideration for those allergic to dust mites.
I feel a good compromise would be to get up, get dressed, then make your bed before you start your day.
2. Get up straight away
The saying really says it all: you snooze, you lose. Snoozing can mess with your whole circadian rhythm, while not actually giving you any extra rest.
If you snooze to “just get 5 more minutes”, I’m sorry to tell you that those 5 minutes are doing absolutely nothing for how rested you feel. On the contrary, they’re more likely to leave you tired than refreshed.
National Geographic did a study which found that snoozing can change your sleeping pattern, thereby changing your circadian rhythm.
Your body really is happiest when you go to sleep and wake up at the same time. It then knows when it should be making certain hormones to help you fall asleep and wake up. This will help you wake up refreshed, as it’s not a shock to your body.
When you wake up, get up as soon as you can.
3. Mindful moments
One of the best things to add to your productive morning routine is a mindful moment. Whether you can make 5 or 15 minutes, this is something a lot of successful people do. A mindful moment can mean several things. Some people use it for meditation. Others take a moment to journal, be grateful or go through affirmations.
Tony Robbins has his well-known priming exercise. You can do whatever you want here, as long as it is a moment for you to centre yourself. These minutes you take for yourself can be really beneficial for your mental health. If you’d like to journal during this time, I have an article on that here.
4. Use your commute time
Another thing I’ve come across a lot, is that many people use their commute time. This is such an easy way to have a more productive morning routine, it’s almost effortless. Instead of listening to other people talk on the train, or listening to your favorite music, use this time wisely.
Listen to an audiobook, podcast, or the news. This way you can learn something new, open your mind and get a headstart. Especially if your commute is longer, you could read an extra book a week doing this! You could also work on your language skills with Duolingo, or take a Skillshare class.
5. Early start
All the people I have researched try to get an early start. The lastest wake-up time I have seen was 7.30. Most common was somewhere between 06.00-07.00, while there are definitely successful people who like to wake up around 5, or even earlier. Waking up early has a lot of benefits.
It allows you to start your day on a calm note, giving you plenty of time to do some things before you start work such as starting laundry, picking up your house, spend a bit of extra time on yourself or working out.
Biologist Christolph Randler studied over 360 university students and found that those that woke up early got better grades, anticipated and minimized problems more easily and are more proactive.
6. Prepare your morning as much as possible
An easy way to add to your productive morning routine is to make as many decisions as possible the day before. Lay out your clothes, shoes, jewellery in advance. Put workout clothes next to your bed if you want to workout early in the morning. Prepare any food you can the night before. By making these decisions in advance and preparing our lives accordingly, we can save ourselves so much time in the morning. Especially if you’re not much of a morning person or your mornings are hectic, a little preparation can go a long way.
Exercising in the morning is a good way to wake up your body. It’s also the best thing to just get it out of the way, especially if you don’t love doing it. Exercising is a way to spend some time on yourself and take care of your health.
By moving your exercise to the end of the day, you risk not doing it because ‘more important’ things come up. You keep postponing it, and at the end of the day you don’t have time anymore, and the couch just looks so inviting. Do it in the morning to just get it done.
8. Spend time with family (or themselves)
A popular element in a productive morning is some time with family or alone. If you live alone this would be your mindful minutes, but if you live with others, take some time to spend with them. Social interaction is very healthy for us, as we are hardwired to crave social connection. Whether you do some work before this time or not does not matter. Try to get some quality time in every single day.
9. Create a to-do list
An important part of a productive morning routine is to create a to-do list. A to do list will help you focus on the most important tasks for the rest of the day, and minimize distractions. IT will also ensure you don’t forget the small things that you think you’ll remember. I have a whole post on writing a good to-do list here for you to read.
10. Stay away from your phone (do not check your email)
A final element of your productive morning routine can be to not check your email and phone until a certain time or until you’ve done a specific thing. I have my phone on downtime until 9am, and I love it. When we open our phones and have messages to reply to, e-mails to answer or problems to solve, It is easy to get caught up in it all and throw your morning routine out the window to deal with whatever has come up. By not looking at these things, you are ensuring you take time for yourself and start your morning off right, so you can handle anything life throws your way when you open your phone or inbox.
By the way, generally keeping your email notifications off and only dealing with them at set hours of the day will give you a much calmer working day than frantically refreshing your email and getting interrupted by every little task that comes up.
So there you have them, 10 elements you can add to your productive morning routine. As I’ve said, it would be challenging to do all of these things every day, unless you are a very early riser. I think picking and mixing elements that speak to you is much more efficient and doable. You want your morning to be calming and relaxing, the rest of your day will probably be hectic enough as it is. You don’t have to add a 17-step morning routine to that as well.
I hope this has helped you a little bit, let me know what things you do for your morning routine. Anything you do that is not on this list? I want to hear them all!