Getting your morning started off right at home is important. If you fail to set and maintain the tone before you even set foot in the office, your morning can lose momentum quickly. Here’s how you to get your day off to a productive start.
The right morning routine can make your day, every day. The trick is to be intentional about your mornings, understanding that AM hours are precious and should be handled with care. Whether you naturally wake up feeling alert and productive or wake up with the brainpower of a zombie, here are 20 productive ways to start your day that will help you transform your morning routine and the whole day.
Stay in bed a little longer
This may seem counter-intuitive but this is one of the most productive ways to start your day. Allowing yourself to slowly adjust to the reality of having to get out of bed makes for a much easier morning.
For many, the hardest part about waking up and getting out of bed is the “getting out of bed” part. So, don’t bother… yet. Treat yourself to about 10 minutes of snuggling up under the covers before you get out.
Keep your blinds open
Sunlight is the best way to naturally wake your body up so don’t hide from it. This will make the night-to-morning transition a lot easier: It’s hard to go from pitch-black darkness to bright light (especially if you hop on your phone or computer first thing in the morning), so make it easier on yourself by keeping your blinds somewhat open.
This will make it a little less jarring to wake up to your alarm each morning.
This may seem like one of the most obvious productive ways to start your day, but many people ignore it.
Your body has just been asleep for hours, you can’t expect it to be warmed up, energised, and ready to go right away. You can stretch in bed by simply stretching your legs and arms out overhead or you can step out of bed and stretch while standing – whatever feels right for as little or as long as you like.
If you haven’t heard by now, meditation is awesome. And it’s not just hippie stuff anymore – science backs up how incredible regular meditation is for you. It can reduce anxiety, improve concentration, and help dial down the obnoxious chattering thoughts that take up space in your brain.
Meditation first thing in the morning is great because it can help you begin your day on a more centered, positive tone.
See our article, Meditation can make you a better leader.
Drink some lemon water
Lemons are packed with nutrients; they’re chock full of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up spikes your energy levels physically and mentally. Lemon water keeps you energised all day by improving nutrient absorption in your stomach.
You need to drink it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) to ensure full absorption. You should also wait 15-30 minutes after drinking it before eating (perfect time to squeeze in some exercise). However, don’t drink the juice without water because it’s hard on your teeth.
Take the first 10 minutes after you wake up to either reflect on the events of the previous day or dive into what you plan to get out of the day ahead.
Journaling is a great thing to pair with meditation to clear your head before the start of the workday and the act of writing helps you feel more in control.
Exercising first thing in the morning ensures that you always have the time for it, and it improves your self-control and energy levels all day long. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses.
It’s one of our favourite productive ways to start your day. See our article, Exercises you can do at your desk.
Avoid screens until breakfast
When you dive straight into e-mails, texts, and Facebook, you lose focus and your morning succumbs to the wants and needs of other people – a frantic way to start your day. It’s much healthier to take those precious first moments of the day to do something relaxing that sets a calm, positive tone for your day.
Eat a proper breakfast
Eating anything at all for breakfast is one of the most productive ways to start your day.
People who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, they have more stable blood-sugar levels, and they tend to be less hungry over the course of the day. A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.
Do the dishes
Rolling up your sleeves to hand wash a sink full of dirty dishes from last night’s dinner and today’s breakfast may be the last thing you want to do in the morning, but mindfully cleaning dishes (staying in the moment while scrubbing away) can reduced anxiety, leave you feeling inspired and help you think ideas all the way out.
Also you won’t have to worry about them later while exhausted from work.
Listen to sweet sounds
There’s no better way to stimulate your mind in the morning without exhausting it back to sleep than by listening to music: throw on a playlist of your favorite tunes to get your spirits up and increase your creativity and productivity levels.
And if you’re not really in the mood for music, you can still harness the power of sound in the morning by playing an ambient noise such as a cozy rainy day to set your mood.
Do a hobby or skill
Spend a half hour every morning doing something you simply love. Whether you are a writer, artist, avid bird watcher, or sports enthusiast, you can take time each day to learn something new or hone your skills.
For some hobbies, like drawing, half an hour is enough while for others, like sports or woodwork, not nearly enough. However, there’s nothing stopping you from using that time in the morning to learn about your passion from blog, magazines and the like. Whatever your passion or hobby, find a way to devote thirty minutes to it every day and learn something new.
Read a book
Ever felt motivated to get work done after reading a few pages of one of your favorite books? Nothing gets the mind going in the morning like reading a good book.
Be it self-help or fiction, pick up a book and see what a difference it makes in your mindset during the day, even if it’s just during your commute.
Listen to a podcast
Just like a great book, listening to a podcast is one of the most productive ways to start your day.
If reading isn’t your thing, there are a lot of great podcasts out there aimed at addressing just about every demographic, hobby or taste. Pick one for your commute or while you get ready and start the day right.
Watching cartoons is one of the easiest productive ways to start your day.
They give you a healthy dose of childhood nostalgia, while boosting your creative and imaginative capabilities. Also, if they are really funny getting a good laugh in the morning can set the perfect tone for a great day at the office.
Clean your workspace
Even though it’s a pain to clean right when you get into work, it makes a big difference to your ability to concentrate. People who work in a clean workspace often out-perform those who work in a cluttered one because clutter pulls your attention away from your work.
In fact, the effects of clutter on concentration are not all that different from the effects of multi-tasking.
Set goals for the day
Research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control. Setting goals specific to the day puts everything into motion.
Narrow your goals down to a few achievable ones that can easily be broken down into steps instead of setting wide vague goals.
Eat the frog
Do the hardest or most important task first thing in your workday.
So when you narrow your goals down to a list three must-do tasks for the day, start off with the one you hate the most. When you finally do and complete it, you will feel so much better and feel way more ready to take on the rest of your day.
Say hello to a loved one
Reach out to a family member or friend and wish them a great morning.
The act of sending out good energy into the world, especially to someone you actually care about is one of the most productive ways to start your day. It gets your spirit up and once reciprocated can motivate you all through the day.
Say no to something and/or someone
One of the easiest ways to lost track of your morning, and hence day altogether, is to accept to do something you neither planned for nor should be doing.
Saying no to the things you shouldn’t be bothering with conserves both your time and energy for the things you need to be doing.
Mornings are so important because they set the tone for the rest of your day.
Plenty of people don’t take the time to get mornings right, and that’s just wasting a great opportunity. The right routine will mean you start the day motivated and mentally and physically ready to tackle whatever the day may bring.
Find your own favourite productive ways to start your day, and stick to them!