Photo courtesy of John Liu
Recently, my husband has been making some major changes in his life that have increased his productivity, feelings of self-worth, and overall happiness. He shares all of his ideas with me, and what I’ve noticed so far is that the changes that have had the most effect on his life are the ones that happen in the first hours of his day. Intrigued, I did a little research into the subject, and was surprised to learn a few compelling facts that now have me rethinking my mornings too.
As it turns out, many Americans are sabotaging their overall productivity without even knowing it by getting off on the wrong foot each morning. In the United States, 55% of all adults say that they are ‘morning people,’ while the rest feel perkier in the P.M. However, because you’re likely to find that your days end pretty much the way they start means it’s important to make mornings count.
Interestingly, a podcast about productivity is what really got my attention on this subject with the claim that those self-professed ‘morning people’ are healthier and richer, and that they live longer, happier, more productive lives.
Despite the multitude of internet articles claiming that it’s possible to transform into a person who gleefully bounces out of bed every morning, it is much more realistic to make some tiny shifts to your current (possibly less-than-ideal) morning routine.
See what you can take away from this list of what not to do every A.M., followed by an explanation for what makes each component important to achieving a successful morning (and day):
- Sleep as late as possible. Early risers make good use of that quiet alone time. Allow yourself enough time to ease into your day without rushing around like a crazy person.
- Blast yourself out of bed with the loudest alarm possible. Jarring yourself into consciousness will guarantee that your day has a jittery start. Find a soothing sound that’s loud enough to wake you up but not startle you.
- Save time by skipping breakfast. – The importance of eating a good breakfast is ranked right up there with a good night’s sleep. Just do it.
- Forget showering – you took one last night, right? – Last night was a long time ago, and even a quick spray-down will leave you refreshed, invigorated and ALERT.
- Check all of your emails. – If possible, have a separate work email address and don’t log in to your work account until your work hours start. Avoid checking personal emails until your first break of the day, or, if you simply can’t wait, at least put off responding until break time.
- See what everyone is up to on Facebook. – Does this even need an explanation?
- Make up for lost sleep on the weekends. – While it seems so tempting, keeping a regular sleep schedule – even on the weekends - will make it easier to wake up early on the weekdays.
- Don’t exercise. – Getting your blood pumping means more blood-flow to the brain, too. Your metabolism will be ramped up, giving you more energy and burning more calories!
- Wear the outfit that strikes your mood. If you’ve ever stood in front of your closet and wasted 30 minutes deciding what to wear, you know that morning-time is definitely not the best time to choose your outfit. Lay everything out the night before, including shoes and socks, so that decision is already taken care of when wake up time rolls around.
- Save the fun for after work. Doing something fun before your work day starts is a surefire way to put you in a positive mood and a good frame of mind. All work and no play is no good for anyone.
- Shuffle your kids quickly out the door and onto the school bus so you can get on with your day. It’s been proven that two minutes of hugging per day makes for happier people. A little quality time with the little ones (or teenagers, as the case may be) will be good for all of you.
- Once you sit down to work, don’t get up until you absolutely have to. There are so many good reasons to take regular work breaks: improved circulation, avoiding eye strain, giving your hands a break from the computer mouse, and giving yourself a mental break only name a few.
You may never pop out of bed filled with vim and vigor, but that doesn’t have to mean that your mornings have to be disasterous and unproductive. Those of us who aren’t ‘morning people’ can learn how to make the most out of a situation that we’d rather not face at all…or at least until noon.