It is with no doubt that all of us have woken up on the wrong side of the bed before at some point in our lives. Be it because of a night of little sleep, being in the midst of a busy schedule, work or school stress, or not having looked out for our emotional and mental health in while, there are a multitude of reasons to why some of our mornings are worse than others.
Starting your day on the right foot sets your tone for the entire day ahead. It is key that you wake up and get into the groove of things, and prepare yourself for what's to come for the rest of the day with a healthy morning routine.
Developing a morning routine that would set you up for success and productivity can take time, effort, and lots of trial and error. You would need to strike a balance between the need to be productive and on the ball throughout the day, and making sure you're not overwhelming and pressuring yourself with the need to be efficient.
Making sure you start your day with the right frame of mind; one of abundance, gratitude, and open to growth is key in making the best out of your day. Here are some habits you can incorporate into your morning rituals to start your day the best way possible.
The Importance of Morning Routines for Success
Whether you're a morning person and you get out of bed at 5am, or if you're not that enthusiastic about the wee hours of the morning and start your day a little later, the routine you partake in once you get of bed are key in your productivity. The rituals that you carry out first thing upon waking up set the tone for your entire day. It determines the frame of mind with which you approach and tackle the day's tasks with.
Starting the day by centering yourself with your own self-care routine, making sure you're aware of what's ahead of you for the day, and getting a nutritious breakfast in that would keep you energized and full until the next meal are some of the things you can do in the mornings to set yourself up for a successful, productive, and satisfactory day.
1. Begin on a Healthy Note
Getting a short workout in in the mornings has multiple benefits. Not just physical, but the mental and emotional benefits that you reap from getting your body moving first thing upon waking up are aplenty. By getting your blood circulating and endorphins pumping, the neurotransmitters in your brain get fired and geared up for mental clarity and a sharper sense of focus. This would set you up for more productivity and efficiency on the get go. While you may think that it would drain you first thing in the morning, the contrary happens and you get a surge of energy.
This can seem like a hassle when you’re in a rush for time on some days, but also prepare a healthy breakfast for yourself to start your day. The time you spend preparing breakfast can be used as quiet time or quality alone time in the mornings, where you self-reflect and recalibrate before taking on the day.
2. Visualize and Plan your Day
Upon waking up, make it a habit to find some time, as little as 15mins, to review your schedule and task-list for the day. This time can be used to take a look at a list or schedule you may have put together the night before, or for you to plan the day in the morning. Either way, this allows you a head start at planning and visualizing how your day is going to turn out.
Instead of waking up and rushing through a quick shower and rushed breakfast, and hurrying out of the door to dive right into work or your schedule, set aside a short amount of time to schedule, shift around, and re-allocate your commitments to ensure your day is practical but maximized. If you have a little more time on hand, do any necessary research, preparation, or analysis that you may need, gather any necessary tools, or even draft plans of action for getting your work done. This would put your mind at ease and in control.
If you have yet to find a platform or method to keep track of your to-do list and schedule in the mornings, head over to Journey to explore these very features. Journey provides users with a interface that offers scheduling and organizational tools such as calendars, reminders, and task lists that you can customize and plan with.
Use these tools to review your daily, weekly, monthly or yearly schedules easily with their respective calendars. The calendars and daily to-do lists allow you have overviews of your plans in whichever format you desire. The satisfaction that you get from having a well-planned calendar or task-list and being able to tick things off of them is like no other, and this is made all the more convenient and hassle-free for you with Journey's functions.
3. Work According to Priority
If you're having trouble deciding how to go about your day, plan your schedule according to priority. Our days can be filled with multiple tasks and appointments that can overwhelm us. Take time to discern which need to completed first according to urgent deadlines or tasks that cannot be postponed. Shift these to the top of your to-do list and plan your time according to this.
To help you plan your priorities, the Eisenhower Matrix on the Journey Digital Planner can come in handy. By plotting your tasks according to the matrix, you can sort your weekly tasks into :
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Not important and urgent
- Neither important nor urgent
4. Plan for Time to have Breaks
It is simply impossible to expect our bodies to perform at peak productivity throughout the entire day. We can only expect a good amount of productivity with quality downtime as well. Taking regular breaks where we detach ourselves from the tasks at hand will allow our bodies and minds to power down and recuperate.
You can think of your body and brain as a set of batteries. Quality downtime will rest, recharge, and reinvigorate the batteries. Downtime need not be long breaks multiple times throughout the day. Our schedules may not allow for that. But short breaks that are interspersed throughout the day will have a significant effect on your energy levels.
In time of utmost busyness, it can be incredibly tempting to ignore signs from your body that your energy levels and attention span are dipping. You may feel like you would be able to power through just to tick those tasks off of your to-do list. Even if you manage to ignore these signals, continue working, and drink coffee to pull through, the quality of your work might take a hit and these energy slumps will only cause you to be less productive in the long run.
5. Start Working Smart as Early as You Can
If you find yourself waking up bright and early without much difficulty and you consider yourself to be a morning person, it is highly likely that your peak productivity lies in the morning. If you're more of a night owl, you work best and most efficiently later in the afternoon and early evening.
There are some time periods in the day during which our brains and bodies are the most awake, and other points during which all we feel like doing is taking a nap. Your body's circadian rhythm, or the internal clock will effect both mental and physical changes in your body throughout different times of the day. This determines when we feel the most productive, more tired, and even when we feel hungry.
Instead of trying to force yourself to get work done in the morning, work smarter by leveraging your most productive time of the day. Identify when your brain is at its most productive, and use those hours wisely. It is key that you time the time to figure out and understand your own body and when it functions the most optimally. Productive periods vary from person to person. Once you figure this out, work with the cycle of your own body and brain, and use it to focus on tasks that require more energy out of you.
Makes sure you're prioritizing time-management, working towards healthy productivity, and still setting time aside for your commitment to self-care can be a lot to ask for. But a dip in any of these may not be the most healthy or efficient in the long run. Striking a balance between these will allow you to reap their individual benefit and keep you happy and productive at the same time.
Here's to successful and satisfactory mornings ahead instead!