You wake up to the annoying sound of your alarm. You snooze for that extra 5 minutes of sleep that can turn into half an hour. You get your phone and hit snooze again. Your foggy mind tries to determine if today is a weekend or a work day.
Oh,, it is Wednesday. You put on your data and scroll through messages while you are still in bed. You check the trends and every whatsapp status on your phone. You spend another half hour mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds.
You look at the time…” SH*T. It is 7.30am “ you rush out of bed, you struggle to get everything done just in time to make it to your first task of the day.
Sadly this is how most of us spend our mornings and this can have an effect on the rest of our day as we tend to play catch up for the rest of the day.
Research shows that self-control and energy levels are not only intricately linked but also finite, daily resources that tire like a muscle.
This means that your will-power and self control to do what truly matters is limited and reduces as the day goes by.
We might not realise it, ( but now you would start taking note) but as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work.
As our self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood sours. This is why by 4pm you are tired and cranky and do less and less important work.
This means your mornings are the best time to get you day started. Unless you are a night owl of course whose energy levels are up at night.
“ This exhaustion of self-control kills your productivity, and it makes the morning hours, when self-control is highest, the most important hours of the day.” – Entrepreneur.com
To be productive, you need to make the most out of your morning and here are 7 productivity hacks that would help you get started.
7 Productivity Hacks To Get The Most Out Of Your Mornings
1. Plan Your Tomorrow Today:
Research shows that having fewer decisions to make in the morning helps you accomplish more each day. Planning for your tomorrow the night before with a to do list would help lessen the decisions you have to make in the morning.
You can even take it one step further by bringing out your dress for the following day.
Each day we have a limited amount of willpower for decision making at our disposal. Having too many decisions to make in the morning would not only slow you down but drain this limited resource you have.
So write down things you want to accomplish on your to do list, pick out the clothes you want to wear and know what you want to have for breakfast. These are mundane task that should be planned the night before, to conserve some of those willpower for the truly important stuff
2. Wake Up At Your Right Time :
“The early bird catches the worm!”
While there is research to back up waking up 4am or 5am to be at optimum abilities.( Every billionaire wakes up 4am – or so I’ve read ) Other research has shown that this is relative. You can wake up 10am and be as productive, if not more than someone who wakes up at 5am.
It is true that people who wake up earlier are often more productive, does this mean night owls can’t have a perfect morning routine that leads to a productive day?
The answer is NO
“Mornings” for “Night owls” takes place a little later, but can be productive nonetheless.
Think of mornings like breakfast, brunch or that midnight snack you crave after 10pm that Aproko doctor warns us about — they are all delicious and satisfying for you when you are hungry!
It all depends on how you manage your time and what you do with it.
Getting in tune with your body clock can help you be a more productive person as long as you are getting enough sleep.
According to Sleep.org your body actually knows what it should be doing and when. Don’t force yourself to be part of the 4am club if you can’t fall asleep before midnight.
You can not force yourself to be a morning person or a night owl – find what works for you and build around that strength.
3. Create Your Morning Routine :
What is your morning routine? – Wake, press phone, sleep , wake up again, more phone time? How good is that working for you?
According to Claire Diaz Ortiz, productivity expert and author of Design Your Day, the best thing you can do to be productive is to create your ideal morning routine
You should have a productive morning routine that you make a habit of. Some things that could go into your morning routine could be something like this
Having a set morning routine is the best way to stay productive and get more out of your morning. Making it a habit is even better.
You should find what you want in your morning routine – try out different things and find what works best for you.
It is called “Personal Development for a reason”
4. No Screen Time For at Least 1-3 hours.
This is a tough one – to be totally honest, I fail at this most of the time especially during this pandemic.
We all want to know what we missed while we were asleep ( as social media never sleeps)
You do not want to miss the latest hot gist or an email from work. We act like these things control our life when we are the ones in control.
When you focus on the texts, emails, whatsapp status and all other forms of social media distractions early in the morning, you succumb to the wants and needs of other people.
Make the most of your mornings to get focused on you.
5. Build A Habit
It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.
Having a morning routine become a habit makes it much easier on you.
When you learned to start brushing your teeth in the morning, it took conscious effort. As a child you’d cry, kick and scream.
Now it is automatic and you do not even think about it most times when you brush. You go – Toothbrush – toothpaste – brush.
Sticking with a morning routine that works for you long enough for it to become a habit would help you do things with less will power
Do you know anyone that wakes up 5am daily no matter when they sleep?
Exactly – Habit.
6. Practice Gratitude:
This one tip is helpful. Waking up in the morning and having 3 things you are thankful for from the day before can boost your mood in a positive way.
No matter how bad you might have it – there is always something you could be thankful for. Finding these things and reminding yourself about 3 or 2 things you are thankful for each day would help you make the most out of your day.
7. Eat That Frog:
“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” – Mark Twain
No. I am not saying you should look for a juicy fat frog to eat early in the morning.
Brian Tracy is an author of a book by the name “Eat That Frog” ( I recommend you read this book if you can)
The premise behind this statement and one key principle on being a morning person by Brian tracy is that if you can eat “YOUR JUICY BIG FROG” for the day – FROG in this sense is YOUR Most Important task For The Day, you can spend the rest of the day with a huge confidence boost.
We most times want to keep that most important task for “later” and get the smaller things done first – when “later” comes around you are too tired or less motivated and you move the task to the next day. ( Procrastination )
This is shooting yourself in the foot. Starting the day and accomplishing the one big task for the day can give you a big dopamine feeling of accomplishment which you can build on till your will power reserve is finished.
What other productive morning routines do you know of?
I’d be reading and responding in the comments section.