Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. To achieve a positive, productive effort at work, it helps to maximize your time before you clock in.
Try these five strategies to establish a routine that jump-starts your morning and builds momentum for a better day:
2. Enjoy healthy food.
3. Get moving.
4. Update your to-do list.
5. Be positive.
Rushing to get ready starts your day on a stressful note. Instead, try getting up 15 minutes earlier and making time for a relaxing activity.
You may want to simply enjoy some peace before a busy workday. Spending as little as 15 minutes in quiet can improve your outlook for the day, reports Inc. magazine. Other options include reading a book or newspaper, jotting down an inspirational quote or practicing mindfulness. These activities help your brain feel active yet calm.
If you have difficulty getting up earlier, try prepping the night before. Prepare your coffee maker, breakfast, lunch and snacks. Pick out your clothes. Pack your work bag. And then use the time you save to take a moment for yourself.
Enjoy healthy food
Another important step is to enjoy a healthy meal. You’ve heard this before — and with good reason. Protein-rich foods such as oatmeal, eggs, yogurt and almonds can boost your energy and morning productivity. And keep sugar to a minimum to avoid energy crashes later on.
Right away and throughout the day, hydrate with water. It will help you feel full and focused. Preparing lunch and snacks can also save time and help you eat better during the workday.
Morning movement is another way to improve your mental outlook. Starting your day with physical activity two or three times a week can increase your energy, combat anxiety and depression, and lead to better sleep, according to the work management platform Asana.
Ideas to activate your body include walking, jogging, bike riding and yoga. If you’re short on time, you can get a quick fitness burst from squats, jumping jacks, pushups or planks. Even a few minutes of light activity can provide a morning boost.
Update your to-do list
Updating your to-do list each morning can help you focus on the most important aspects of your day. It should be an ongoing, high-level effort rather than an in-depth task that eats up time.
Your list should be structured enough to provide a framework for your day but loose enough to adjust as new tasks arrive. Record your top goals and rank them by importance. And assess your mental state. Some days you may want to dive into focused work, and others you may need to cross off a bunch of easier tasks.
Addressing your to-do list in the morning prioritizes your needs for the day. And then you’ll be more prepared to check emails, phone calls, text messages and other competing needs.
Asana also recommends making positive statements about yourself and your day to improve your morning mindset. For example, start by completing the following sentences:
- I am grateful for:
- I am looking forward to:
- I would like to improve:
You can also simply repeat a statement such as, “I am going to have a good day.”
Affirmations can be stated out loud or written down, based on your preference. Keeping a journal can help you look back and review past successes on tough mornings.
Enjoy the process
Your morning strategies shouldn’t cause additional stress. When implemented slowly and thoughtfully, these ideas can improve your morning and increase your enjoyment and productivity throughout the day.
To refine your habits, occasionally schedule time to reflect on what’s working and what you can improve on. As you see patterns emerge, continue to adjust your morning routine.