In both the literal and figurative sense, your workday starts with your morning ritual. That makes morning routine hacks for productivity all the more important. Not only will they be the first things you do after waking up, but they’ll set the tone for the remainder of the day itself. However, don’t think of morning routine hacks for productivity as shortcuts or easy solutions. Instead, think of them as a guidelines that will potentially change your habits over time, making for a better you in 2018. Here are 12 Morning Routine Hacks for Productivity to get your day started right.
This story is part of our “Better You” series.
1. Get Your Day Started the Night Before
More and more people are experiencing anxiety at night, and a lot of that has to do with work. Some folks are worried that they weren’t productive enough during the day, while others are anxious about their upcoming workload. Kill a whole bunch of birds with one stone by sitting down before bed and writing out the most important tasks you’ll complete tomorrow. It will help you rest easy at night, thereby ensuring your morning isn’t thrown off kilter before it’s even begun.
2. Give Yourself Time
Most productivity experts will tell you to wake up extra early, which is definitely sound advice. However, we’ll take a step to the side and say you don’t need to rise at the crack of dawn, but you should wake up at least a few hours before your workday starts. Whether you use that time to exercise, or read the news, or meditate, or get your kids ready for school, or cuddle with your significant other is up to you. What’s important is that you put yourself in a positive mental space by not turning each morning into a mad dash.
3. Limit Your Distractions
From the moment you wake up, you’re potentially exposed to a slew of modern distractions, most of them coming from the nearest device. If you’re someone who knows there will be a hundred work-related emails waiting, then do yourself a favour and don’t check your email box until you’re actually ready to respond. Giving yourself a preview of the workday ahead will increase anxiety, but not productivity. Find a relaxed zone to put yourself in, and don’t leave it until you’re actually ready to work.
4. Get the Blood Flowing Through Exercise
Even when you’re running on eight hours sleep, you might wake up some days feeling downright sluggish. The easiest way to combat those morning blues is with a morning exercise routine. It will increase energy and get the blood flowing, leaving you in a better state of mental and physical alertness throughout the day.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water might not sound like much of a productivity hack, and yet you’d be surprised at how many people don’t stay hydrated throughout the day. Among the first things you do when waking up should be drinking a glass of water, preferably with some lemon squeezed into it. That glass should be the first of many.
6. Don’t Skip Breakfast
We get it–you’re busy. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the most important meal of the day. Quite the opposite in fact. You should be treating yourself to a hearty, healthy breakfast every morning. It will give you a full belly and a solid energy reserve for the day ahead of you. Furthermore, making breakfast is yet one more way to limit any work distractions in the morning.
7. Find Your Specific Morning Routine
Behind most successful men is a daily regimen–it keeps things structured and goal-oriented. Hence, you shouldn’t just be performing the routines on this list, you should be performing them with a solid degree of consistency. Find the regimen that suits you and keep it with it, which will prove fundamental to your productivity.
8. Keep a Clean, Uncluttered Workspace
A cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. Before you reply to your first email, make sure your area is clean. You will achieve peace of mind–and more productivity–as a result.
9. Get the Hardest Work Done First
So you’ve had your exercise, your big breakfast, and your personal time. It seems there’s nothing left to do but get down to work. If you’ve been paying attention, it means you wrote down a to-do list the night before. At the top of that list should be your most important tasks for the day. Get them out the way (aka “eat the frog”) and you’re off to a very productive start.
10. Work in Increments
Once the workday has started, many people tend to get in the zone, where they sit down and stay down until every last assignment is completed. While such a technique might sound productive at first, in the long run it can wear you down and make you hate your job. Instead, work in increments, taking breaks at either designated times or after designated milestones. In return, you’ll feel far more refreshed and find that you’re ultimately more productive.
11. Optimise Your Morning Meetings
If you’re a business professional, then odds are you have a meeting or two scheduled in the morning. Mentally speaking, morning meetings are your most important, whereas they set the tone for the remainder of the day. It’s therefore essential that you keep a tight reign on your morning meetings in particular, so they don’t throw off your entire schedule or your entire mood. Check out TimeDoctor for some tips.
12. Stay the Course Once Your Workday Has Started
The whole point of allotting yourself personal time in the morning is so you can stay focussed once your workday has begun. To retain that focus, don’t agree to any substantial favours that rip you way out of your zone. We’re not talking about lunch breaks or occasional forays onto your favourite websites–we’re talking about personal favours that take up time and eat into your productivity. Stop doing them.
This story is part of our “Better You” series.