There is no single proven morning routine that works for everyone and guarantees success, but establishing your own can maximise creativity, energy and productivity throughout the day. We’ve all had moments where we’ve arrived at work feeling rushed and flustered to realise that you’ve left your phone or lunch at home. A clear and effective morning routine can help to minimise disruptions to your day, as it not only makes you more disciplined, but can help you to think more clearly.
Most of us have some sort of routine in the morning, even if we don’t think of it as that, but it might not be very efficient. Establishing a new routine doesn’t have to be an arduous task, and a good way to start is by changing some of your morning habits. To get you started, here are some things that you should consider making part of your everyday routine…
Get up early (even at weekends)
Most high performers get up early, as extra time in the morning can help you better prepare for the day ahead. It turns out the Starbucks president, Michelle Gaas, sets her alarm for 4:30am to go running and Virgin founder, Richard Branson rises at around 5:45am to get in some early morning exercise, even on his days off.
Try experimenting with your wake-up time to find the best time for you. If you’re not a natural morning person, it’s possible to train yourself to wake up early, rather than just giving yourself enough time to get dressed and make a dash for the door.
You should also try to get up at the same time even when you’re not at work, as habits are thought to be far more powerful when they’re practised every day. Not only does an irregular sleeping pattern cause a similar effect to travel-induced jetlag, but it can lower your levels of good cholesterol and increase symptoms linked to diabetes and heart disease. A regular bedtime and wake-up routine is also thought to help you get better-quality sleep.
Always eat breakfast
Skipping breakfast can leave you with low blood sugar levels in the morning, which will prevent you from feeling energetic or enthusiastic about the day ahead. It can also leave you feeling lightheaded and can cause headaches, halting your productivity. Grabbing breakfast on the go isn’t a great idea either, as it can play havoc with your digestion.
Even if you’re short on time, you can still eat something healthy to start your day. Try preparing something simple the night before such as a banana and berry smoothie. Porridge is also a quick and filling breakfast option that will keep you going until lunch.
Getting into a habit of exercising before you go to work can pay dividends too and the morning is the best time to get moving. According to a study by the University of Nottingham, self-control and willpower are at their highest in the morning.
Being physically active first thing can increase your blood flow and release feel-good hormones called endorphins, putting you in a positive state of mind for the rest of the day.
If you don’t have much time to exercise, many experts believe short workouts are just as effective as long ones. Try simply going for a brisk 10-minute walk or jog before breakfast – the fresh air will also help make you feel awake and ready to start your day.
You don’t need to limit this to just the morning either. Being active during your working day doesn’t just boost your mood but your performance too, helping you concentrate and solve problems.
Clear your head
Make time – even if it’s just 5 minutes – for something that helps make you feel calmer and more focused before you leave for work, such as reading, listening to music, stretching (doing yoga, for instance) or meditating. One of the biggest benefits of meditation is that it causes the release of endorphins, just like during exercise, making you feel good both emotionally and physically. Meditating in the morning is especially effective as you have a clear mind and the stresses of the day haven’t taken over yet.
Even sitting quietly with a cup of tea can be beneficial, especially when the day you have planned is going to be a hectic one. Whatever you do, try to make sure you do it every morning so that it becomes part of your routine.
Let work wait
It’s always tempting to try and get a head start by checking your emails before you’ve left the house. But unless you’re waiting for a particularly important message to arrive, try to avoid logging on to your email account before you get to your desk. Checking your emails – or social media – usually means you’re dealing with what other people want you to, rather than concentrating on what you want to achieve yourself.
Think about your goals
Whether it’s making a list of your priorities for the day or reminding yourself of long-term goals, deciding what you want to achieve before your working day starts can help you focus more effectively. Successful goal setting isn’t complicated, but it does require some practice.
Writing your goals down on paper can make them feel more real and concrete, helping you to concentrate on what you want to accomplish. Knowing exactly what you want or need to do can help you stay focused.