If the sound of your morning alarm is worse to you than nails on a chalkboard, or the thought of sunbeams through your window is cringe-inducing, this article’s for you.
It can be easy to forget that the key to a really productive day begins in the morning.
Remember, you have to set yourself up for success if you actually want to achieve your goals.
And taking your productivity to the next level boils down to one vitally important step: You have to upgrade your morning routine.
Why would you continue following the same stale one when there are better options out there?
And just because you’re not a morning person doesn’t mean you can’t create a morning routine that would make early birds sing with joy. If you follow a handful of simple steps, you’ll be that much closer to improving your productivity and overall happiness.
The tips below will make the early hours easier and, ideally, get you moving and more productive during the day.
And it’s not as difficult as you might think.
After sleep during which you stay mainly sedentary for hours, taking the time to slowly move your muscles will be a satisfying start to the day. If it works for toddlers, who need more shut-eye than adults, it can work for you, too.
2. Start with protein instead of dairy.
Cereal may be a common breakfast, but it’s not the best choice for the early hours. Food is your body’s fuel, and protein might be a better choice. Try having a protein-rich meal like eggs instead. Your body will work harder to digest it — making sleep less likely — and it will provide you with the energy you need.
3. Start your morning the night before.
Spending a few minutes the night before to get prepared for the next day can save you a significant amount of time in the morning. Before going to bed, pick out what you’re wearing to work and make a quick to-do list with the essential things to get done the next day.
4. Let there be light.
Not only will these actions save you time, but it can make the morning less stressful. That’s a win-win.
Whether it’s natural or artificial, light sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to be awake and to stop producing melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. Flipping on light switches when you get up will help you get into gear.
5. Work out.
You knew this was coming, right?
Working out makes you healthier and stronger, and it increases longevity. Doctors, gurus, and mental health experts all advocate regular exercise. If you need another reason, consider that successful people like Richard Branson, Lord Alan Sugar and Jack Dorsey all exercise daily, often before breakfast. To get more out of your morning, get moving.
6. Banish the snooze button.
Look, we get it. Your bed is warm and comfortable and cozy, and five extra minutes would be so nice. Still, the snooze button is not your friend. When your alarm goes off, it interrupts the REM cycle, and the repeated intrusions every 10 minutes only ensure that your body’s natural rhythm is off.
Set your alarm for when you need to get out of bed and resist the urge for a few extra minutes. It’s tough, but it’s better in the long run.
7. Wake up with pleasantness.
A loud buzzing sound isn’t going to help you get up on the right side of the bed, so to speak. Instead, set an alarm that wakes you up to musicor a pleasant noise. This will rouse you from sleep in a more gentle, relaxed way. It will make the idea of an impending alarm less dreadful.
8. Drink water.
That dry mouth feeling you get in the morning is just the tip of the iceberg, so to say. The rest of your body also is dehydrated after a night of sleep. Starting your day with a glass of water is a refreshing wake-up call for your muscles and organs.
9. Get in a positive mindset.
Attitude is intangible, but it’s also invaluable. Having a positive outlook can make all the difference in your day, especially in the morning.
Saying a positive affirmation — even something simple like, “I can take on this day” — or making a list of three things you’re thankful for each morning will have you beginning each day on a high note and setting the tone for whatever follows.
10. Use technology for some extra help.
If you need a little assistance to make your morning the best it can be, your cellphone can help. There are plenty of apps that can make your early hours better.
From an app that tracks your sleep cycle (and wakes you during the lightest part) to one that offers endless smoothie recipes for breakfast there’s something out there for everyone. Time to make technology work for you.