Are you a morning person? Are you aiming to be one? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Starting your day early, plain and simple means that you have a whole lot of time to do things that generally don’t happen because you are rushing to make it work on time. Early mornings are the best time to start your day on a calm note simply because your phone is silent, your inbox hasn’t started pinging yet, and your kids and family members, most likely, are asleep.
Here’s everything you can get done before the world needs your attention.
1. Ignore the phone
Just leave it by your bedside and go make yourself a nice cup of coffee. Not looking at your phone first thing in the morning puts you in a relaxed mood. Rather than checking out all your notifications and getting stressed about what’s to come, just ignore everything for a bit, and enjoy that cup of coffee. This tiny bit of me-time will work wonders in setting the tone for the rest of your day.
2. Look at your to-do list
One of the best pieces of advice in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People suggests prioritising your tasks into a two by two matrix. Let one side of the matrix says “urgent” and “not urgent” and the other side of the matrix says “important” and “not important.” Then, write all the things you want to do that week. This is a great daily exercise as well. Either grab a paper or do a mental check-list of everything that needs to be done. Prepare yourself for the day ahead!
3. Meditate & do a bit of yoga
Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and clear your mind for a couple of minutes. Starting your day with meditation is the perfect way to gear up for a busy day ahead. If you have 10 minutes to spare, get in a quick yoga routine to stretch that bod and put it in work gear.
4. Fix yourself a king-sized breakfast
It is important to keep yourself fuelled and filled, especially in the morning. Opt for a good, filling breakfast that will last you through those mid-morning cravings. Take time to eat your breakfast, don’t rush, rather sit down, talk to the family, and enjoy your meal.
5. One important task
Look at your to-do list and circle the most important task of the day. Focus on that one task and finish it before 10 AM. Getting your biggest task done before the day has really started is the perfect motivation for the rest of the day. Alexandra Cavoulacos, author of The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career also suggest following the 1-3-5 rule. It’s simple: On a daily workday focus on completing one big thing, three medium things and five small things. She suggests narrowing down your to-do list into those nine items rather than wanting to everything in one day. Makes sense!
6. Drink water
It’s funny how we forget to do the simplest of things, like keeping ourselves hydrated. You don’t need us to tell you how good drinking up is for your skin, your body and even your brain. Make sure you carry a bottle for your commute to work and finish that little baby up before you get out of the cab.
One of the first steps to productivity is getting rid of needless junk that is distracting you from your goal. As Marie Kondo, a Japanese organising consultant’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, recommends, keep things that spark joy, and put every item in a place where it is visible, accessible and easy to reach and put back. Make sure your work desk is a functional unit, rather than a clutter of files and paper.
Go to the websites you love and browse through their latest content, or grab a book you love and read a chapter before things get too chaotic. If you use public transport, or carpool on your way to work, use this time to read about things that really interest you. Needless to say, work emails don’t count.
Find time to get in a bit of exercise before the clock strikes 10. If you don’t have time to hit the gym, get off one stop ahead, and walk to work. Or climb the stairs instead of taking the lift. Even small bits of exercises go a long way in keeping your energy levels up the entire day.
10. Schedule some free time
You cannot walk into work and immediately start working. You need 10 minutes to settle in, interact with your co-workers or simply look out of the window before you start your routine. Take that time, and start when you are read. However, make sure that once you start, you don’t get up before you finish at least one task.