Have you ever noticed how the way you begin your day has a huge impact on how it goes? Picture this scene: the alarm clock goes off, you press the snooze button a couple of times, by the time you finally wake up you're already running late, you manage to grab a snack as you frantically try to put yourself together and rush to work, where you arrive stressed and frazzled.
Sound familiar at all? Think about how days like that typically go -- usually they're not as productive as we would like them to be. Even though many of us often pin this down to coincidence, there's actually plenty of evidence to suggest that it's not!
When your morning routine frequently feels more like a chaotic morning adventure, you know it's time to do something about it.
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Many people set themselves up for failure right from the start of their day without even realising it -- in this article I show you how you can avoid that by making your mornings less hectic and your days ultimately more successful!
Why Your Morning Routine Is So Important
A study at the University of Nottingham found that most people have a spike in their energy, drive and willpower in the earlier hours of the day.
It was also discovered that this energy and self-control are actually finite daily resources that are depleted throughout the day, causing us to feel tired, moody and lazy.
This suggests that our morning hours are our most productive times of the day (that we should work to optimise), and that the trick to having a productive day lies in developing a healthy morning routine that'll help you achieve a sustainable level of energy and self control all day, making sure that your energy lasts longer and that you can access it when you need it the most.
5 Tips To Start Your Day Off To Success
The tips below will allow you start off your mornings in a way that will help you to maximize your energy and self-control throughout the whole day
1. Fuel your body.
Think of your body as a machine that needs careful fuelling in order to function efficiently. There are many different ways you can do this:
- Drink warm lemon water: Drinking this as soon as you wake up will give you a huge energy boost and the fresh smell helps to clear your mind and improve your mood. It’s also known to help with depression and anxiety!
- Eat a good breakfast: The Bath Breakfast Project study (University of Bath) showed that eating breakfast has a huge impact on how you metabolise glucose throughout the whole day. So if you want to avoid unhealthy binge eating that'll make you feel lethargic and groggy, a healthy breakfast is the way to go! Certain foods will give you a huge energy boost, which you need if you want to feel great!
- Take a cold shower: A study by Nikolai Shevchuk (2007) revealed that cold showers could improve both your mood and productivity levels. They also trigger all your nerve endings and can kickstart your brain into work mode! Hot showers only make you feel more tired and want to crawl back into bed.
Reference: The Bath Breakfest study -- http://www.bath.ac.uk/research/news/2014/06/05/bath-breakfast-study/
Related article: 11 reasons to drink more lemon water.
2. Set a great tone for the day.
If you start off disorganised and flustered, it'll take lots of willpower to wheel yourself onto a more desirable path. Creating a physical environment that encourages more productive thinking can actually help to set the right tone for your day.
A study done at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that clutter severely limits various brain functions -- a messy room restricts your ability to focus and think clearly.
So whether you want to tidy up the evening before, or first thing in the morning, set the scene for productive work and you'll be more likely to feel positive about your daily tasks!
Set the tone as well by putting on your favourite music as you go about your morning routine.
3. Meditate and visualise.
Take a few minutes to think about how you would like your day to go, what you would like to accomplish, and how you would like to feel at the end of it.
This kind of introspective approach will put your day ahead and tasks into perspective and will give you that extra boost of self-motivation.
Close your eyes for a few minutes and just feel how you would like to feel at the end of the day and picture yourself there. Meditating as well has too many benefits to mention, even if it is only for 5 minutes a day. There is a hidden power that comes from centering yourself and setting clear intentions for the day ahead -- you only know when you try it.
4. Plan your day.
When planning your day, consider this quote from Mark Twain: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
In other words, get your biggest, most challenging and/or unpleasant tasks done first, while you still have enough self-control, willpower and energy to give them your all.
Think strategically about the different things you want to achieve during the day. Choose your frogs wisely and the rest of your day should run more smoothly -- you may even find yourself with some free time towards the end of your day!
Numerous studies (such as the one done at the University of Bristol in 2008) have found that the people who exercise in the mornings tend to have more energy and a more positive mindset.
This strategy has been taken up by successful people such as President Barack Obama, who starts his day with a 7am workout, and Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief at Vogue magazine, who starts each day with an hour long tennis match.
Whether you choose to do some yoga stretches or to go for a quick run, getting your body moving early in the morning will improve both your energy levels and mindset all day long.
Related article: 6 More Tips to Boost Your Morning Routine for Success.
What's The Best Morning Routine?
There isn't one ideal morning routine that works well for everyone, but whether you're a night owl or a morning person, you'll definitely benefit from transforming your routine into one that sets a positive tone to the rest of your day.
So experiment with different routines until you find one that works best for you and stick with it consistently – it'll make all the difference!
What is your morning routine like?
Kirstin O’Donovan is the founder of TopResultsCoaching and author of 'Maximize your time to maximize your profits’. Kirstin is a Productivity coach, helping individuals to accomplish more with less, be more productive, make every minute count, and design their desired life. Free report -- Master Your Productivity -- www.topresultscoaching.com