Until recently, my habit has been to wake up super early and then lie around in bed on my laptop drinking coffee and looking at my email. When I finally did begin real work, I would make sure to start with the easiest things on my agenda, saving the heavy lifting for the late morning or early afternoon. Turns out, I’ve been doing everything all wrong.
Since reading this AMA on Reddit (after discovering it on The Muse), I’ve been making some changes. I still get up early, but I’m making an effort to exercise, meditate and then do my most taxing tasks of the day first. I have to say, it works! When I follow through, this makes the whole day so, so much better. I admit I haven’t completely changed and some days are better than others. I thought it would be hard, but tackling the difficult things first seems to make them easier. It feels so good when I’ve accomplished the majority of my most pressing tasks by noon.
This is a work in progress, but I’ve learned some tricks during my experiments in productivity. Here are my favorite tips to help you have a more productive morning:
Make a to-do list the evening before (I use Todoist) and arrange the items in the order you’d like them to be done. I really prefer a to-do list to a schedule. I think everyone is different, but I get a thrill from ticking off the box and watching it disappear. Ticking each item off in order makes me borderline ecstatic. I am clearly easily thrilled.
Get up early. There is no guarantee of productivity just by doing this alone, but even if I do end up wasting the first 2 hours of my day, since I get up at 4:30 a.m., I’m still ready to work by 6:30 a.m.
Keep the laptop out of the bedroom. I don’t know what your work situation is or your setup, but I work from home and when I wake up and start looking at my laptop, it can suck me in to an unproductive rabbit hole for hours and I’ll have very little, if anything, to show for it once I come out of it. I’ve got a dedicated home office and I use it! If you work from home, set up a dedicated work space so that once enter that zone, you get in the work frame of mind.
Get outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes. When I first wake up, I usually drag my feet for a bit and drink coffee, but when I immediately put on workout clothes & take the dog out, it gets me up and moving plus the cold air brings me to life fast! It is still dark outside this time of year, so I’m not getting the added benefit of sunshine (plus, I live in Seattle, so that is out 9 months of the year anyway). I’m hoping in the summer this is another bonus to this routine.
Exercise. You know and I know that health is important. It also increases your cognitive function and productivity.
Meditate. I love meditating, but I’ve got a really hard time doing it without guidance. I usually use this site and pick the guided meditation for 20 minutes. Definitely helps focus the craziness in my brain. Some people wake up and meditate first thing, but I really like the feeling of meditating post workout. Give it a try!
Treat Yo Self! At least in the beginning, promise yourself a treat if you follow your list in order. I let myself indulge in a guilt-free Pinterest extravaganza or a midweek bubble bath if I follow through.
My consistency with some parts of this new routine hasn’t been the greatest, but I’m committing to doing each of these things for this whole week. Join me?
I’d love to know, what’s your morning routine?