It’s not so much about how early you wake up. The more important thing is what you do during the first hours after you wake up. We are going to talk about ways to start your day productively and not waste your energy on unimportant stuff.
The Internet abounds with lists like “10 ways to make your morning better.” You will find same recommendations in self-improvement books, lectures or time-management gurus’ talks. Both Brian Tracy and Robin Sharma advice more or less the same.
Your morning routine should look like this:
- Wake up at 5 or 6 am
- Drink a glass of water
- Do your morning exercises or Surya Namaskara yoga or go for a run
- Have a shower
- Spend 30 minutes planning your day, keeping your diary, writing “morning pages” and setting your goals
- Have a substantial breakfast
- And now get to the most diffcult task you have that day
Done — you are amazing! Ideally, by noon you will have already finished a lot of urgent things and will be feeling great.
These pieces of advice are time-proven. They do work. But how do you motivate yourself to follow them? Let’s look into each one more thoroughly
Why do we need a morning routine anyway?
A healthy morning routine will make you energized so that you can have a productive day. Your mood improves, the brain functions better and work feels easier. Not all of the tips that we’ve mentioned may work for you, but they are worth a try.
Wake up early!
Life on Earth is regulated by circadian rhythms that follow a 24-hour cycle. It is true of both bacteria and humans. Human body functions differently than grass, however, the principles are the same. The brain analyses the day and night hours.
It used to be believed that the brain sends signals to the body that it’s time to wake up. But it has been proved that its the execution of that process that the brain controls.
Scientists have found that internal organs (liver, pancreas, heart, etc.) have their own internal clocks that control the production of enzymes depending on the time of day. Normally, they all function well with the brain governing this process. If you follow the natural circadian rhythm — go to bed and wake up according to the daylight and night hours — your body functions well.
If you do not follow that cycle, for example, you fly often or work night shifts, the synchronization of the brain and the organs fails. This may lead to stress, fatigue, various diseases and even mental disorders.
Natural sunrise and sunset cycles quickly bring your body back to normal functioning. That’s why it is recommended to wake up at sunrise and go to bed before 10pm.
But keep in mind, everyone is different.
There are people who are most productive at night. Try to notice at what time you work most efficiently. When do you usually get new ideas? When does waking up make you as happy as possible?
Try having different schedules. Sometimes devout owls change their opinion about their body clock after they get used to waking up early. Do what you feel should work and track your sleep and productivity with Welltory.
Drink a glass of water
It will maintain the water balance in your body and signal the body to wake up. It has been proved that drinking water on an empty stomach prepares the digestive system for the day by stimulating metabolism. Apart from being good for you a glass of water simply helps you get out of bed and go to the kitchen. It is water that is recommended, you can drink tea or coffee later.
Smile to the new day
What kind of mood do you wake up in? If someone gets on your nerves or you are in a terrible rush leaving your house to get to work in time the question may seem strange. Are you stressed right from the moment you wake up because of all the work you need to do?
“Are you getting enough sleep these days?”
“Sleep? Sleep where?”
Your morning sets the tone for the day. It should be calm and relaxed. Be alone with a glass of water, take your time and think. What makes you happy? What can you be proud of? Two minutes to get in the right mood and the world doesn’t seem such a horrible place anymore.
This tip may enrage people that are not very active. If only it was so easy! Secret: Every ultramarathon runner is as reluctant to run as you. True story. These fit people force themselves to run every day. Until it becomes a habit. Because they know what the bonus is!
After a short training session your body warms up, your mood instantly improves and your brain starts working better. Your health depends on how active you are. A sedentary lifestyle is not very active.
It doesn’t matter what it is, morning exercises, yoga or running, 5-8 minutes of the most simple exercise routine in the morning is better than nothing. You are too lazy to do morning exercises? Turn music on and jump or dance. The point is to be active.
Have a shower
The point of hygiene is obvious: to smell nice and get energized. The sleepiness that might be left is washed away in 5 minutes. Shower also has a psychological and a bit of an esoteric effect. Water washes away the emotions and energy from the previous day and it helps you get in the right mood. It’s not entirely clear how that works but you feel fresh as a daisy.
Devote half an hour to yourself
Before checking morning mail and social networks. Spend 30 minutes getting in the right mood. In a crazy rush to improve our performance at work we forget about our goals, desires and plans. We always hurry because of work, family or hobbies. But we forget about our true desires.
Plans for the day
It’s up to you, you can make plans in the evening or in the morning. Plans are the road that helps you reach your goals.
It’s good to rewrite or reread your long-term goals. Learn Spanish, start a new project, work out, decide what your priorities are. What brings you closer to your goals. Think about what you want to be and have. Reminding yourself about your goals helps you concentrate.
Freewriting or morning pages is a practice that helps you take your mind off things. Here is how you do it: take a pen and a piece of paper or your laptop and start writing. Don’t think, don’t edit, this is not intended for anyone else.
Write everything that comes to your mind: ideas, feelings, something like “Peter was very absent-minded at yesterday’s meeting, so weird.” If you don’t know what to write about, write “I don’t know what to write about.” Ask yourself questions that are important for you and write what you think. Write non-stop for about 15-20 minutes. The first and the second pages usually make no sense. But the third page is where magic kicks in and you get answers or surprising ideas.
Simple and silly as this technique may seem it nevertheless declutters your mind and helps you think clearer. It’s written meditation. You can read more about freewriting in Accidental Genius by Mark Levy
Metabolism is most effective in the morning and it slows down during the day. That means that you can eat a lot in the morning and can be sure that you will have digested everything by the time you go to bed. Your breakfast should contain carbs, they are a valuable source of energy. Complex carbs give you a long-lasting sense of satiety, are digested slowly and do not cause sharp rises in glucose levels in the blood. What is good: buckwheat, rice, oatmeal, toasts or durum wheat pasta.
If you skip your breakfast you’ll naturally eat more for lunch. And you will probably have a giant and heavy meal for dinner. It’s easy to overeat at dinner. That affects your sleep and digestive system.
Get to work!
Brian Tracy has described the following approach: first off finish the most difficult and unpleasant thing that you have to do. He calls it “eat that frog.”
It really works! If you keep postponing an unpleasant or difficult task you will have it hanging over your head and popping up in your mind. But if you swallow it first off, the rest of the day will be easier and more satisfying.
What you shouldn’t do in the morning
Note that no morning routine involves Internet or TV. We have so much noise and information around us. Wait until you have completely woken up, don’t hurry to plunge into social networks or news. Spend some time alone with yourself and put the world on hold.
Otherwise you risk finding yourself half an hour later commenting on a Facebook post.
The first thing that many of us do is checking new emails. The light from the screen helps us get up and get to the coffee machine. But it doesn’t let us get in the right mood for a productive day and can even kill our mood.
Tell us what helps you wake up. Which of these tips do you use? We are also curious if you are an owl or a lark.