06 Apr 5 Morning Tips To Boost Your Productivity
When you were a kid, you probably had a pretty solid morning routine. You ate a healthy breakfast, you got yourself ready for the day, and you probably even took some time to do something you loved, like reading or shooting hoops before you headed off to school. Parents and marketing corporations alike make sure kids are reminded to “start their days off right.” But somewhere along the line, as we reached adulthood, it became noble to jump out of bed, throw on whatever is clean, and rush out the front door, surviving on—if we’re lucky—a cup of coffee.
It’s easy to forget that taking care of yourself, as an adult, is just as necessary as when you were a child. But the fact is, taking that time is an essential part of maximizing your overall productivity, both personally and professionally. Try these morning tips to boost your productivity and set yourself up for success each and every day.
1. Step Away From The Phone
It’s 6AM. Your alarm goes off and you roll over, preparing to wake yourself up fully. What do you do next? Think fast, because this is going to be a deciding factor for which direction your day takes.
Your first instinct might be to grab your phone, and check social media or email (especially if your alarm is on your phone and it’s already in your hand). Don’t do it. Research shows that starting your day off with social media can actually have negative effects on your productivity and focus for the rest of the day.
Combat your social media urges by turning off your phone notifications for distracting apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Because, let’s be honest, you don’t need to know that someone followed you or liked your photo. That information will still be just as relevant and accessible in a couple of hours.
Here’s how to get rid of those nasty little notifications.
Turn Off Push Notifications On Android:
1. Go to Settings.
2. Go to Notifications or App Notifications.
3. Tap the app you’d like to disable.
4. Turn on or off notifications from the app.
Disable Lock Screen Alerts For Your iPhone:
1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Tap Notification Center.
3. Scroll down and find the app you’d like to disable lock screen alerts for and tap on it.
4. Again, scroll down to the bottom and now turn the option for Show on Lock Screen to Off
2. Replace Social Media With Meditation
Now that you’re notification free, let’s try adding in some additionally positive ways to start your day. You’ve probably heard that meditation is good for you, but why haven’t you integrated it into your daily routine?
Let me guess, you don’t have the time?
That’s okay! Studies show that it can take as little as 30 minutes of meditation per day to start seeing results (with positive brain changes showing in as little as eight weeks!). These results can include stress reduction, enhanced attention, and overall emotion regulation. All of which are supporting factors to help you successfully manage your day.
But meditation comes in more shapes and forms than you might think. If you’re looking for a different outlet, that allows you to be more hands on (with as little as a 10-minute time commitment), start your day by writing “morning pages.” These pages of paper are designed to allow you to release and materialize your thoughts, before you start your day. There are so many benefits to this practice, including bringing innovations and ideas to your attention, helping you break bad habits, reducing anxiety and stress, and allowing you to track your own growth over time.
The rules of Morning Pages:
You can write about whatever’s on your mind: No restrictions, here! Whatever pops into your mind should go down on the page. No restrictions, and no mind barriers.
The pages must be done first thing in the morning: You’re trying to catch your mind before your guard goes up, so it’s important to do Morning Pages early in the morning.
They must be longhand: No typing these out, you must write them.
You must fill exactly three sides of US Letter paper: Your first instinct may be to start by not taking this practice seriously, but it’s hard to write inauthentically for three whole pages. Generally, by the second you start to see results and then start working through problems on page three. Mind cleared.
They must be for your eyes only: To maintain openness, it’s important to keep these pages private.
If you’d prefer a more structured approach to journaling than writing your feelings on spare pieces of paper, you can also try using a journaling book, with guided entries, such as Oprah’s pick, “52 List Project” or the best-selling book, “Start Where You Are.”
3. Read Something – Learn Something
Now that you’ve taken some time to engage your body, it’s time to engage your mind.
Starting your day off right means allowing yourself to start your day positively. This means taking the time to read from an interesting book, listening to a favorite podcast, or reading the latest post from a blog you follow (one you follow for personal interest, remember – it’s not time for work, yet) can maximize your morning productivity and energize the rest of your day.
Whether it’s a blog, article, newspaper, or book, be sure to find content that is uplifting and allows you to have something to “chew on” once you’ve finished. Remember, this is just a morning taste of inspiration, so don’t feel like you need to read 30 pages of a novel in one sitting. Here are some books to start out with:
- Infinite Self by Stuart Wilde
- Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
- Manifesting Change by Mike Dooley
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
If you’re more of an auditory lover, try finding podcasts that speak to specific interests you hold. Again, steer clear of work related podcasts (unless that is what brings you joy), and really try to find something that relates to personal interests outside of work. If you’re just starting out with podcasts, here are some favorites for you to try:
TED Radio Hour: These talks are hosted from the renowned TED stage and feature talks given by the best of the best – speakers who focus on topics such as happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.
She Does Podcast: This podcast is dedicated to highlighting women in creative and media fields that range from the set of Adventure Time to New York Magazine, these are the women behind the scenes.
You Made It Weird: This is a semi-weekly comedy interview podcast hosted by comedian Pete Holmes, highlighting a variety of comedians and featuring their secrets.
StoryCorps: This podcast is a collection of stories from east to west coast, and follows the lives of everyday Americans. With everything from poetry to bits of wisdom this unscripted podcast is truly unpredictable and continually inspiring.
4. Write Out Your Goals For The Day
Congratulations! You’ve successfully invested in some self-care time by practicing the above activities. Now it’s time to start getting ready for your day! Goal writing is a key factor in reaching goals and setting yourself on the right track first thing in the morning. Writing down your goals can also allow you to pace yourself, have peace of mind, and maximize your use of resources and communication with others.
When you’re first starting off, here are a few guidelines you should keep in mind:
Make practical goals: Don’t overshoot yourself. It might seem like a good idea to schedule goals that will have you magically done with your week’s work in a day, but that’s not usually a realistic expectation for yourself. Pace yourself and record things you know you’ll be able to check off at the end of the day.
Get super-specific: Don’t write down vague goals (such as, “get caught up on emails”) that you could check off any day, make your list specific to that day, and exactly what it is that you’d like to accomplish (such as, “respond to Karen Wilson’s email with RSVP, before noon”).
Put your goals where you can see them: This is huge. You know what they say, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t make this mistake when writing out your goals for the day. If you want to accomplish something, it’s best to have it staring at you, as a constant reminder.
5. Next Stop, The Kitchen!
You’ve had a productive morning, and now it’s time to fuel your day with a breakfast worthy of your efforts. The key to successfully doing breakfast is having the right ingredients on hand. Stock your kitchen with fresh fruit, yogurt, foods high in protein (such as peanut butter), juice, oatmeal, granola bars, and eggs. This way, when you aren’t feeling up to the task of creating an immaculate breakfast, you can grab quick and healthy alternatives.
Here are some ideas for a healthy breakfast:
- 1 egg, orange juice and a flax seed bread toast
- Protein smoothie/shake
- Fruit and greek yogurt parfait
- Oatmeal and fruit bowl
- Apple slices/banana dipped in peanut butter
Notice that leftovers, coffee, and nibbles of toast aren’t meals on this list. That’s because you’re trying to fuel your body. Leaving your body without food, by skipping a complete breakfast, can be disastrous for your daily productivity. Set yourself up for success by giving your body what it really needs to properly function. The rest will be a piece of cake.
Whether you’re taking time to meditate, write down your goals, or learn something new, what matters is that you’re starting off your mornings by being intentional with your time. Your mornings are valuable, but without proper planning, those prime hours can go to waste. Make intentional decisions today, for your enhanced productivity tomorrow.