Want to be in the same league as the most productive and successful people in the world? Then you need to make the most of your morning by doing these nine things. When you do, the rest of your day will be extremely productive and fruitful.
1. Plan the night before.
Because we have a limited amount of willpower and decision-making abilities, you want to eliminate as many decision-making tasks in the morning. This is why American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault ends his evenings by jotting down the three things he wants to accomplish the next day.
It also explains why Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama had limited wardrobes.
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make,” President Obama told Vanity. Fair.
When you have fewer decisions to make your saving mental space and will have better productivity throughout the day.
2. Wake up refreshed.
You also can’t have a productive day if you don’t wake-up feeling refreshed. Think about those days when you only got 4 hours of sleep. You’re dragging the entire day.
Establish a nighttime ritual where you limit or avoid stimulates like alcohol, caffeine, and electronics right before bed. Instead, have a quiet and relaxing evening by meditating or reading. And, don’t forget to go to bed at the same time every night.
Ideally, your bedroom should be as dark and quiet as possible. It should also be a little cool. This way you’ll sleep undisturbed the entire night and will wake-up refreshed and ready to take-on the day.
3. Create a morning to focus your mind.
Claire Diaz Ortiz, a productivity expert and author of Design Your Day, says that if you want to be more productive — then you need to create a morning routine that works for you. She explains that how you start your day anchors you and ensures that you stay focused.
According to Renzo Costarella in a previous Calendar article, here’s what you should include in your morning routine:
- Wake-up before everyone so that you’re free of distractions.
- Drink at least one 24 oz. glass of water when you first wake-up.
- Exercise for around 30 minutes before breakfast. If possible, do this outside since taking in that sunlight first thing in the morning lets your internal clock know it’s time to start the day.
- Eat a healthy breakfast — that means skipping sugary cereals and pastries.
- Read for at least 10 to 15 minutes so that you learn something new.
- Practice mindfulness for about 10 minutes — this clears your mind and assists with focus.
My morning routine also consists of writing in my journal — hey, it’s worked for Da Vinci, Mark Twain, Oprah, and Tim Ferris.
I also make my bed every morning. It’s not that I’m a neat freak. It’s a small task that gets your day off to an excellent start.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” said U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
4. Set a daily intention.
You know, I never really did this until I came across this article from Purple Carrot. It’s great advice, so I’ll let them explain:
“Setting your daily intention is just like paving your day ahead. In the early part of the day when things are calmer, and you have a moment to think clearly, set your intentions focusing on at least two goals that you want to accomplish for the day. Have extra time? Write these goals on post-its and bring them to work with you so you’re constantly reminded of what you want to accomplish.”
I want to emphasize that last part there. Research shows that writing down your goals enhances your goal achievement.
5. Daily affirmations.
“Affirmations are short, powerful yet simple statements intended to help you manifest a particular goal,” writes Choncé Maddox. “This is power is positive thinking and it only takes a few minutes to recite some positive affirmations.”
6. Avoid your phone.
Don’t just dive directly into emails, texts, and social media when you first wake-up. Doing so will help you lose focus. Even worse it steals your time and gives it to other people.
Instead, spend these precious first moments of the day to do something that you find relaxing, such as walking your dog, meditating, or reading, This will help set calm and positive tone for your day, as opposed to a frantic start.
This may take some discipline, but try to avoid your phone until after you’ve eaten breakfast.
7. Schedule your day.
Want to get all all of you tasks done? Then make sure that they’re scheduled into your calendar.
As entrepreneur and author Dave Kerpen explains, “If it’s not in my calendar, it won’t get done. But if it is in my calendar, it will get done.”
“I schedule out every 15 minutes of every day to conduct meetings, review materials, write, and do any activities I need to get done. And while I take meetings with just about anyone who wants to meet with me, I reserve just one hour a week for these ‘office hours.’”
Don’t forget to also schedule in breaks and your lunch.
8. Network over coffee.
Yes. Coffee is good for you. So while you’re enjoying that morning cup of Joe do a little networking. For example, you could reach out and connect with colleagues on LinkedIn or Twitter. Or, you could schedule meetings with potential business partners or investors.
9. Eat the frog.
Brian Tracy, author of “Eat the Frog,” has based his morning philosophy off of a 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.”
Obviously this doesn’t mean literally eating a frog. The frog is “your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.” As the day goes on, this doesn’t just linger over our heads, we have less energy to complete this task.
Don’t put this task off until later in the day. Tackle it first thing in the morning and get it done.