According to World Health Organization (WHO), our average time as an adult is about 68 years, giving you 25,000 mornings as an adult. It's time to make the rest of your mornings count.
Set up your morning routine for success by following these tips for the best morning routine.
How to have a productive morning
The best morning routine is the one that works for you. Whether you are a morning person or prefer hitting the snooze button, having a routine can be the foundation for happier and more productive mornings.
Besides fostering wellness, a healthy daily routine can do wonders for your self-care. You'll feel more energized and happier before starting your workday.
Tip 1: Get a good night's sleep
A good night's sleep is the start we all need. Most adults need an average of seven hours of sleep every night. However, around 35% of American adults get less than the recommended number.
A little bit of planning can go a long way in helping you get that much-needed rest. Dim the lights, mute your phone, and take a warm bath to ease yourself into bed, and you'll wake up much fresher.
Tip 2: Don't hit the snooze button
Hitting the snooze button can quickly turn five minutes into an hour. Jason Aten, Inc's tech columnist, recommends setting two alarms three minutes apart. Set the second alarm for the time you want to wake up.
The rule of two-by-three conditions your mind to get up at a certain time and effectively dissuades you from sleeping in! The next time you want to press snooze, try the rule of two-by-three instead, and see if it makes a difference to your morning.
Tip 3: Start your day with a glass of water
When you wake up, the refreshing aroma of your coffee or tea can be pretty inviting! However, try starting the day with a simple glass of water.
Apart from helping you avoid dehydration, it is an effective way to enhance your mood, increase cognitive performance, and make your mornings more productive.
Tip 4: Make a daily to-do list
Many people hate the idea of starting work first thing in the morning.
We aren’t telling you to do that! However, use the peaceful early morning time to strategize and put your thoughts on paper, in a Google Doc, or on a visual Kanban board. Plan out your day instead of going with the flow.
Like “Essentialism” author Greg McKeown says, "If you don’t deliberately make your decisions, someone else will do it for you."
Tip 5: Eat a healthy breakfast
A productive workday starts with having the right fuel for your mind and body. Replenish yourself with a healthy and nutritious breakfast.
Grab your favorite coffee or tea, but also include healthier items on your menu, such as fruit smoothies, oatmeal, or a simple sandwich. Save time by meal prepping the night before so you can put together your breakfast in under 15 minutes.
Tip 6: Get active every morning
Try to incorporate some activity into your morning routine. It could be something as small as some stretching, a couple of yoga poses, 30 minutes on your home treadmill, or a walk around the block.
Do anything that gets your blood flowing. A bounce in your step shakes off that stiff feeling and prepares you to face your workday.
Tip 7: Take deep breaths
Conscious breathing has its benefits. Spend time intentionally breathing after you wake up. Be aware of each inhalation and exhalation. Whether you're working from home or commuting to your workplace, spend five minutes with yourself to do this activity.
Besides calming you down, deep breathing is a great way to reduce stress, help you focus, and bring positive energy all around.
Tip 8: Be mindful
Practice mindfulness by being intentional about everything you do. Start by being grounded and calm your mind as it flutters from one thing to another.
Tip 9: Get the most important thing done first
This is one of the most important tips on the morning routine checklist. It is so simple that you may feel that you already do this. Many people consider themselves productive if they get a lot of work done in their day. However, that's not completely true.
Yes, productivity is about getting things done. However, the focus should be on getting the most important things done, not just on any task.
Most of the world's most famous writers, scientists, and authors consistently do this as part of their morning routine, as per Mason Currey's book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.
Tip 10: Avoid social media
Stay away from your phone as you wake up. Resist the urge to answer your emails, text messages, or social media notifications.
Mindlessly reading or scrolling through social media feeds may seem like a good way to wake up, but it is a huge dampener on productivity and wastes a lot of time.
Tip 11: Follow a dedicated schedule
Getting up at the same time each day is good for your circadian rhythm, the sleep-wake-up cycle followed by the body every 24 hours. This natural and internal process controls your body and mind for wakefulness and sleep.
Tip 12: Practice gratitude
Gratitude is important at any time of the day. However, it becomes more powerful and uplifting when you start your day by giving thanks.
Research by Harvard Business School found that giving thanks is associated with elevated happiness levels, boosts your overall well-being, and improves your mental health. Anyone would love getting these positive vibes in their mornings!
Tip 13: Relax mentally and physically
According to Buddhist principles, the human mind is like a monkey. It is unsettled, restless, confused, whimsical, and so much more! Therefore, putting our minds to rest mentally and physically is essential.
Quiet the chatter within by doing a solo activity in the morning. For example, try reading a book you like or journaling if you prefer to write. Meditating in the mornings is also a science-backed way to relax your mind and body.
Tip 14: Focus on your mental health
Prioritize your mental health. Having simple self-care practices to start your day can be an effective way to mind your mental health. For people struggling with depression or anxiety, the simple act of getting out of bed can be difficult.
Britt Reints, author of An Amateur's Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness, recommends being intentional about your mornings. Make a conscious choice to put yourself first and have a regular morning routine that helps you get the hang of your workday.
Tip 15: Manage your energy
Don’t manage time. Start doing energy management and see how it goes. Energy management is the practice of managing your total energy at a given time. This practice recommends doing certain activities at specific times to increase your productivity.
For example, many writers find that their work is of a better quality when they write in the early morning when there is the least distraction around them.
Tip 16: Prep for the next day in advance
Preparing things in advance for the next day is a wonderful practice to make optimum use of your time. Besides being efficient, you’ll also find yourself less stressed and able to complete your to-do list faster.
Tip 17: Focus on what's important, not urgent
Many people make the mistake of thinking that everything is urgent. It's not.
Try to differentiate between what's important and what's urgent. Then, use an Eisenhower matrix to identify what needs your attention now and what can be done later.
Tip 18: Avoid checking your email
Attention and time are finite for everyone. Avoid wasting it on things that need not be done in the early mornings.
Sometimes, procrastination can be good — Merlin Mann thinks so. The productivity expert is credited with introducing the 'Inbox Zero' concept for email management. He believes that people shouldn't be concerned with checking their email all the time.
Keep your mornings about you and not about work by staying away from your work email. Instead, use official work times to answer emails and send replies.
Tip 19: Know your goal
Having a goal makes everything easier. Before you set or tweak your morning routine for success, spend some time thinking about what you want to achieve in each sphere of your life — personal and professional.
Do you want to spend some time alone, get healthier, be more productive, or feel happier?
For example, scheduling a workout or a walk in the morning is a no-brainer if you wish to be healthier. Consider taking out time for your favorite hobby, such as doodling, journaling, or listening to your preferred podcast episode. Identify the goal you wish to achieve and start from there.
Tip 20: Bust stress
No one likes a stressful morning. To focus entirely on the day's tasks and goals, you need to be in the moment and not worry about something in the past or future.
Stress is the biggest productivity killer. Rushing to get things done in the mornings is a surefire way to get stressed out. Instead, take the time to prep your supplies, breakfast, or workout gear the previous night so that you are all set to rule your morning.
Tip 21: Build habits
Decision fatigue happens. An American Psychological Association survey revealed that more than 33% of people are overwhelmed while making daily life decisions, such as what to wear and eat. The pandemic has accelerated this situation, where change is the only constant.
The energy spent on making daily decisions leaves you with less energy for the rest of your day. With simple daily habits, you can easily conserve your energy as decisions have already been made.
Tip 22: Listen to music
So, you have your daily schedule all figured out. However, how can you focus your mind to make sure that everything on the list gets done?
Try listening to music programmed to help you focus and cut out the distractions from your environment. For example, Focus@Will is an app with scientifically-designed music that enables you to focus and deliver higher-quality work.
A Cornell University research paper confirms the positive influence of streamlined music, which increased creative thinking and perceived focus and improved the participants' mood.
Tip 23: Empower yourself with chanting
Self-care should be a core part of your morning routine. Be your own cheerleader by visualizing your goals. Chant a mantra or affirmations to empower yourself as part of your daily wellness practice.
According to the ancient language Sanskrit, a mantra is a positive affirmation. It has been used for spiritual wellness by people practicing Hinduism and Buddhism. Macquarie University research confirms that mantras help to calm the mind, increase focus, reduce stress, and uplift mood.
"I am free to be myself" or "I will choose to be happy today" are a couple of positive affirmations to get you started.
Tip 24: Hug your pet, kid, or partner
A hug is arguably the best way to start your day on a positive note. It is universally comforting and almost instantly makes you feel good.
Scientific research corroborates that hugging reduces stress, protects you against illness, and boosts your heart health. Take a couple of minutes to pull your partner, kid, or pet close to get that warm, fuzzy feeling and start the day right!
Tip 25: Be kind to yourself
Give yourself ample time to deal with your morning routine before you show up for work. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself the space to get things done. Overworking or rushing through the morning may burn you out.
Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish poet, used to say, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Stop judging yourself if anything does not go as planned.
Everyone makes mistakes. Accept the fact that no one is perfect. Not comparing yourself with others and being supportive also helps you be compassionate and feel at peace.
Stay productive with project management software
The recommendations on this list are like a great menu from which you can pick and choose the tips that work for your personality, lifestyle, and preferences.
While mornings may look different for everyone, a great morning routine forms the foundation for a productive workday. Set up a morning routine for success that fosters happiness, helps complete your to-do list for your projects, and balances your workload.