We know it’s hard to get out from under the covers when the alarm goes off, but making the most of mornings is more important than you might think. How many successful business people do you know who sleep in? Exactly.
Believe it or not, our willpower is greatest in the early a.m., and our bodies even experience a surge of cortisol about 20 to 30 minutes after rolling out of bed, giving us an extra boost of brain power. Trust the evidence — CEOs, government officials, and entrepreneurs all rise early (sorry, nightowls) and have been found to be more proactive and productive for doing so. Check out some other morning habits that will help you keep your business on the up and up.
1. No snoozing
The snooze button is tempting, but don’t give in. Oversleeping equals a frazzled morning, which sets the wrong tone for the day. If rising and shining is a perennial problem, it’s time to examine your sleep hygiene. Most experts recommend adults get between seven and nine hours a night to stay healthy and alert, so if you need to get up at 5 a.m. (ouch), that means you need to hit the hay at 10 p.m. at the latest.
2. Avoid reading email until you’re out of bed
It may sound counterintuitive, but hear us out. Before you get bogged down in what your inbox is shouting, take the time to set your own personal priorities for the day. This will help you keep focused on what is actually important instead of falling victim to what your email says is most pressing.
3. Exercise or meditate
Whether you prefer reciting oms or affirmations or taking a jog around the park, meditation and exercise help clear the mind to keep you focused on the day ahead. It’s also a good time for daydreaming about future achievements. This kind of positive visualization, even if you only do it for one minute, will improve your mood and outlook about the day’s workload.
4. Eat a healthy breakfast
Protein, fruit, vegetables, and even a cup of tea or coffee will fuel your morning. Consider it the necessary brain boost to get you going.
5. Set goals and priorities
Take Monday mornings to set the week’s goals. Then, before you head to the office, take stock of what needs to happen that day. Make a list and jot down notes about the top three things you need to accomplish when your mind is clearest and sharpest. While in the shower, make a mental map of what the day ahead will look like. After all, this might be the only quiet, uninterrupted time of your day. Then, when things start to get hectic, you can refer back to this list and recalibrate.
6. Check in over your morning cup of Joe
Now let’s get down to business. Look over email, take a peek at social media, and make checking in on metrics one of your best daily practices. At a glance, you’ll be able to see the prior day’s sales as well as other important data that may influence your to-do items.
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7. Tackle tough things first
We all have that one thing on our to-do list that we’re absolutely dreading. Here’s a pro tip: Do the least desirable task first. You’re more equipped to handle a tough assignment first thing when your brain has the most energy. And then you can cross it off your list. Not only will it make the rest of the day easier and more pleasant, but it also starts you off with a real sense of accomplishment.
8. Be habitual and consistent
Create a morning routine and stick to it. Habits help your mind and body reset in preparation for the tasks ahead. That means waking up at the same time every day — yes, even on the weekend (we’re looking at you, Sunday sleepyhead).
Now that you’ve been awakened to the benefits of productive morning habits, get after your day.