The way you spend your morning can dictate how you spend your day. Just a few simple tweaks to your morning can boost your productivity and improve your mood. There’s a reason the world’s most famous people have rituals they stick to before breakfast — they know what works for them.
It’s time to find out what works for you. Your first steps toward success might involve some trial and error. Test out some new routines, try a few hacks here and there, and see how your day is affected.
Some people rely on caffeine to get their day started. But, like with alcohol, you can build up a tolerance to caffeine quickly. Where you may have been jolted awake by a small cup of tea in years past, you may now find yourself needing a double-shot of espresso to even get yourself out the front door. There are foods you can add to your breakfast to get even more caffeine — but stimulants might not be what you need.
You might need to make some alterations to your morning schedule. Are you dragging yourself out of bed after five hits to the snooze button, tugging on some clothes, and rushing out the door? Do you constantly find yourself running late? Are the only tasks to your morning stressful? It’s no wonder you don’t feel refreshed when you finally make it out the front door. Try a few of these morning hacks to simplify your life and set yourself up for a day of success
Each one of these is a mere suggestion — if you try to create your own new morning routine, don’t force it. Know yourself. If it isn’t working, trying to force yourself into a habit is just going to waste time and take away from the value of your morning. The only essentials for a morning that sets you up for success? Waking up on time and eating a nutritious breakfast.
Tons of people do it — set their alarms for nine minutes earlier than they actually need to get up, then continuously press snooze until finally crawling out of bed. But hitting snooze actually messes with your brain for the rest of the day. You’re starting a whole new sleep cycle and interrupting it on purpose, leaving you feeling groggy and tired for hours after.
Food isn’t the only fuel your body needs in the morning — you also need water. Dehydration can cause lethargy, brain fog, and other annoying symptoms. Start your day with a large glass of water to hydrate and wake up your digestive system before you eat. Some people swear by lemon water — no matter if you add a lemon or not, it’s best to drink your water cold. The cold temperature of the water will wake you up more effectively than drinking it warm.
Mornings can be really busy; you’re scrambling to get yourself together and get out the door. You need to eat a quality breakfast to get the most out of your morning — that much you know. But the way you eat the most important meal of the day has an effect on you, too. Savor and enjoy your breakfast; eating while relaxed and while sitting down can actually affect your digestion, helping you to absorb more nutrients.
Not only does the natural light from the sun trigger your brain to feel more awake, but you’ll start your day with a little extra vitamin D, as well. Vitamin D is important for your mood and overall productivity; plus, if you’re deficient in the vitamin you may experience some uncomfortable side effects. Prevent these roadblocks to your day and sit outside for a minute, even if it’s just while you drink your coffee or check your phone.
Keeping your phone by your bed can wake you up at night and mess with your sleep cycles. Plus, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, it’s a good way to give yourself an opportunity to press snooze and put off getting out of bed. If you hear your alarm from far away and are forced to get up to turn it off, you’ll effectually force yourself awake.
There’s nothing more frustrating than scouring your home for a lost scarf or umbrella. It’s even more infuriating if you can’t find it right when you need to leave. You might not recognize what the weather’s like outside until you’re running out the door — when that happens, you don’t want to be caught off guard. Keep all the things you might need to grab in one spot, readily available, so you don’t have to search at the last minute in a panic.
Both your sleeping environment and the temperature of your room in the morning could benefit from being a little cold. People are able to get the highest-quality sleep when the surrounding air is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. In the morning, it might make it tougher to get out of bed; but once you’re up, you’ll wake up and change faster if it’s chilly.
No matter how many times you recite to yourself before bed the things you need to accomplish the next morning, you may still forget. Avoid a snafu simply by writing things down. It can help you feel less stressed and more centered when you’re trying to sleep, plus help you plan ahead for the following morning.
Listening to music in the morning can serve a double purpose. Not only can you use it to boost your mood and increase your energy, but it can also serve as a time-keeper for getting ready. For instance, you might mandate that you need to be dressed and ready by the time the fifth song ends. You’ll have ample warning, so the time won’t get away from you.
Some people cherish the time they get to themselves in the morning; but talking to the people in your household can improve your mood and better prepare you for the rest of your day. Thrive off of the available social energy — share what you have planned for the day, laugh at a joke or two, or make plans to look forward to later.
Grabbing a breakfast bar on the way out the door just isn’t going to cut it — despite their name, those aren’t really breakfast. Sure, some are healthier than others. But you want a nice balance of carbs, protein, and fats to start your day. The fats will help your brain work better, the protein will keep you satiated, and the carbs will give you energy. You probably want all three of those things. Some simple prep the night before can save you the scramble. Keep some prepped breakfasts in your freezer or prepare a batch of overnight oats the night before.
You’ll thank yourself later. Going hungry can derail your productivity and drain your brain power. On the other hand, always buying snacks can waste a lot of money — and you may end up making snack choices that you don’t really want. Throw a snack or two in your bag before you leave — maybe one of these healthy options, which can help fuel your workday.
De-cluttering your space de-clutters your mind. But cleaning your whole house before your day has even begun can seem overwhelming. The mess only really gets bad if you let it — put things away here and there to avoid a buildup. You might consider mandating that every morning, you put away three items that are lying around.
Reading improves your overall focus, memory, and attention span — it’s been proven by science. But scrolling through Twitter doesn’t count. Buy yourself a novel or read up about a few of your interests. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, it can center you and prepare you for the rest of your day.
It sounds really complicated to plan this out, but we promise it’s not. Your REM sleep cycle is 90 minutes long. In an ideal world, you could always wake up at the end of one of these cycles, optimizing your body’s natural hormone responses to waking up and avoiding grogginess as a result. If you’re going to bed at 11 and waking up at 7, consider setting your alarm for 6:30 instead. We know you’re missing out on an extra 30 minutes of sleep, but you might benefit from the alignment of your sleep cycles more than you would the mere minutes of slumber.
Some coffee makers have the option to set a time the night before to automatically begin to brew in the morning. You’ll take a task off your morning to-do list and you’ll get to wake up to the calming, rich aroma of freshly-brewed coffee.
Some people prefer to get their workouts done in the early hours of the morning; other people would never. It doesn’t really make a difference to your health goals whether you work out early or later in the day. But it does make a difference in your day if you spend most of your morning completely sedentary. Moving your body for just 10 minutes releases a neurotransmitter called GABA. This chemical triggers your brain to better handle nervous impulses and can help your day feel less stressful. Try getting your blood moving with some type of exercise — whether it is walking, running, or stretching — before the rest of your stressful day begins.
Why not catch up on the news or learn something interesting while you’re getting ready? Listening to a podcast in the morning gets your brain engaged and get you thinking about the things you care about — it’s a productive and fulfilling way to ease into the day.
It might sound silly, but using the sun to decide when to wake up makes a lot of logical sense. You’ll optimize the hours of sunlight you experience, which can drastically affect your mood. You’ll have an easier time waking up if you slowly drift to consciousness alongside sunlight that drifts through your window.
A gigantic to-do list could actually adversely affect your productivity instead of helping it. Staring at a long list of tasks is just making your anxiety worse. Pick two tasks that are important for you to accomplish by the time you fall asleep. You’ll have a better outline of your day and feel less overwhelmed by the mountain of miscellaneous tasks that you can accomplish on a later date. Now that you’ve got your morning routine down, it’s time to try out a bedtime routine, too — these simple rituals could guarantee you a better night’s sleep.
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