Leon Ho |
Do you feel busy and tired or exhausted all the time? Or, do you have trouble making the most of your time because you struggle to stay alert during the day? Whether it’s due to a lack of sleep or your mind being overly preoccupied, many of us wish we had more energy and concentration to get through our day.
Some of us choose the coffee route, downing cups of coffee throughout the day to stay alert and productive. Others choose to sleep the weekend away in hopes of ‘recharging’ our bodies. But what if I told you that these are all temporary, if not ineffective, ways of boosting energy?
Starting Your Morning on the Right Note
Instead, if you truly wish to be more productive on a day to day basis, you need to find a sustainable way of renewing your body’s energy levels daily. And it’s actually really simple. It starts from the moment you wake up. That’s right, did you know that starting the morning on the right note will determine how productive you are for the rest of your day? Yet, many people don’t see the importance or need to have a morning routine.
Most mornings, we wake up likely still feeling tired from the night before, and we may even struggle to get out of bed. If you hit snooze, you end up rushing when you finally wake. To many, getting up and out of bed is really all that is needed every morning. But how you wake up each day and your morning routine or lack thereof dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life.
Introducing the Morning Routine
Hal Elrod, ultramarathoner and author of The Miracle Morning says that focused and productive mornings carry over to successful days, and ultimately successful lives. This is because having a routine creates structure, eliminates distractions, and eventually forms a habit where it becomes automatic, so that you don’t even have to think about it. Another great reason to create a morning routine is to avoid mental fatigue.
We often struggle to get through the day because we only have a certain amount of energy and willpower when we wake up each morning, and it slowly gets drained away with decisions as the day goes by. This is especially true if you’re making hundreds of small decisions in the morning that will affect how you make decisions for the remainder of the day. It’s no wonder you’re struggling to focus in the office by 4pm.
So, with this in mind, try and have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible regarding routine. Next, I’ll show you how to implement an ideal morning routine that will allow you to systematically get through the morning quickly and effortlessly. It’s a framework to help you plan and prioritize different actions that will help you to feel energized and conserve as much energy as possible for the rest of the day (where the real action takes place).
But bear in mind, it’s not a schedule. Instead, it’s about finding the best order to do different actions, that will help you feel more energized throughout the day to give you maximum productivity.
Prepare Your Body
So let’s start with the first part of the morning routine – preparing your body. Preparing your body in the morning means jump starting your body’s engine so that the energy that you have accumulated from your sleep is ready to be unleashed for the day ahead. A common belief is that if you get enough sleep you will automatically feel refreshed the next morning.
But, I’m also sure that many of you are aware this isn’t always the case. So what I want to show you is that there are other concrete steps that you can take every morning to get your body and energy levels started.
Take a runner for example. Before a race, a runner usually warms up, maybe with a leisure run or something to get their muscles and body ready for the actual competition. So similarly, after a good night’s sleep, our body has a build up of energy that is ready to be used for the new day. But, if we don’t ‘warm up’ or jump start our engine, we will not be able to effectively use that energy.
The benefits of preparing your body when you awake are that you become more alert, your body’s metabolism starts kicking, and you are able to use your energy more effectively. We’ve condensed 7 key actions that you can incorporate into your morning to awaken your body for the day ahead.
1. Wake up on time
The first is to wake up on time everyday. This helps you to regulate your sleep cycle with your body’s internal clock.
2. Open your curtains
Next, open your curtains the moment you get up. Natural light exposure helps to kickstart your body’s internal clock.
3. Make your bed
It’s as simple as that! Making your bed not only ensures you’re out of bed, but it also demonstrates discipline and order.
4. Rehydrate your body
The fourth action to take, an important one that is often neglected, is to rehydrate your body with at least 2 glasses, or 16 oz of water, the first thing after you walk out of your bedroom. Staying hydrated not only helps to kickstart your metabolism, but more importantly, after 6-8 hours without any liquid your body needs to rehydrate.
5. Do some light stretches
Once rehydration is out of the way, next do some light stretches or a quick 10 minute workout. Morning stretches or a light workout helps to wake you up from grogginess and limber up. A little physical activity also improves mental health, and reduces tension or body aches that might have developed from the days before.
6. Hop into the shower
Once you’re done with your light workout, it’s time to hop into the shower! I know this may sound almost redundant, but you’ll be surprised to find that some people do not take showers in the morning! Instead, they may take them at night before bed.
Taking a shower in the morning helps your body to wake up and it’s always good to start the day feeling and smelling fresh!
7. Have a good breakfast
Last but not least, before you leave for work, it’s important to have a good breakfast. Eating a nutritious breakfast will no doubt help to give an added boost to your energy levels.
Also, you won’t be famished when it’s near lunchtime which means you will have better control of not overeating during lunch.
Organizing Your Mind
What we’ve just gone through are ways to prepare your body physically in the morning. But there’s a little more that you can do to ensure you get the most of your day without feeling sluggish or exhausted. And that is learning to organize your mind–thoughts, actions and outstanding plans, so that your energy is prioritized for the day.
A common mindset that many people have is to just take things as they come, or wing-it throughout the day. But did you know that simply taking an extra 3-5 mins every morning to do intentional reflections and planning for the day can save you hours later in the day?
It also gives you motivation and additional drive to do more with the day ahead. Every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution. So if it takes about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, this small investment of time will save you up to two hours in wasted time and diffused effort through the day.
1. Start by doing a 5-minute reflection.
This can be done while you’re having your breakfast if you want to save on time. Reflecting helps you to clear your mind, and allows you to think about the long term goals that you’ve set for yourself. Use this time to ask yourself if you’re nearer to achieving those goals.
Write down your thoughts if need be, as it’s a stream of consciousness of whatever is on your mind, and essentially a brain dump on ideas for business, life, and other decisions. Whatever you want to clear your mind of will get your brain working and thinking more creatively.
Once you’re done, the next thing to help clean up in your mind, is to look over your to-do list. If you have a digital to-do list on your mobile device, scan through it to see what are the tasks that you need to accomplish today.
Are there any existing errands or tasks not yet complete? Prioritize them so you can see what is most urgent. This will only take a minute or two to declutter.
2. When that is done, you can now plan out your day.
Always put the most important task first so that you ensure it gets done. Try not to book any meetings or appointments until late in the afternoon if possible, as your mornings are usually the sacred hours of peak productivity.
You want to be able to use the full bar of energy you have, and the morning caffeine (if you drink coffee) towards the most important tasks.
3. Once you’ve completed the sorting and organizing, it’s time to do some leisure reading.
This can be a quick 15-20 minutes of catching up on the daily news, browsing articles online or reading a book. By doing some reading in the morning, you’re fueling your mind with knowledge and inspiration.
Reading books on mindset, personal growth, and business for example, can also give you inspiration and gets your creative juices flowing for the day.
If you don’t feel like you have the time to do this at home, try doing it while commuting to work if you take the public transport. If you walk or drive to work, you can try listening to podcasts or audiobooks as an alternative.
4. Before you leave the house, pack healthy snacks to take to work.
As trivial as this may sound, being prepared is part of organizing your mind to ready yourself for the day ahead.
Having snacks at the office will help to fill in your pre and post lunch gaps, and that will help ensure you have a constant supply of energy throughout the day and avoid afternoon slump.
5. Lastly, leave plenty of time for your daily commute.
Leave room for potential traffic delays or transportation breakdowns so that you don’t come in to work feeling flustered or rushed, as that will dampen your mood, which is a big energy sucker.
Kickstart Your Day with the Right Routines
I hope you’ll agree that having a morning routine is the best way to kickstart and ensure that you have a constant flow of energy to help you stay productive throughout the day. With every new routine takes practice and time, you may want to do a little bit of trial and error with the suggested routine to get comfortable with it.
Having a constant flow of energy is vital to help you stay alert and in control throughout the day. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to do more just because you’re lacking in energy or concentration. Besides having a morning routine, there are other routines that you can try throughout different times of the day that will help you to generate or conserve energy.
As your productivity is closely associated to your energy levels, it’s important to find new ways of keeping your body energized. If you’d like to learn about the other routines, why not subscribe to our newsletter today?