Have you ever noticed the way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day?
If you wake up late, skip breakfast, and rush out the door, you feel discombobulated all day long. There’s also something psychological about getting off on the wrong foot. You just feel bad about yourself.
However, when you get up early, feeling relaxed and organized, you’re more confident, focused, and ready to seize the day. Your head is clear of the multitude of distractions and anxieties that come with a bad start in the morning.
How we begin our days isn’t an accident. It begins with choices that we repeat over and over until they become habitual. I have a habit of checking my email first thing in the morning. It wasn’t always this way, but over time it’s become an ingrained behavior that actually diminishes my productivity.
Our days are comprised of a series of habits. Some of our habits improve us, and some make life more difficult in the long run. However, if you start your day with habits that enhance your outlook, productivity, and motivation, you’ll find you’re inspired to upgrade your habits in every aspect of your life.
Here are 10 morning habits that will kickstart productivity and success.
10 Morning Habits That Will Make You More Successful and Productive
1. Wake up early
There are a host of benefits for early risers. They get better sleep, tend to eat fewer calories, and are less prone to depression.
Also, early risers are more productive and have time for exercise, eating breakfast, and other positive morning activities like reading, time with family, and reflection.
Start by getting up five minutes earlier a day for the first week. Slowly set your alarm back by a few minutes a week until you reach your optimal time.
2. Drink a full glass of water in the morning
Drinking a big glass of water immediately after you awaken has many health benefits. It purifies your colon and improves the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients.
A healthy digestive system hydrated properly gives you glowing skin, as water removes the toxins from the blood. Drinking water also improves the creation of new blood cells and muscle cells, and helps you lose weight.
Before you go to bed at night, put a glass of water by your bed. After your alarm goes off, but before you get out of bed, drink the full glass.
3. Make your bed
According to a Navy Seal, Admiral William McRaven, making the bed may be the best way to start off your day. He says, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.
4. Set 3-4 daily goals
Setting three to four big goals for your day first thing in the morning gives you benchmarks for daily productivity. It also helps you create specific tasks to address your bigger monthly or quarterly goals.
Three or four goals is a good number, as they can be spaced out during the day. You can do two in the morning before lunch and two in the afternoon, or complete one in the morning, one at midday, and one in the late afternoon.
Three or four goals isn’t overwhelming — it’s realistic. If you finish them early, you can always set more.
5. Eat breakfast with your family
Research shows eating breakfast as a family has a positive impact on the health of family members, particularly adolescents.
A University of Minnesota study found that eating together as a family improved diet quality and lowered the risk for becoming overweight. It’s also beneficial for your family relationships, as you begin your day with connection and communication.
6. Perform your hardest goal first
Mark Twain suggest, ““Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
You don’t have to eat a frog, but getting that weighty, dreaded task or goal out of your way gives you energy for the rest of your day. Procrastination creates anxiety and makes you feel bad about yourself.
7. Exercise early
It’s not easy to get your body moving first thing in the morning, but research shows people who exercise in the morning stick to their workout plans better than those who wait until later.
Also, working out in the morning can actually increase the positive impact that exercise has on your heart, and morning exercise helps your body burn calories faster and more efficiently throughout the day.
8. Set a timer for productivity
To increase your productivity, set a timer for a period of time during which you work on a project or goal without stopping.
The timer motivates you to work harder without quitting, and it gives you the comfort of knowing you’ll have a break within a certain amount of time.
This is known as the Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s, whereby you work in timed intervals of traditionally 25 minutes, separated by short breaks. This time management method is based on the idea that frequent breaks improve mental agility.
9. Remove distractions
Sustained focus is the cornerstone of productivity and success. The increasing number of distractions around us make in nearly impossible to focus unless we mindfully eliminate them.
Over 90% of (the US) population reports they multitask, performing one task while distracted with another. These distractions affect memory and performance, but resisting distractions builds a strong bond in your memory, allowing you to hold on to your original task.
10. Batch your tasks
Batching your tasks is a form of time management where you dedicate blocks of time to similar tasks so you can decrease distractions and improve productivity.
Batching helps you boost creativity and mental sharpness, as well as decrease fatigue, procrastination, and stress. After each batch of similar tasks, you take a planned break to recharge, and then move on to another batch of tasks.
Developing these morning habits will be life-changing. Over time you’ll notice you’re getting more done, you feel more relaxed and focused, and you feel happier and more motivated in general.
If you want to begin creating these morning habits, begin with one habit at a time. Work on it for six to eight weeks until it becomes automatic, and then begin another new habit.
Barrie Davenport is a personal coach, author of several self-improvement books, and founder of the top-ranked sites Live Bold and Bloom and Barrie Davenport.com. She is also the creator of Sticky Habits Course, teaching the simple formula for sustainable habits.
Photo by Anders Dalsgaard