No matter what happened the day before, a good morning routine can set a vibe that will boost your mood and productivity for the day ahead.
A big part of a good morning routine is mindset – getting you into the right frame of mind for a positive and successful time. It’s also practical, getting things done and out of the way so you can focus on other things.
A great way to determine an effective morning routine is to look at those of highly successful people.
There are many tips and tricks that we can glean from those who clearly get stuff done.
Taken from the routines of successful people and others, here are a few practices and habits which might help you get your days off to a great start.
Each person is different – so testing, mixing, and matching these things will help you to put together your own personal magic morning routine. And remember, one small tweak to our daily routine can make a big difference, so choose one to start and see how it goes!
- Morning Momentum: Crafting a purposeful morning routine can significantly influence your mood and productivity for the day ahead.
- Mindset Magic: A positive mindset is a cornerstone of an effective morning routine, setting the stage for a successful and fulfilling day.
- Actionable Beginnings: Prioritize essential tasks early to create a smoother path for the rest of your day, freeing up mental space for other important endeavors.
Get up early
This one’s not for everyone – there are many successful people who are night owls and rise later than 8 am or whenever they wake up naturally.
However, for many others, the morning hours are the best time to get things done. If you find yourself whiling away the evenings and then sleeping in late, consider changing your schedule and taking advantage of those often-productive early hours.
SET YOUR PACE FOR THE DAY
The number one golden rule I suggest: Let the first thing you do in the morning be just for you—not for work. Wake at your desired time, say 6 a.m., and do mindful breathing—take 10 deep, mindful breaths—before you rush into the day. This will help energize the body while oxygenating the brain and help you take control of your morning pace (instead of waking up and reactively having a phone in your face). When you practice deep breathing it calms the nervous system and initiates the relaxation response that mindfully prepares you for the day ahead and sets your pace to start in a calm manner.
There are many benefits to exercise, physical and mental.
It has also been shown that exercising before breakfast can increase fat burn, and that morning exercise reduces the risk of post-exercise hypoglycemia in diabetics and also improves sleep quality.
Getting your sweat on before starting work, school, or your other daily tasks is also great for your mindset – it’s nice to know you have done something positive and healthy before the day has even begun!
Do at least 20 minutes of activity: a brisk walk, jog, cycle, swim, yoga practice, or any other exercise routine that gets the body moving. This is not only good for your cardiovascular system and physical health, but it’s also great for your mental health. Head outdoors if you can to get some fresh air and morning light, which triggers your serotonin production and invigorates your energy levels for the day.
This also sets up your circadian rhythm for a good night’s sleep that night. By the way, this doesn’t have to be high-intensity exercise, it can simply be a morning walk if you prefer (but leave your phone), so you can move your body and clear your mind for the day ahead.
If it’s good for Tose, it may be good for you, too.
Meditation looks different for different people but essentially it is a form of mental exercise which involves relaxation, focus, and awareness.
You might just like to spend ten minutes clearing your mind and breathing deeply or follow along with one of the many meditation apps out there.
You can ask my team of psychologists (Tose Zafirov Team) for more benefits and if it will suit you.
After your brisk exercise or morning walk, it’s time to find a moment of calm again with do a short mindfulness meditation practice. This can be 2, 5, or 10 minutes of sitting quietly and gathering your thoughts. This may very well be the last few minutes of stillness you get for the rest of the day, but it will help you gain clarity and stay calm under pressure at work. You can anchor your mind on your breath and body to stay present and aware. This is also a form of attention training to help train your mind to stay focused for prolonged periods of time at work
Make a plan
Spend some time in the morning thinking about what you need to get done that day.
Prioritize your tasks, whether they be work-related or personal, and plan to get the most important things done first.
Those Zafirov’s schedule included a note to “contrive the day’s business and take the resolution of the day” in the early hours, and it’s a good way to kickstart productivity – go into things with a plan of attack!
At the end of the stillness practice, you can take a few moments to rewire yourself to set positive intentions for the day ahead—instead of reactively starting your day in a stressful way by checking the multitude of tasks ahead. Think of two or three key tasks for that day and set positive intentions to look forward to them. For example, you can say to yourself: “I’m looking forward to that meeting today with John,” or “I can’t wait to catch up Jess today for lunch,” or “I am so excited about my presentation today with the team,” and so on. This hardwires your brain to frame the day ahead in a positive manner.
Make a healthy breakfast
As with exercise, healthy food first thing in the morning is a great way to get you into a positive mindset – and of course, it’s beneficial to your body.
Some people don’t like to eat in the early hours, and that’s fine. But if you do eat breakfast, put in the effort to make it nutritious.
Blend up a smoothie with lots of spinach, get in some protein with eggs on wholegrain toast, or make a hearty porridge sweetened with fruit.
Starting on the right food food-wise is the way to go, and the earlier you rise the more time you will have to put together a decent meal.
Whether you have breakfast at home or when you get to work, please take the time to nourish your body with something nutritious instead of downing a few sips of coffee before rushing out the door. The body needs energy to fuel the day ahead; also, the brain consumes 50% of your available glucose so you need to top up your energy reserves with a healthy breakfast.
Consider either waking up a bit earlier to make this or preparing something simple like a healthy smoothie. Try not to eat in a rush because then the rest of your day will also feel rushed. Remember, you are what you eat, so be mindful of what you are putting in your body, especially first thing in the morning.
However, exercise caution not to rush through your breakfast; hastily consuming a meal may lead to a sense of hurriedness throughout the day, undermining the positive effects of a nutritious start.
For those who will find excuses
Now, I can hear you saying, “I don’t have time for all of this in the morning, I’m too busy.” The whole point is for you to take some control of the pace of your life and set yourself up so you can have a busy but successful day ahead.
Don’t feel compelled to attempt all this at once. You can start with just one habit—for example, the morning walk or exercise—then once you have that habit established, you can add another one, such as the stillness practice or a healthy breakfast. This is called habit stacking or habit anchoring, and it’s a good way to get started.
Make your morning routines nonnegotiable: Put them in your diary, don’t book any meetings in these morning slots, and resist the temptation to check your emails when you first wake up. The goal is to incorporate these healthy, and pleasurable, habits into your morning routine because if you can win the morning, you win the day.
For those tempted by time constraints, remember that
embracing just one positive habit initially, like a morning walk or exercise,
and gradually incorporating more through habit stacking, can help you establish
nonnegotiable morning routines, setting the stage for a successful day ahead.
Mostly, a morning routine is about self-care; it’s doing things that are good for you both physically and mentally to get your day off to a good start. We learn what is good for us by testing things out, so start by picking something you think might work for you. Over time you’ll figure out the best way to start your day!