We’ve all heard the tell-tale tactics of successful people and that their morning routines are a large part of their accomplishments. Certainly you can attribute some parts of your daily life that helped you launch your business and keep it running successfully. Routines, of any kind, provide stability and expectations for people, which make it easier to tackle business objectives and whatever else life might throw their way. As Mike Vardy, entrepreneur and productivity strategist, said,
“Routines are the ideal way to bookend your day. I think they are the building blocks of effectiveness, efficiency, and efficacy.”
Today, we’re going to dig into a few morning tricks that are guaranteed to start your day off of on the right foot. These tried-and-true tips are easy to swap into your routine, and position you to have a more productive day.
Don’t hit snooze
Get up when your alarm goes off! As tempting as it is to hit snooze, those extra five minutes can quickly turn into 30 and then your morning is rushed and frantic. That’s no way to begin your day. Rising with your alarm provides you the time you deem necessary to complete your morning routine without stress and allows you to kick off the day with a clear head. If your alarm makes you cringe, find a sound that is pleasing to you and gently wakes you up instead of stopping your heart due to its blaring sound. Once you get into this rhythm, you’ll wish you had started sooner!
Do something active. Moving your body in the morning helps wake you up and get your system working. It’s an energizing practice, even when you’re yawning through the first few minutes of your work out. Walk outside, do yoga, take a spin class. Whatever helps you clear your mind and get your blood pumping will ultimately benefit you throughout the day.
We know we sound like your mother, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Countless successful entrepreneurs include a hearty breakfast in their morning routine and you should, too! Eating in the morning revs your metabolism and provides the energy needed to get your day started with a bang. And since you’ve already worked out, you need to refuel your body to avoid injuries. Stumped as to where to start? Consider any of these 34 options courtesy of Greatist.
image via Dolly and Oatmeal
Populate your to-do list
Document everything you need to do today. Write out tasks in one place so you have a visual of your daily objectives. Make sure to prioritize them so you know where to start and what needs the most attention. Some people prefer handwritten lists while others favor online list making tools like Evernote or Teux Deux. Decide on a system that works for you and holds you accountable. Personally, the action of crossing off a completed task from my notepad gives me great satisfaction, so I’m pen and paper all the way.
Revise your to-do list
Now that you have generated your to-do list, take control of your day and reprioritize your list. Place the most daunting task at the top and tackle it head-on. When you’ve completed it – or made as much progress as possible – you’ll feel satisfied and your other tasks for the day will seem like easily surmountable items. You’ll feel a weight lifted by getting your big scary item out of the way, and then the rest of your day will fly by as you check everything else off your list.
Conquer your calendar
Sit down for five to ten minutes in the morning and review your schedule and add in any necessary appointments, either with yourself or others, to guarantee you accomplish everything you want to that day. Personal preference comes into play whether you prefer digital or paper agendas, but no matter what device you use to track your time, limit yourself to one calendar. While this may all seem intuitive so far, we’re about to go one step further: schedule everything you can think of! Block off time to complete your high priority items, schedule down to the minute so you know what to expect throughout the day. Allot time to respond to emails, check in with colleagues, draft a proposal, eat lunch, etc. Having your time allocated in such a specific way ensures you stay on track and focused on your daily, weekly, or monthly objectives.
Naturally, emergencies and pressing issues will arise that set your schedule off-course, but 90% of the time, having your day delineated by appointments and time slots will increase your productivity.
Our go-to digital system is Google Calendar because you can host multiple calendars (personal, work, etc.) in one place and color-code them. This makes filtering your daily responsibilities simple and gives you a quick snapshot of your day. However, old-fashion paper planners hold a special place in our hearts and writing in appointments gives a certain level of gratification. Our favorites include:
Whatever your style, try this method and watch your productivity soar.
Check your inbox, but only respond to urgent emails
You’re going to check your email in the morning, but when you do, only respond to critical messages. Everything else can wait until you’re in the office and officially in business mode. Urgent means emergency, so if it can wait another hour or two, let the message sit and move on with your morning. This takes a lot of self-control and practice, but it’s worth attempting. You’ll quickly develop a system for determining what critical means to you and how to manage your emails without destroying your morning routine.
Say thank you
While you’re scanning your inbox, take a minute to send a short note of appreciation or thanks to someone. Happiness is contagious and this is your opportunity to brighten someone’s day. Sending an email to a colleague, friend, or business associate spreads goodwill and is guaranteed to enhance the recipient’s day. These small acts of kindness will engender a certain mentality in the workplace and your network will associate you and your business as one of integrity and consideration. Who wouldn’t want those positive outcomes from such small daily actions?
image via Shutterstock
Create a space for everything
As a business owner, you wear many hats from executive to administrative assistant, and naturally your mind is constantly running. To reduce stress and save time in the morning, create designated spaces for all of your daily necessities. Assign places for your bag, shoes, keys, and phone charger so you never have to second guess where they are before you head off to business meeting.
Equally important is preparing for your day the night before. Prep your breakfast, lunch, and snacks in your evening hours so you can quickly grab them throughout the day. Having everything ready to go and easily accessible allows you to maintain your focus during business hours and not be distracted by the “what will I have for lunch?” question. It only takes a few minute at night, and you’ll be thankful for the extra time it allots you throughout the day. Identify the things you need to have with you every day and figure out a system that allows you to automate your morning so you can put your mental energy into your business instead of small tasks.
You’re now equipped to hit the ground running from the moment you wake up. Will you integrate any (or all) of these tips into your morning? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.