Your morning routine sets the tone, pace, and productivity for the day, which is why it is one of the essential parts of any schedule. However, the best morning routine is the one that suits your natural rhythm as well as your daily needs, so it must be built around you—rather than pulled from the pages of a productivity book.
That said, there’s no point reinventing the wheel, so we’re going to look at some of the fundamentals that anyone can apply, including planning, getting enough rest, and (as you probably already guessed) doing some morning exercise.
The Golden Rules for Having A Productive Morning
Everyone’s morning routine will be a little different depending on what you do, how you operate, and what you need from your day. However, there are a few golden rules for a productive morning routine that will set anyone up for success!
Make Sure You Have Everything Planned the Day Before
Don’t leave planning for the morning! Waking up with all the day’s tasks whirring around your mind puts you two steps behind before you’ve even begun. Moreover, using up valuable mental energy to make simple decisions in the morning can hinder your ability to make more important ones later on.
When you’re busy thinking about your plan for the day, you’re less engaged with the here and now. That inevitably leads to the kind of mistakes we’re all used to making first thing in the morning – keys left in pockets, the sudden realization that you were supposed to defrost a chicken – you know the ones.
What’s more, if you spend the morning planning your day, you’re not getting anything productive done. Instead, you’ll end up wasting energy on prep instead of productivity and the tasks you have to tick off.
Planning the evening beforehand gives you a general schedule for the morning, freeing you up to be more productive and engaged rather than wracking your brain about things you’ve forgotten. Some people scribble lists on paper, but creating an online, editable To-Do and Task list can boost productivity before your day has even started.
Spike provides the tools you need and templates to free you up to focus on what’s important. Online Notes offers private or collaborative notes right within your inbox so that you can scribble out your thoughts, plans, and ideas for the day ahead. What’s more, Spike offers Tasks for a more structured daily plan, with To-Do lists built right in for granular task tracking and maximized productivity.
Recharge, Rest, and Relax
Perhaps the only thing more important than getting things done is doing nothing at all. Getting a decent night’s sleep, with plenty of rest, is vital for a productive day. On the other hand, a lack of sleep can have severe implications for cognitive abilities as well as short- and long-term health.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean getting an early night, despite what high-powered workers may have told you in the past. A good night’s rest is the one that suits your cycle, and people increasingly realize that all of us are different. We each have our internal clock, and the best morning routine is the one in sync with our natural rhythm.
The classic “early bird” pattern has been praised for so long because it fits with the 9 to 5 narrative, but those who sleep and wake later (aka night owls) can be just as productive in their own time. These days, with increased flexibility in many jobs, working 9 to 5 is looking a little archaic.
If you run a company, the idea of having employees working at different times can be scary, but at the end of the day, it will help boost productivity at your business. The biggest hurdle is keeping good communication while not speaking all the time, which is why many people are looking towards asynchronous communication.
Asynchronous communication is rooted in the idea that not everyone needs to be in the same place at the same time to collaborate effectively. What is needed is a digital workspace, such as Spike, with tools that allow people to access information when it suits them – such as Online Notes, emails, File Management, and collaborative Tasks.
Create The Right Productive Morning Routine for Your Headspace
Just as each person has their own rhythm, everyone must create a routine based on their own thought processes and thinking patterns. There are many ways to do this based on your individual needs, but some overall principles can help anyone find their flow.
Hal Elrod, the author of “The Miracle Morning,” a productivity book based around morning routines, put forward six practices for the best morning routine, which can be adapted depending on, for example, online needs:
This can be anything from just sitting in bed through meditation to simply staring out of the window. It’s just the chance to settle the mind before your day begins.
No need to go overboard, just a couple of sentences to outline what you need to achieve for the day.
This means picturing what you want to achieve and where you’ll be by the end of the day, putting you in a positive position.
Part of basically every morning routine, whether you wake at 6 am or 1 in the afternoon. We’ll talk more about this later.
Elrod recommends books about personal development or similar so you can glean information, but do what works for you – if you’re looking to get creative, maybe a bit of short fiction might help!
Basically, write something down. This could be a daily journal, a list of ideas, or just a stream of consciousness. Make a book or keep it online so you can reference it throughout the day.
Many of these practices can be seen in the routines of famous people, such as James Joyce, who, after waking at around 10 am would eat breakfast and then sit in quiet contemplation for an hour. Or L. Rafael Reif, President of M.I.T., who gets up at around 5 am but always makes sure to read over breakfast.
Pick and choose what works for you and adapt what doesn’t so you can create a productive morning routine. Don’t be afraid to try different things, wake at different times, and change things up – just leave enough time for things to settle in.
Move Your Body
Human beings are not stationary creatures! We are made to move in whatever way we can. The amount and intensity of the exercise will depend on the individual, but everyone should try to include some kind of movement in their morning routine.
Exercise in the morning has been shown to help create a productive morning routine as well as boost your body across the board. Some of the ways that studies have found it to help are:
Morning Movement = Healthier Food Choices
A 2018 study, “The inﬂuence of 15-week exercise training on dietary patterns among young adults”, found that despite not being told to, the participants who stuck with the program made healthier food choices. Thus, a bit of morning movement could mean kicking the mid-morning snacks.
Exercise is a natural mood booster and stress reliever. So, if you find yourself waking with pressure on your shoulders for the day ahead, a bit of morning movement could help reduce the anxiety and set you up for a more positive day.
A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that exercising in the morning improved attention, visual learning, and decision-making skills. The improvement in cognitive abilities brought about by exercise could be further boosted by ensuring regular breaks throughout the day (see: Recharge, Rest, and Relax).
The More you Move, the More you Move.
A 10-year-old study found that taking exercise in the morning led to increased movement throughout the day. That means a little movement in your morning routine could pay dividends for the next 24 hours – well worth it!
Morning Movement Means Better Sleep
A 2014 study found that they got better sleep on the days that the participants exercised at 7 am. That means that movement as part of your morning routine can help you improve your overall morning routine in a positive loop!
If you don’t think you have enough time to get moving in the morning, you’re wrong! Here’s a popular 10-minute workout that can fit perfectly in any productive morning routine:
How To Have a Productive Morning Routine – The Wrap-Up
A productive morning routine is a personal morning routine, so the first step to creating yours is figuring out: a) what you need and b) your natural rhythms. Beyond that, a few fundamentals can apply to any morning routine, such as decent sleep, good planning, and a bit of morning movement.
If you’re interested in other tips and tricks to boost your productivity, check out the Spike Blog today. If you’ve got any morning routine practices that work for you, let us know by tweeting us @SpikeNowHQ.
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