The name of the game is being productive from the minute you wake up in the morning to the minute your head hits the pillow again. You feel like you have to be busy, busy, busy all the time if you ever want to get anywhere in this world. Increase your output, shirk your personal care, and work until you die.
In reality, the key to productivity is not more, more, more. Productivity is actually about the control and structure that produces quality over quantity. While many feel the pressure to multitask just to complete their work, draining all their energy to give the appearance of “keeping up”, the key to productivity is “less is more”.
If you’re trying to find more productivity but feel your energy is lacking, change your morning habits. These simple changes can help you start your morning with more energy and take control of your daily productivity.
I know, I’m beating a dead horse. We all know we have to drink more water, but seriously, is it that important?
There are a crazy number of benefits, but the most important is that your body is dehydrated. Have you ever tried running a marathon without water? Or done anything without drinking? It sucks. You just went 6–8 hours without drinking anything, so you need to replenish.
Not only will you rehydrate, you’ll also wake yourself up. If you feel groggy and slow moving in the mornings, a cold glass of water will help wake you up and give you a boost.
Not all of us have time to run 13 miles in the morning, lift a bunch of heavy things, or complete a mud run, but that shouldn’t keep us from at least moving. Make it small and manageable at first, like stretching, going for a brisk walk with the dogs, or doing some yoga. The idea is to get the blood pumping early, help get your muscles stretch, and break a bit of a sweat. The more oxygen you can get flowing through you, the faster you’ll wake up and get energy. Plus, it keeps that metabolism up throughout the day!
This sucks at first, but I can’t tell you how many days I’ve come out of a cold shower ready to tackle the day. It gets your blood pumping, increases your focus, and makes you want to move (mostly to try to warm up again).
It also challenges you to face a fear and jump into an uncomfortable situation. Think about it — getting into that shower might be the most difficult part of your day, and you just got it done. If it isn’t, look at you taking on a challenge right when you wake up. One small step out of your comfort zone gives you practice for tackling the rest of your day.
If you’re not into meditation, you can still practice breathing. By focusing on your breath, you take control of your body. Visualization can also be used while breathing, focusing on each of your muscles lifting and settling with each breath. Take a moment to concentrate on each part of your body, starting at the top of your head and moving to the bottom, giving yourself permission to release the stress as you breathe out. When you clear your head of the things that weigh you down, you’ll feel lighter and more energetic as you progress throughout the day.
Own your morning
If you’re prone to rushing around in the morning, barely getting out the door in time or running late, you’re adding a lot of stress — which is a massive energy suck. One step is to wake up earlier, but none of us want to do that. Instead, try to remove some of your morning tasks so you have less to worry about.
Does your shower take forever? Take a cold one so you hurry and get out in time. Do you spend too much time picking out an outfit? Set one out the night before. Are you stuck prepping lunches or breakfast when you could be getting ready? Prepare it at night and have it properly labeled in the fridge.
Sometimes to own our morning, we also have to own our night. Move any tasks you can to the night before. When you’re prepared beforehand, you reduce stress and keep your energy focused on you.
Do something fun or creative
So many of us dread the morning. We have things to do, work that we dread, and a long day of traffic and boring stuff. Why don’t we ever build something fun into our day?
I used to plan fun things during the evenings, but by the time my day was over, I was too tired to want anything to do with it. When I started shifting my fun activity to the morning, my energy and productivity skyrocketed.
Sure, there are certain things that can’t be done early in the morning (like date night, trail hiking, sightseeing), but when you build a fun or creative into your morning, you change your mindset for the better. I look forward to getting out of bed because I know I get to write. I also can get a run in, which not only completes the move habit above, it also excites me to get moving and listen to great music.
You don’t have to uproot your entire morning to find more energy in the day, and you definitely don’t have to wake up at 4 in the morning to get it all done. Maintain your sleep schedule and build these habits into your morning. You can take control of your daily productivity and give yourself energy to produce quality work.