If your morning involves feverishly jolting out of bed after hitting your snooze button several times your morning is likely in need of a makeover. Developing a productive morning routine is essential to being successful as an entrepreneur.
Successful entrepreneurs are notorious for being early risers. Wondering why? The morning is often the one time of day that is relatively free of distraction. This makes it the perfect time to focus on getting the most important things done for the day.
The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma shows how embracing a morning routine can deliver epic results. Robin recommends utilizing the first hour of your day to drive personal growth and get the most out of life. As the book explains, all of us have limited mental capacity or cognitive bandwidth. As the day goes on, our attention is given to more and more things: work, the news, social media, etc.
Since all of these things require mental capacity and bandwidth our ability to concentration diminishes as the day goes on. By the end of the day, you end up feeling completely exhausted and become resigned to “just doing it tomorrow” and binge-watching The Real Housewives instead. Here are 8 ways to improve your morning routine and take control of your day:
If you’re dreading the morning, a great way to put your mind at ease is to prepare for your busy morning the night before. Some simple activities you can do the night before include:
Taking a shower: Taking a shower is a great way to decompress before bedtime and has the added effect of allowing you to wake-up clean in the morning. The night time is also a great time for doing more time-intensive tasks like washing your hair and shaving.
Packing your bag: If your day involves being on the road then packing your bag the night before is a great way to reduce stress in the morning. Packing your gym bag or preparing lunches in advance will allow you to simply grab your bag and go in the morning.
Pick an outfit: Going through your closet in the morning in search of your favorite black turtleneck can be hella stressful, so save that drama and pick out your outfit the night before. Be sure to take a look at the weather forecast, so your properly prepared for rain or snow.
I know… you probably hate this one. I get it. You’re not a morning person. I’m not a morning person either. As a matter of fact, no one is. Being a morning person is not some innate trait that a few gifted people are born with. Being a morning person is, like anything else, a skill that we develop over time.
First things first, waking up earlier is not something you want to approach drastically. Start off with small incremental changes, like waking up 5 minutes earlier every day. So if you currently wake up at 7 am and your goal is to wake up at 6 am – work up to this goal over a two week period.
Another key to waking up earlier is defining your “why”? If you have an understanding for why you want to wake up earlier and what you plan to achieve during those extra hours in the morning than you’ll have a reason to get excited about waking up earlier.
Did you know that snoozing actually makes you more tired? As it turns out, hitting that snooze button can actually leave you feeling drowsy for the rest of the day. When you hit the snooze button on your alarm, you throw off your body’s natural sleep rhythm. Believe it or not, your body actually starts waking up way before your alarm goes off by raising your body temperature and releasing chemicals that increase your “awakeness”.
When you go back to sleep after you hit the snooze button your body actually gets confused and causes you to go into sleep inertia. This is often why no matter how many time you snooze, you still don’t feel rested enough to get up. You only get up because you realize you overslept and are forced to.
So how do you overcome the snooze button? Placing my alarm clock on the other side of the room has been a game-changer for helping me wake up early. Since I have to physically, wake up to turn off the alarm clock by the time I turn off the alarm I’m already on my feet so I just resign to staying up. It also helps to remind yourself that snoozing will just may you sleepier in the long run.
Tired of kicking off the morning by sleepwalking into the kitchen to groggily make a cup of coffee? Instead of making a beeline for the French press machine, instead, try drinking a large glass of water. As it turns out, most of the sluggishness we feel in the morning is actually due to dehydration and not from a lack of caffeine. Dehydration can actually make you feel extremely tired.
Water on an empty stomach not your thing? Try mixing it with a little coconut water to increase the sodium level and temper the stomach. After you properly hydrate, try to follow it up with herbal tea or lemon water to promote digestion and naturally boost your energy level. Still feeling sluggish after all this? By all means, indulge in your morning coffee!
Starting your day with a morning meditation can gently release grogginess and help set the condition for a more successful day. Incorporating a daily wake-up meditation is a great way to ease into your day. While meditation can be beneficial at any hour, morning meditation can be particularly satisfying since mornings are often quieter and free from distractions.
Additionally, since mornings are often stress-free, when you practice morning meditation you can spend less time winding down and can immediately start your practice. Adding a 5-minute meditation to your morning routine is a great way to strengthen your mental focus and clarity.
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of morning meditation, how about incorporating a little morning yoga as well? If you believe in the mantra of doing the hardest thing in the morning, then you’ll definitely want to add working out to your morning routine.
For years, I struggled with the idea of working out in the morning. Morning workouts are challenging because they require several conditions to be met to have a successful workout. For starters, you have to be awake (like really awake), and secondly, you need energy to actually have a productive workout.
However, if you can commit to a morning workout this is an incredible way to start your day. Waking up early and heading to the gym before the rest of the world needs something from you means you’re more likely to exercise regularly. It’s a lot easier to blow off a workout after work, say because a friend is unexpectedly in town or something comes up at work to derail you. Additionally, morning workouts are one of the best ways to feel energized and prepared for the rest of your day.
As creative entrepreneurs, we are often forced to create content under the pressure of impending deadlines and what often seems like unending distractions. Devoting 30 minutes to writing in the morning can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing. According to The Writing Cooperative, some of the best writers had morning writing rituals. In fact, Barbara Kingsolver and Haruki Murakami reportedly wake up at 4 am to write!
I’m not suggesting you wake up at 4 am, however, there’s no doubt about it, for many, the brain performs better in the morning. Why? If you want to get all sciency this is when the prefrontal cortex is most active which makes the brain more creative.
Not a writer? Ever work late to try to solve a challenging problem, only to take a look at it the next morning and the solution is suddenly staring you in the face? The prefrontal cortex also contributes to our ability to problem solve.
Additionally, if you’re in side-hustle mode, mornings are the best time to work on your side business. In the evening it so much easier to blow off working on your side business to go to happy hour with coworkers or check out the latest fashions at Zara.
As an NYC commuter, there’s nothing I hate more than being late for an important meeting because the subway is running behind schedule. No matter how early we wake-up or well-prepared we are there will always be things that are out of our control. This is why it is extremely important to buffer time for the unexpected.
Don’t just give yourself enough time to get to an important meeting or workout class, give yourself ample time. Being the first to arrive at an event always makes me feel confident and self-assured while being late has the opposite effect, often making me feel aggravated and stressed. You can add a lot more calm into your day by simply adding some buffer time to your morning routine.
So after reading this post, you may be wondering how do you establish a new morning routine and actually make it stick? Changing your entire morning routine in one day is probably not a realistic goal – however if you make these changes subtly and slowly adopt some of these morning activities your routine will eventually change.
For example, if you’re not a morning person, a good activity to start with is prepping for the morning the night before. A simple action like laying out your clothes the night before can save time and reduce anxiety in the morning. Additionally, adopting something quick like a five-minute meditation practice is another simple quick win that’s easy to add to your morning routine.
I suggest saving big changes like doing a morning workout until your body has time to make the adjustment to waking up earlier. Commit to adding one new activity to your morning routine each week and you’ll be an early riser before you know it!
So tell me, what activities are you going to add to improve your morning routine? Let me know in the comments!