Mornings can be hard. If you’re trying to transition to a more productive morning routine, there will be inevitably be obstacles and setbacks. Keep in mind that with forming any new habit, making gradual changes over time is more realistic. Those types of changes are more likely to stick.
Show yourself forgiveness the first time(s) your morning doesn’t go exactly as you had imagined. Consistency and persistence are key in creating a new morning routine, so as long as you wake up the next morning and try again, you’re on the right path.
Here are seven things you can add to your routine to help make your mornings more productive going forward.
1. A plan
Creating a plan for your morning the night before will help you actually follow through the next day and is one of the most important ways to make your mornings more productive. You can keep this note in your head, or jot it down on your phone, planner or even just a piece of paper before laying down for the night.
2. Natural light
The best way to activate your body’s natural alarm clock is to incorporate natural light into your morning routine. Sunlight activates your body’s circadian rhythm and tells your system it’s time to wake up. Once you set this biological process in motion it can be hard to roll it back, making it more likely you’ll actually get out of bed and get your morning started.
You can leave a window open to allow natural light to stream into your room as the sun rises. Or, you can make an effort to venture outside to soak up some rays before starting with any difficult tasks.
All of this may not be possible if your room doesn’t get much natural light or if your schedule doesn’t align with the rising sun.
One option for adding natural light to your routine no matter your situation is a sun light. These can gradually brighten as it gets closer to your wake-up time and mimic the effects of natural light.
3. Vitamin D
Over 40% of adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. Natural sunlight is the best way to curb deficiencies, but a vitamin D supplement is also a good way to improve vitamin D levels, especially during the winter months or when you spend most of your day cooped up in an office.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to fatigue, among a host of other side effects, which can negatively affect your productivity in the morning and the rest of the day. Taking Vitamin D, along with a daily dose of sunlight, is one way to help combat fatigue and become the best version of yourself in the morning.
4. A walk for your morning routine
Getting your blood flowing early in the morning is another way to physically tell your body it is time to wake up. Incorporating physical activity into your morning routine will help you feel alert more quickly.
For some, a morning commute will do the trick. Try biking to work, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. These simple changes will get your day started and give you an early morning boost of energy.
If you work from home and your commute is 20 steps to your desk, try some jumping jacks before setting up at your computer, or take a walk to your local coffee shop.
Consistency is the key to success. It’s especially true with your morning routine. Wake up at around the same time each day to condition your body to naturally wake up at that time. This can make waking up early less painful the longer you keep up the habit.
Our circadian rhythm thrives off of consistency, so try to stay on track with your sleep schedule even on the weekends.
6. Time to unplug
Blue light is not good for your sleep cycle. Social media is usually not good for your productivity. On all fronts, your phone is counterproductive when trying to make the most out of your morning. That’s why unplugging should be at the forefront of your routine.
Set your phone aside at least an hour before closing your eyes for bed. Instead, try reading a book, stretching or listening to a podcast. It also might be worth investing in some blue light glasses to help mitigate the harmful effects of the light from our devices.
In the morning, try to resist the urge to instantly grab your phone and check your email. Give yourself space to ease your way into the day and ditch your phone for the first precious few moments. Making the morning enjoyable is key to sticking with a morning routine, and you owe it to yourself to take a few moments to yourself before diving into work.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make the most out of your mornings is to get a good night’s sleep. This can be easier said than done, but adding the above-mentioned things to your morning routine, like exercise, consistency and time away from your phone will help.
A good bedtime ritual is just as important as a morning routine and should go hand in hand with your resolution to have more productive mornings. I’ve met entrepreneurs who write down what they are grateful for in a journal just before bed. They claim this leads them think about those same things they’re thankful for first thing in the morning when they wake. If that’s not a welcome addition to a morning routine, then nothing is.
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