While there is no single proven morning routine that works for everyone and guarantees success, establishing your own can help you maximise your creativity, energy and productivity throughout the day.
Creating and sticking to habits or a routine that works for you may help make you more disciplined. Having a daily routine can also help you think more clearly because you don’t have to spend any time wondering about what you should be doing and it makes sure important tasks never get forgotten.
If you don’t have an effective daily routine yet, it’s a good idea to start with your morning habits. The way you spend your time before you start work can set you up for success for the rest of the day.
To get you started, here are a few suggestions for some morning habits you could include in your routine:
Get up early (even at weekends)
Most high performers get up early, as extra time in the morning can help you prepare better for your day. Try experimenting with your wake-up time to find the best time for you. If you’re not a natural morning person, it is possible to train yourself to wake up early, rather than just giving yourself enough time to get dressed and make a dash for the door.
Most importantly, get up at the same time even when you’re not at work, as habits are thought to be far more powerful when they’re practised every day. A regular bedtime and wake-time routine is also thought to help you get better-quality sleep.
Skipping breakfast can leave you with low blood sugar in the morning, which won’t help you feel energetic or enthusiastic about what lies ahead. Grabbing breakfast on the go isn’t a great idea either, as it can play havoc with your digestion.
Even if you’re short on time you can still eat something healthy to start your day – find out more about quick and easy breakfast suggestions by reading Healthy breakfast recipes by the Natural Alternative Health & Wellbeing Ltd.
Getting into a habit of exercising before you go to work can pay dividends too. Being physically active in the morning can increase your blood flow and release feel-good hormones called endorphins, putting you in a positive state of mind for the rest of the day.
According to a study by University of Bristol researchers, being active during your working day doesn’t just boost your mood but your performance too, and can help you concentrate and make you a better at problem solving.
If you don’t have much time, many experts believe short workouts are just as effective as long ones. Try simply going for a brisk 10-minute walk or jog before breakfast – the fresh air will also help make you feel awake and ready to start your day.
To find out more about how your diet and exercise habits can work for you, join our free online course, Eat and exercise for energy.
Clear your head
Make time – even if it’s just five minutes – for something that helps make you feel calmer and more focused before you leave for work, such as reading, listening to music, stretching (doing yoga, for instance) or meditating.
Even sitting quietly with a cup of tea can be beneficial, especially when the day you have planned is going to be a hectic one. Whatever you do, try to make sure you do it every morning so that it becomes part of your routine.
Let emails wait
It’s may always be tempting to try and get a head start by checking your emails before you’ve left the house. But unless you’re waiting for a particularly important message to arrive, try to avoid logging on to your email account before you get to your desk. Checking your emails – or social media – usually means you’re dealing with what other people want or are doing, rather than concentrating on what you want to achieve yourself.
Set your goals
Whether it’s making a list of your priorities for the day or a reminder of your long-term goals, deciding what you want to do and where you want to go before your working day starts can help you focus on your plans more effectively.
Successful goal setting isn’t complicated, but it does require some practice. Read more about it in 5 things you should know about setting goals.
Our course Do more in a day than you do in a week also looks at effective goal setting, as well as other ways to become more effective and productive. Like our other courses, this free full-day course is open to all past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members and their husbands, wives, life partners and children under the age of 25.
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