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10 Morning Routines to Improve Your Productivity

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Setting up good morning routines is important to how you start each day. They can set the tone for the rest of the day. It is easy to press the snooze button and stay in bed. Some people may skip breakfast. They may also rush to get out the door and arrive to work right on time or even late. However, the rest of your day may feel chaotic with the need to play catch-up all day long. 


What are Morning Routines?

Good morning routines are habits you create in the morning to help you start your day. It is where you establish a routine such as exercising, spending time with your family, eating breakfast, etc. When you establish a good morning routine, your day doesn’t start hectic and you may feel more organized. 


Why are Morning Routines Important? 

In the book, The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod suggests you should habit stack six habits. They are silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing (writing) to help you stay focused with more energy and motivation. By habit stacking, he means you can do some of these at the same time. For example, exercising and affirmations. He says, “How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life.”

He also says, “If you’re just snoozing every day until the last possible moment you have to head off to work, show up for school, or take care of your family, and then coming home and zoning out in front of the television until you go to bed (this used to be my daily routine), I’ve got to ask you: When are you going to develop yourself into the person you need to be to create the levels of health, wealth, happiness, success, and freedom that you truly want and deserve? When are you going to actually live your life instead of numbly going through the motions looking for every possible distraction to escape reality? What if your reality—your life—could finally be something that you can’t wait to be conscious for?”


Successful People Who Do Morning Routines

There are many successful people who have established morning routines such as Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Cameron Diaz, Barbara Corcoran, and more. Many successful people claim that developing good morning routines is key to their success. It helps them set the mood and gives a sense of calmness for the remainder of the day.



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What are the Best Morning Routines?

Here are some best practices from some successful people? 


Be an Early Riser

Many successful people rise early to do a variety of activities to help them start their day. For example, Richard Branson wakes up early. He states, “No matter where I am in the world, I try to routinely wake up at around 5 a.m. By rising early, I’m able to do some exercise and spend time with my family, which puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.”


Eat Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Experts say that breakfast kick-starts your metabolism. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done, and helps you focus on work or school. You may say that you aren’t hungry in the morning. However, once you start the routine, your body will adjust to it.


Drink Water

Drinking water first thing in the morning can help hydration, increase metabolism, and fuel your brain according to nutritionist and author, Rania Batayneh. Kat Cole, who is group president of FOCUS Brands, which owns Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, and Cinnabon drinks 24 ounces of water every morning. Cameron Diaz says, “It’s very important to start your day off with a lot of energy,” she says. “For me, that starts with getting up, brushing my teeth, and drinking some water—I drink a liter of water straight down.”


Exercise

Many people find that exercising first thing in the morning can help with physical and mental clarity. Research suggests that some of the benefits of exercising in the morning are decreasing blood pressure, burning fat, consuming less calories, and sleeping better at night. It doesn’t have to be a long exercise and can even be as short as 5 minutes a day. You can do basic sit-ups, stretches, jumping jacks, etc. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, does three 7-minute exercises each morning, Richard Branson cycles, Oprah Winfrey walks her dogs, and Mark Zuckerberg goes on a run.


Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations

The Pacific Institute (the company founded by the now deceased Lou Tice) describes affirmations as positive, emotionally charged, present-tense statements describing a desired end-result. They are what you want to be and do – not what you don’t want or are trying to change. Even if you don’t use affirmations, try positive self-talk about what you need to do and what you would like to achieve for the day. Denzel Washington attributed affirmations to helping him stop drinking and his success. Jennifer Lopez says that they help her think positive and stay strong through tough times. Your self-talk could be as simple as in the movie Jerry McGuire, an inspirational character Dicky Fox says, “I love getting up in the mornings. I clap my hands and say, ‘This is going to be a great day!’” 


Start Meditating

Whether it is through guided meditations or through your own meditations, many successful people do this morning routine each day to help reduce stress and increase calmness. Even meditating five minutes a day can help ease your thoughts. A number of Fortune 500 companies, including Google and Apple offer meditation classes for employees. Many top executives have implemented meditation in their lives such as Arianna Huffington, Bob Stiller of Green Mountain Coffee, and Bill Ford of Ford Motor Company.


Set Goals for the Next Day

When you set your goals or form a to-do list for the next day, you can clear your mind for what you have to do. Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank says, “Before I go to sleep, I write down three things that I have to get done the next morning before I take a call, write a text or an email, or talk to anyone else except my family. What I found was once you get those three things done, the rest of your day becomes amazingly productive.” Setting good morning routines could be something you could add to your personal goals to help you achieve your business goals.


Get Rid of the Alarm Clock 

Plan for eight hours of sleep. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans for eight hours of sleep each night. He also wakes up naturally, and without an alarm. Arianna Huffington follows this routine as well. According to the Sleep Foundation, seven to nine hours of sleep is what we really need. By being well rested, we will be more productive for the day.  


Take the Time to Learn Something New

Is there something you have always wanted to learn but haven’t taken the time? Maybe consider reading a new business book or studying a new language? The mornings are a great time to learn something new. Personal development is ongoing, and it is never too late to learn. Many successful people practice the five-hour rule. They spend one hour learning each day for five days. Is this something you could do in the morning with a fresh mind? Maybe you could combine this with running on a treadmill or eating a good breakfast? 


Do the Hardest Thing First

Mark Twain famously said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” What he means is that by doing the hardest thing first, everything else will be a breeze. Also, early in the morning is the best time to do the work that requires your full attention as less interruptions occur from others. According to Gina Trapani of Lifehacker.com, she says that you should knock out the most important thing on your to-do list and get rid of that item which you are most likely to procrastinate on.


How to Start Morning Routines

It is important to think about how you can establish a habit of setting up a good morning routine. What do you really want to accomplish? If you want to drink more water, exercise, and make your to-do lists for the day, then think about what time you need to wake up to make that happen. Start small and work yourself up. For example, at first give yourself thirty minutes and then build up from there. Exercise for 10 minutes and drink several glasses of water before you drink your coffee. Start small and work your way up. You will build up stamina and feel better a little at a time. 

In a commencement address  to Stanford, Steve Jobs stated “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Regardless of what routine or practice you choose; you should come up with your own. Then allow enough time to find what suits you the most and what will make you the most successful.


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Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis, co-owner of Travis and Adams Consulting Group, has over 20 years’ experience in human resources and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, leadership development, manufacturing safety programs, and writing business articles and blogs.