You’re smart. You know how early rising can boost your chances of success and a powerful morning routine will supercharge your day and fast-track your progress towards your goals.
You’ve tried a lot of things to get up early and with a lot of energy. But somehow your morning routine is not working as well as it should. You don’t always wake up looking forward to the day. You spend a lot of time trying to motivate yourself to start working. Your mind is slow and easy to distract, and you waste valuable time and energy trying to keep it on track.
The result, your morning routine is unproductive. Forgotten tasks, unfinished projects, and deadlines are piling up, adding to the stress and sense of failure. It’s hard to establish a good morning routine if you’re not a morning person, not sleeping well or feeling sick/tired. But it doesn’t mean this is impossible. On the contrary, you can still supercharge your morning routine, even if you’re not a morning person.
I am a morning person, but I’ve been through a period of sleep problems, which resulted in me waking up with a sore back, muddled head and a hard-to-shift tiredness. But with a full-time job to go to, a side business to attend to, and a new book to write, I had to find ways to make the most of my mornings.
Here are a few hacks that can help you stay productive:
1. Start your tomorrow tonight
This strategy works particularly well if you’re more of an owl than a lark. Before you go to bed, plan your day for tomorrow. Make a list of tasks you want to work on first thing in the morning.
But don’t stop there – make it even easier for yourself. Start working on the first step of your first task before you head for bed. It may be something as simple as getting all the necessary tools ready on your desk. Or, if you’re writing a new post – opening a new document and typing the title.
The first step is the hardest, and getting over that initial hurdle the night before will make it easier for you to get on with the task in the morning.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
2. Get up to something you genuinely enjoy doing (guilt free)
There are many great strategies to start the day a winner, but sometimes, no matter how much you try to exercise, meditate, or visualise, you just can’t get going. On days like that, I rely on simple pleasures of life, e.g. my favourite brand of coffee or something special for breakfast to get me out of bed.
Whatever it is that can make you feel energised, take your time to enjoy it and do it guilt-free. Be careful not to overindulge and set yourself a time limit, so you still have time to complete at least one task.
3. Make your morning routine the default option
Do you know that decision-making drains our energy and causes us to procrastinate? The more choices you have to make, the bigger the impact on your mental energy, and hence the more likely you are to procrastinate. This phenomenon is called decision fatigue.
Many successful people understand how it works and limits their decision-making by automating some of their daily choices, e.g. always dressing the same way, or having set menus for breakfasts. This principle extends to your morning routine, too. To limit procrastination and make the most of your morning, minimise decision fatigue by limiting your choices.
Get up always at the same time, every day of the week. Have a set routine, identical for every day. Maybe you want to start your day with a meditation session, a prayer, a few jumps, or a cup of coffee while reading a book – do it every day at the same time, in the same order. No hesitation, no bargaining. Save your time and mental energy for more important decisions.
“Every day I feel is a blessing from God. And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful.” – Prince
4. Take it easy by aligning your tasks with your natural rhythms
One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning change in their behaviour is to assume they’ll be able to deal with difficulties without much problem every day. When you’re motivated, you feel you can move mountains, and you jump out of bed in the morning. But if, for whatever reason, you wake up not feeling energised and excited – it’s much harder to get up and start your day.
You can overcome it by creating a routine that fits in with your natural rhythms. If you’re not a morning person, yet want to create a morning routine, try optimising your time by tracking your energy levels (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) during the day and week and then adjust your schedule to match your best time with the type of tasks you’re working on. The same goes for days when you’re not feeling 100% yet still want to work on your goals.
If your tasks require creativity, look for peaks in your spiritual or emotional energy. If you need to prepare a tax return, or proofread your article, you’d need a good level of mental energy. Preparing for a difficult conversation with an unhappy customer or your boss requires emotional energy. Identify which type of energy you’re able to access and work on tasks that require it.
If you’ve tried to implement a morning routine and failed before, if you’re not at your best in the morning, you can still create a winning morning routine. Choose your strategies and test them. Don’t ignore simple tweaks, no matter how small. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve by taking those little steps. Your morning productivity will soar.