Earlier this month FrogDiva Thoughts launched a blog-sharing project with Tenfold, a cutting-edge platform for customer telecommunications infrastructures (CTI). It being a Monday and the first day back to school for Berlin schools, I thought this might add a little inspiration for parents and students struggling with overcoming holiday and weekend hangovers alike:
Rise and shine!
– by Dan Sincavage,
Co-Founder of Tenfold and Chief Strategy Officer.
Are you a morning person? Studies have shown that some folks are naturally hardwired to be morning people, while others function better as night owls.
Whichever you may be, chances are you already have an established morning routine. Some folks need coffee before everything else; some hit the gym or jog to jumpstart the day, others prefer to eat breakfast, while others may choose to skip it altogether and go straight to prepping for work.
But why is it important to make the most out of your mornings?
Benjamin Franklin, a well-known morning person, famously said that “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Science has proven that morning persons tend to be happier, healthier, and are less likely to procrastinate than night owls, traits that are definitely advantageous in jobs with strong daytime expectations.
Most supervisors also prefer employees who start the workday earlier—in fact employees with late start times are often seen as less conscientious than their counterparts even if they perform their jobs just as well. In short, maximizing your mornings by having morning rituals to supercharge productivity is necessary, especially if you’re involved in an industry as fast-paced as sales, where mere hours make the difference between winning and losing that lead.
So how do you jumpstart your mornings?
Let’s look at 10 ways to improve your morning rituals to supercharge productivity.
1. Make your bed.
Never leave the room with a messy bed. You might scoff at this one, thinking “I barely even have time to eat breakfast every morning, now you want me to take a couple of extra minutes to make my bed?” Well, yes. According to Charles Duhigg, author of the book “The Power of Habit”, getting into the habit of making your bed every morning is directly linked to increasing your productivity at work.
Now, of course, making your bed will not cause you to make more calls at work, but “it’s a keystone habit that can spark chain reactions that help other good habits take hold,“ Duhigg says. An article published in Psychology Today also shows that consistent bed-makers are more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested, whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired. All in all, bed makers are happier and more successful than their rumple-sheeted peers.
2. Let the light in.
You won’t break a sweat with this one, but you need to incorporate this to your morning routine. As soon as you wake up, throw your window blinds or curtains open. It’s an old trick done by moms everywhere, but did you know that there’s actual science behind this tip? The natural light of the rising sun will send a signal to your brain to slow its production of melatonin and bump up its production of adrenaline, a signal that it’s time to wake up.
3. Stay true to your body clock.
Decide on one, test, and stick to it. This means no sleeping in, or hitting the snooze button, even for weekends. Sleep scientists at Stanford University say that keeping regular hours will not only train your body to be more alert when you wake up, but will also help you to manage your time better. Hitting the snooze button regularly is actually bad for your health, as it confuses your internal clock and triggers sleep inertia, resulting in grogginess and headaches that can persist up to two to four hours after you’ve actually gotten out of bed.
So, how do you do this if you’re used to hitting the snooze button every five minutes? Three words: Body clock training. The process is pretty straightforward. Wake up at the same time each day for thirty days, without hitting the snooze button—even on weekends. This will reset your body’s circadian rhythm and make you sleep earlier than usual each day, thus letting you have a longer, more restful sleep.
4. Wake up early.
Wake up earlier than you have to. There is no going around this one, you really need to wake up early. The benefits are numerous: you are less likely to be distracted; you have more time to get things done, and starting your day early helps set a positive tone for the entire day.
Looking at the habits of successful people, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Mozart, US President Barack Obama, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, and Starbucks president Michelle Gass all have one thing in common: they all wake up before 7:00 in the morning.
5. Do some form of exercise.
Do ten push-ups. Run some laps. Stretch and do poses. You don’t have to hit the gym or lift heavy weights, research has shown that even just taking a 20-minute brisk walk will get you booted up, help prevent cardiovascular disease, increase your energy and fire up your creative juices. In fact, African leader Nelson Mandela was known to advocate early morning walks. According to him, these walks gave him time to think about what the day might hold, to process the day before, and to appreciate the freedom to enjoy that time.Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is also known as an advocate of good health and spends an hour on the treadmill, watching courses from the Teaching Company while doing so.
6. Get yourself a healthy breakfast.
This seems like too much work, especially if you’re the type to just grab a coffee before heading off to work, but did you know that eatingbreakfast can boost your cognitive skills, specifically your capacity to pay attention and remember things, thereby making you more productive at work? Similarly, you need to pay attention to what you eat. Instead of just drinking a cup of coffee (which give you an early energy spike but can also lead to a crash by mid-day), try to eat low glycemic foods (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, most fruits and vegetables) for breakfast. In doing so, your body gains a steady source of energy to get you through until lunch.
7. Do little gestures that spread positive vibes.
Simply saying “good morning” to your next door neighbor, or texting a greeting to a friend counts. This may sound like a waste of time, but starting the day on a positive note will set the tone for the day. For businesswoman Lisa Song Sutton, “The action of sending the outbound positive message, which is later responded to with an inbound positive message, helps set the tone of your day. For you, the message doesn’t have to be sent to the same person every day, but the habit of sending a positive message to someone important in your life should become a ritual. I consider it a form of cheat gratitude journaling.”
8. Put-off your email.
Seems counter-intuitive? I know many sales professionals who will say that checking email signifies that the day has officially begun, so why not do it first thing in the morning?Simple: Email is reactive, not proactive. Viewing your emails (and responding to them) first thing in the morning will quickly sap your productivity levels, leaving you listless for the rest of the day. Plus, setting your schedule according to the demands of your email inbox can give you less time to actually work on important things that need to be prioritized. In fact, studies show that employees spend 28% of their working day checking emails, andonly 39% are spent doing role-specific tasks.Instead of getting your mornings sucked up by email, experts say that you should start with your hardest work of the day and defer the distractions of email for later. Better yet, wake up and start your day earlier so you have more time to do important tasks before you go off checking your inbox.
9. Maximize your commute time to plan the day, but don’t overthink.
Stuck in traffic? Did you know that if you’re commuting 30 minutes each way every day, by the end of a year, you’ve already spent 6 weeks of 8-hour days in your car? Use this time to go over your plans for the day so you’ll have a general idea of what you need to accomplish once you get to the office. This helps to get you motivated and excited for what the day has in store, but be careful not to get too carried away.According to research done by Amy Dalton and Stephen Spiller, detailed planning only works if you only have one major task for the day, any longer and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed. “If you have six things to do today, all high priority, and you sit down and start planning everything out in detail, you quickly realize how difficult it will be to do it all,” Dalton explains. “You feel overwhelmed and, because you don’t think you can pull it all off, you’re less committed. By contrast, people who don’t form specific plans are more likely to believe they can achieve it all.” Key takeaway—save your detailed plans for your most important task!
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff, do it the night before.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is well known for dressing the same way each day as he once claimed it gives him “one less decision to make”. While I don’t expect all of you to just wear variations of the same shirt and tie each day, it helps to plan out minor things (such as your outfit and your lunch) the night before.Doing this saves time and prevents the “analysis paralysis” you feel when you’re unable to decide just what you’re going to wear to work each morning. Preparing and packing your lunch the night before not only saves you time and money, it also helps ensure that you only eat healthy foods guaranteed to keep your energy up throughout the day.