For many, morning is just not a happy time. A bad start can leave you mired in pessimism and trapped in the state of tiredness in which you woke up. There is good news, however.
Many of the world’s most successful – past and present – have channelled their morning into a time of positivity and productivity. Take steps to start your morning on the right foot and you can avoid the ill effects of a bad start spreading throughout your day; truly commit to a good morning routine and you can make the early part of that day the most constructive. And though they may take some getting used to, the elements of a good morning are straightforward, inexpensive, and exceptionally rewarding.
Make these six steps the first six of your day and put yourself in the best position for a productive day.
1. A Regular Sleep Schedule
Probably the most challenging item on the list. Going to bed and getting up at the same or similar times is vital to maintaining a healthy cycle of sleep and ensuring that your sleep is of a good quality.
Although everyone is different, it’s best to keep ordinary hours in order to keep our circadian clock in sync with our body’s sense of how much sleep it requires (try to sleep when it’s dark, essentially). The circadian clock responds to changes in light input: our systems have a sense of when the sun rises and sets and want to sleep accordingly – appeasing this desire can work wonders.
2. Plan Out Your Day
The long-term plan. How you plan out your day can drastically affect how you wake up. Famously, Steve Jobs would ask himself each morning whether the day that lay ahead was worthy of being his last. You don’t need to be quite so dramatic about it, but keeping goals in mind for the day to come has been shown to improve productivity and satisfaction.
Don’t let the day wander – waking up with particular aims in mind, preferably ones that you’ve written down, will help you to achieve what you set out to do.
3. Don’t You Dare Hit ‘Snooze’!
It’s pretty simple. We all commit to get up at a particular time, set our alarm accordingly, and – in a remarkable display of coordination for a half-conscious individual – jam down the snooze button with a sleepy enthusiasm.
Fortunately the solution is equally simple: move your alarm away from your bed. You’ll likely find getting right out of bed to press snooze rather less easy to do on automatic pilot, and by getting out of bed on time you’ll avoid late starts and self-recrimination.
4. Stretch It Out
The human body, when just woken up, is not a magnificent thing. Full of sleep-inducing hormones like melatonin, it just wants to stay in bed and rest. Stretching when you wake up gets blood moving around your body, and particularly to your brain, which in turn helps to alleviate that sense of grogginess which we all struggle with.
Tend to be very sleepy in the mornings? Try a full yoga regimen specifically designed to get your body going after waking up.
5. Lemon And Water Is Better Than Coffee (Better For You, At Least)
Powerful desires for tea and coffee tend to follow when you wake up. There’s certainly nothing wrong with either, but hold off for 30 minutes and drink lemon and water instead.
By doing so you can avoid the potential lapse of energy often caused by caffeine later in the day while at the same time kick-starting your metabolism and energising your body for the day ahead.
6. Pull Your Hair
There’s always a weird one.
Following roughly the same principle as the recommendation to stretch, you can pull your hair (gently) in order to get blood flowing up to the brain. Maybe try this one if you forget to stretch or absolutely have to get out the door quickly (the other people on the bus will be too tired to think you odd).
Waking Up Right
Waking up the right way has always been a feature in the lives of the world’s most successful people. And of course, everyone has their own way of doing things. The French philosopher Descartes got up at noon and Margaret Thatcher at 5:30am, yet neither is likely to be forgotten any time soon.
But by keeping the above steps in mind as you find your perfect schedule you can use your morning as a springboard for a great day. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger said that what is great can only begin great. Thankfully, no German philosophy is needed for an effective start to the day. Just take these few simple steps when you get up and you’ll be productive and energised from morning till night!