Mornings can be the toughest part of the day. Especially for those who work from home or operate on their own schedule, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to begin your day. But studies have shown that mornings are the most productive time of the day. Set yourself up for a successful day with these motivation exercises.
1. Wake up early – Sure hearing “wake up at 5am” is easier said than done, but it can do wonders for your productivity. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of a quiet home, with few distractions. Spending time alone in the mornings provides an excellent opportunity for meditation, journaling, writing, thinking, and planning. Those few extra hours give you more time to make and achieve goals for a more efficient day.
If you have trouble waking up early, be sure to allow yourself 7.5-9 hours of sleep, and try setting your alarm just 15 minutes earlier every few days. Eventually you can train yourself to be a morning person.
2. Plan ahead – Spend 10 minutes before bed making a plan for the next day. This can be a easy reminder in the morning of what you need to get done, which can help motivate you to get up (see #1). Outline your to-do list, or just jot down a few goals. If you are having trouble starting your day, you may need a quick reminder of why you are waking up. Reminding yourself what you are excited about for the day is great inspiration to be productive.
3. Eat well – A good breakfast is as important as anything for your productivity. Yogurt, fruit, eggs, oatmeal, all are great meals to kick-start your day and keep your rumbling stomach from distracting you until lunch. If you have trouble finding time to make breakfast, consider some overnight oatmeal, or pre-cut your fruit to easily add it to a bowl of yogurt.
4. Exercise – Working out in the morning forces you to wake up earlier, gives you a totally natural mood-booster, and increases your energy, which is the key to productivity. Just a quick 15 minute walk, a yoga sequence, or a few minutes of jumping jacks will do the trick. Consider investing in some home workout equipment, like hand weights or a yoga ball to make it even easier to fit in the exercise.
5. Do something you enjoy – Whether it’s journaling, writing, drawing, or reading, spend a few minutes doing whatever makes you happy. Increasing your mood in the morning can set a productive tone for the rest of the day. If you dedicate time to improving your personal life, it’ll pay dividends in your career as well. This could also be learning a new hobby or skill, or listening to a favorite podcast. As Robin Sharma said, “to double your income, triple your rate of learning.”
6. Do important work first- Don’t waste those precious morning hours on mindless emails. Use the mornings for creative work, brainstorming, and big picture thinking. Save simple tasks like emails for later in the day when you may not be firing on all cylinders. Of course, if you don’t feel most creative in the mornings, switch this schedule around.
It all comes down to what works best for you. But you won’t know until you try! Experiment with these motivation exercises to see what makes you the most productive. It only takes a few days to develop a morning ritual, which is truly the path to excellent productivity.