The way your morning starts really affects the rest of your day. You know that feeling when you wake up pretty late or when you feel you are in the bad mood from the early morning – in many cases, your day doesn’t get much better later on.
So, you need to learn some tricks on how to own your day from the very start. Once you know how to prepare yourself for the day ahead, you will be able to use every minute of it effectively.
1. Set your goals the night before
Before you go to bed, make a clear plan of what you want your next day to look like; determine its purpose. Is it a day for being outdoors with your kids or a day for finally nailing that project? Or is it perhaps a day for resting or a spa day?
By creating a frame for the next day, you won’t just mindlessly go through the day, solving and doing things as they come. You will get up more excited because you know how your day should unfold. And at the end of the day, you will feel great satisfaction because you achieved your main goal and your day fulfilled its purpose.
2. Wake up one hour earlier
The first thing you should do is to give yourself one hour more during your already busy morning. It will be hard to incorporate new habits into your morning routine if you don’t make additional room for them.
Secondly, by waking up early, you will immediately start your day with a sense of achievement. There was one goal that you have already managed to fulfill, so it’s a great boost to your confidence and mood.
3. Use it for “me” time
Mornings are the only time of the day when you have time for yourself; when other people still haven’t forced their agendas onto you. You are still in that period when everything is quiet and peaceful when you are alone with your thoughts and feelings, and your wishes.
So, before the hectic day truly starts, use this time to be there for yourself. Gather your thoughts and meditate. Connect with your inner self, calm yourself and give yourself some words of encouragement. Some people find it helpful to pray in the morning, some find meditation as a great way to focus, some find that affirmations help them gather confidence they’ll need throughout the day.
4. Write down your long-term goals
Morning is the time when our mind is at its clearest, which allows you to look into yourself more deeply. This is the time to think about your deepest wishes and hidden desires, your plans about the future and the changes you want to see in your life.
Write them down – putting your wishes and long-term plans onto paper puts them into a perspective. By looking at them, it will become clearer how each one of them can be fulfilled. The more you go into details about how each one those wishes look like and feel like, the easier it will be to believe they can actually come true.
Every morning, read them again and add some details if necessary – in time, it will become clearer and clearer on how you can fulfill all of those plans; your action plan will get a specific form.
Sometimes it’s not about putting your long-term plans on paper that helps you start the day. Some people like to get their creative juices flowing early in the morning by writing three pages of whichever thoughts come to their mind. It’s important that you don’t correct, judge or edit yourself while writing those pages. The point is to simply “pour out” whatever is on your mind that morning, whichever impressions you have or what feelings have overcome you.
The more you do it, the easier it will get to gather your thoughts and to express yourself. Some of us find it hard to identify our feelings, worries, and fears but pushing yourself to put them on paper will give some important insights into our psyche and maybe point us into the direction we need to go.
6. Do a mini-meditation
As said before, some of us enjoy meditating in the morning when our mind is still quiet. If you have never tried meditation before, give yourself a chance. Only five minutes of meditation can do wonders for the rest of your day. Just sit and focus on your breathing – breathe in, then breathe out, aware of the air coming through your nose, into your lungs, and then leaving your body, while your chests and stomach are slowly moving. Don’t let anything or anybody distract you – that’s quite easy to achieve early in the morning.
You don’t have to do it successfully for the whole 5 minutes to make it beneficial. Studies have shown that by merely practicing it and making an effort to meditate can change your brain structure. Mini meditation can strengthen the areas in your brain responsible for processing emotions, expressing them, and increasing your self-confidence.
7. Broaden your expertise
In the morning, you are as fresh as you’ll get, so why not use at least 15-30 minutes to broaden your professional knowledge? You don’t need a lot of time because your mind is sharp in the morning, unburdened with obligations and tasks.
So, find a way to sharpen skills that are important for your industry. For example, you can subscribe to a magazine connected to your niche and read it in the morning to inform yourself about new developments. You can spend half an hour learning a language you think will be useful for your job. You can find some publications and journals from your area of expertise where you can find out information that could benefit you at work.
8. Physical activity
Many of us don’t do regular exercise and our main excuse is that we can’t find the time to do it. Well, if you plan your mornings better, you’ll come to realize that it’s the best time of the day to get active. Contrary to what you may think, physical exercise in the morning doesn’t wear you out but it gives you an energy boost. It makes your blood run faster, sending more oxygen to your brain and increasing your productivity and motivation. It’s easier to do what you planned for that day after a bit of physical activity.
At the very least, you can walk to work (of course, if it’s not too far away) and stretch your legs a bit out in the fresh air. Alternatively, you could cycle to work if your workplace is further away or simply go cycling around the block before you go to work. Just make sure you find appropriate bike lights to be safe in traffic. In case there’s a gym close to your home or work, do the training before going to work. You will get your daily amount of physical exercise before you are obliged to sit at your desk for the next 8 hours.
9. Use a head start at work
Another way to use one hour more you have in the morning is to get to work one hour earlier. Just think about it – the moment when everybody gets to work and try to get into the “mood” for working, you are already one hour ahead of them. It’s much easier to do a lot of tasks when there are peace and quiet in the office, with no one to interrupt you. Your mind won’t be filled with unnecessary information and other people’s problems, so it is the best time to check of the list the hardest and most important tasks. That way, the rest of the day will pass by much more easily.
10. Deal with the most daunting task first
Do the thing that most annoys you or scares you first – that’s exactly what you should do first thing in the morning after eating, taking a shower and meditating. In other words, it’s much easier for you mentally to just be done with the hardest task of the day in the first hour of two in the morning. You will then avoid thinking about throughout the day, preparing yourself mentally for it, being annoyed about it. In the morning, your willpower is at its strongest, so it’s the perfect time to deal with the hardest task first.
Just think about how beautiful the rest of the day is going to be when you don’t have anything left to worry about that day. It will give you the energy to do everything else more quickly and with greater motivation.
11. Stay off the phone
You need to realize one thing – you own your phone; it doesn’t own you. So, don’t let yourself get distracted by it in the first three hours of your morning. Don’t check social media, news, and emails. A few minutes here and a few minutes there, and before you know it – your three hours will be wasted on the phone. It simply sucks you in, without you even noticing.
Therefore, stay away from your phone and use your focus and energy to deal with things that are important and to do things that truly matter to you. You will be surprised by how much you can do when your phone isn’t in your hands.
12. End the vicious circle
To end with a very important thing – the trick of getting up earlier than usual is to go to bed earlier. To have one hour more in the morning, you need to go to bed one hour earlier – simple logic. This may be the hardest thing on this list but you really have to do your best. Otherwise, you will just feel exhausted the moment you open your eyes one hour earlier.
Always have in mind that at least one or two hours when you wake up should belong to you, and you only. That’s the time when you can achieve so much more than during any other time of the day. Giving yourself that time is one of the most precious gifts you could give yourself. So, do that tomorrow, don’t wait any longer!