8 Things Productive People Do Every Single Morning
There are few feelings greater than the one of being productive. You know, the “I’m getting stuff done” feeling. The feeling you have when you’re crossing stuff off your to-do list. The feeling of being able to relax at the end of the day because you accomplished so much. Ah. Isn’t that nice?
Maybe you wish you felt that feeling more often? Well, we can help. We’ve rounded up the things that productive people do every single morning. Put some of these on your own to-do list and watch how quickly you’re able to get things done.
1. Open the windows.
Letting the light in not only makes for a pleasant atmosphere — it also has a powerful effect on your circadian rhythm. According to the CDC, “You can manipulate light exposure to help yourself sleep better at night and be more alert during the day.” Exposure to morning light helps wake you up in the morning and also makes you sleepier earlier in the evening. Going to bed earlier also, obviously, affects your alertness in the morning. Of course, fresh air from opening windows, if weather permits, also starts the day off with a sense of newness.
2. Write a gratitude list.
Cultivating gratitude has extensive health benefits. Taking a few minutes in the morning to think about what you’re grateful for helps orient your mindset in a way that sets you up for more resiliency, more satisfaction with life, and an increased positive mood throughout the day. A special journal might just give you the right space and prompts to exercise gratitude each morning.
3. Check the calendar.
Nothing sets a calm day into a frazzled whirlwind like scrambling to get to a forgotten appointment. Make it a habit to check your calendar regularly — especially every morning — so that no surprises derail your day. Do it while you drink your morning coffee.
4. Eat the frog first.
“Eat the frog first” refers to the idea of completing your least desirable task first thing. Asana, a management platform, describes it this way: “The eat the frog strategy is a prioritization and productivity method used to help people identify difficult tasks. The idea is that you identify one challenging task (the frog) and complete the task first thing in the morning (eating it).”
Like every choice you make in the morning, eating the frog first sets the tone for the rest of the day. In this case, you’ll feel accomplished and the resulting motivation will carry you through the rest of your easier tasks for the day. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of lightness that comes from a lifted burden.
5. Move your body.
Exercising in the morning has a significant impact on productivity. It releases a cocktail of hormones that reduce stress and improve your mood. Exercising early in the day helps you feel more alert, which can lead to increased productivity. In addition, regular exercise improves the quality of your sleep so you feel more rested and clear-headed in general, which of course helps you stay focused and on-task throughout the day. One way to help yourself exercise first thing in the day is to keep things simple and do-able, such as a walk around the block. Try setting out your walking shoes the night before so you’ve built momentum even before wake-up time.
6. Stick to a routine.
Creating a thoughtful morning routine and sticking to it allows for smoother starts every day. By going on a path that’s purposeful, you keep your mind free and avoid the exhaustion that comes from decision fatigue. For instance, follow the same steps of waking up: Start the coffee maker, empty the dishwasher while the coffee brews, and write in your gratitude journal while drinking your coffee, etc.
7. Wake up early.
Waking up early is what gives you the time to do many of the things that start your morning off on the right foot. In addition, being awake before the rest of the world makes you feel like you’re on top of things and ahead of the game. And it gives you a positive mindset that carries through the rest of the day. Of course, getting up early means going to sleep at a decent hour because grogginess and productivity do not mix. Make sleep a priority, aiming to get as close to eight hours as possible.
8. Make the bed.
You knew this one was coming: Making the bed gives you a tidy place to go to sleep when nighttime rolls around (incidentally leading to better sleep), and it’s a simple and quick task that has a profound impact on how the rest of your day unfolds. U.S. Navy Admiral Seal William H. McCraven, who wrote a whole book on the subject, succinctly describes the effect making your bed has on your productivity: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
What do you do to increase your productivity? Tell us in the comments below.