With Summer drawing to a close and the Autumn darkness creeping in, it’s a transitional time of year where we’ve started swapping garden BBQs, flip flops and iced frappés for cozy jumpers, pumpkin spice lattes (sorry not sorry) and nights in front of The X Factor. Whilst the seasons may be changing, there’s no reason you or your business have to go into hibernation mode.
Here’s a few tips to kick start your morning routine for a happy, productive day:
Move your body
Getting out of bed can feel hard enough on its own, but doing as little as 10 or 15 minutes exercise in the morning improves your energy levels, concentration and self-control for the rest of the day. Some of the most successful business owners and CEOs, including Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook prioritise some form of exercise as an important part of their morning. Even if you only have a few minutes, some gentle stretching or a quick walk will help get your blood flowing.
Take a cold shower
If you’d have asked me to do this a year ago, the definitive answer would have been “absolutely not”. However, after reading various articles preaching the benefits of a cold shower and listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast on cold water therapy, I decided to give it a try and was shocked (quite literally) with how well it worked. After your usual shower, turn the temperature down low and experience a blast of of feel-good endorphins, a stronger immune system, higher energy and even relief from symptoms of depression.
Check your smartphone…later
With the average person checking their phone over 100 times a day, and a mobile consumer report by Deloitte revealing 32% of smartphone users check their phone within 5 minutes of waking up, it’s safe to say we’re an addicted bunch. Mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking emails zaps your focus and creative energy that could be better spent planning your day and thinking about your goals. Give yourself a digital detox for at least the first hour and feel calmer, as well as improve your concentration and memory. Plus, you’ll have more time to get ready, which brings us to…
Fuel your body
Including just 10 minutes in your routine to prepare breakfast is a key part of a productive day. After an overnight ‘fast’ a healthy breakfast increases your energy levels and restores your blood glucose level – especially important if you’re exercising in the morning and essential for helping your brain to function and prevent physical and mental fatigue later in the day. Opt for vitamin and nutrient-rich foods such as porridge, eggs, and fruit to get your day off to the best start.
Do you always find yourself scrambling out the door at the last minute, feeling like you’ve forgotten something or wishing you’d had an extra 10 minutes? Remember your morning can – and should – be an enjoyable part of your day, a moment of calm before getting to your desk/office. Save some hassle by laying out your clothes the night before, make your bed every day, and organise your mind by writing a short list of your top priorities for the day. This can be a simple checklist of work-related and household tasks, but keep it reasonably short so it’s achievable and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate. Speaking of which…
Eat the frog
As Mark Twain’s phrase goes, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”. Now, we’re not seriously suggesting you start frying up amphibians – rather your ‘frog’ is the main thing on your to-do list that you need to do, but have no motivation for. The longer you leave it, the more stressed and drained it will make you feel – often without even realising. Tackle your hardest task first when you have higher self-control in the morning, and benefit from the sense of achievement and a boost of momentum to carry on with other, easier tasks throughout the day.
Everyone’s morning routine will be slightly different, what’s important is finding something realistic and consistent that works for you and sets you up ready to tackle the day ahead. Even making small changes or adding one activity to your morning can change your whole day. How do you prepare for your day of work? Let us know your tips in the comments below!