Morning people don’t always feel perky and prepared for work. Some days, you may get easily distracted if your mind easily wanders off. A lot of people struggle being focused during these hours, but it’s not that difficult. Learning how to be productive in the morning can be easily achieved. At the same time, staying productive can help you get a lot more done than you may think.
Why should the morning hours be your most productive period?
Starting your day off on the right start can make your day even better. If you kickoff your day on the wrong track, it can end up being a bad day overall.
In my experience, I find starting the day off right leads to the following things:
- Less stress and not feeling overwhelmed with so many things to do
- Not feeling rushed
- Feel more energetic and more alert
Another thing to point out is there’s a time where each person feels they’re performing at their best. This term is known as peak productivity, where we’re likely to be more focused and alert during these time periods.
During peak productivity, this time should be utilized to get your most important tasks done. If it falls during the morning hours, then take advantage of those hours.
For the remainder of this post, I will go over several tips on how you can make your mornings more productive.
Prepare the night before
If you’re figuring out where to start, preparing the night before is the first thing you should do. That may simply start winding down around 60-90 minutes prior to going to bed.
During that time, it’s good to not use any electronics (or keep them at a minimum) as you begin to wind down. Rather than scrolling on your phone, use that time to do something mindful.
One thing I like to do at nighttime is journal for a little bit. Usually, I’ll write out the most important things I need to take care of the next day. Also, I’ll glance at my calendar to see if I have anything taking place the next day as well.
Some people may wait until the morning; however, I think that’s too late. Doing it at night while you have downtime helps you know exactly what you need to do once the next day arrives. It takes some discipline and effort, but it’s well worth a try.
Most people are guilty of pressing the “snooze” button to get a little more rest. However, those extra five minutes may end up going an extra half-hour. That’s a lot of time wasted if you planned on getting up earlier.
I was guilty of doing that before. But now, I’ve been getting up right away. I literally had to “force” myself to rise up so I could get the day off on the right track.
What I do to avoid hitting “snooze”
Before I go to bed, I’ll put my phone away from my bed (far enough where I have to get out of bed to grab it). I put it close by the bathroom, so that way I can get my job done (brush my teeth) and refresh myself.
I’ve noticed it’s helped me start the day off better. Whereas if I had slept in longer, I always had that guilty feeling of not getting up on time.
- So just a quick reminder: If you plan on waking up at a certain time, then stick to it (You made a commitment, so stick to that commitment)
Read or listen to audiobooks
There’s no doubt that reading is an excellent exercise to do. It’s a great way to learn new skills and knowledge, and I think it’s a nice way to start off your morning.
Did you know that CEOs and executives read on average 4-5 books a month (50-60 per year)? That means a typical CEO reads about one book a week. You wonder why today’s CEOS are some of the most successful people in life. I think that’s incredible.
Now if reading is not your cup of tea, listening to an audiobook will do fine as well. Even if it’s for 10-15 minutes a day, you’re still gaining new knowledge.
What I Do: Listen to short reads or audiobooks
These days, I’ve been using Audible to download and listen to audiobooks. But when I’m unsure, I’ll use an app for listening to short reads.
If you prefer to read or listen to short summaries, there are great apps you can look into. The one I like is something called Sumizeit. If you’re interested in this app, check out the review I wrote about it awhile back.
One of the best ways I start my day is by meditating, and it’s benefited me so much the last few years. Not only is it a great way to clear your mind, but you won’t feel so wound up at the same time.
At this point, I meditate nearly every day. It’s helped me with my mental health, and I feel better overall. I’ll usually meditate around 10-15 minutes a day.
If meditation is not your thing, try sitting down for a few minutes and practice deep breathing. To relax your body, you take a few deep breaths (around six), which is performed through your nose (inhaling) and out of your mouth (exhaling). If you do that on a daily basis, it can help you feel more relaxed and less stressed.
Focus on your priorities
The first thing I do is work on what needs to be done. Going back to the concept of peak productivity, I feel more energetic and focused during the morning. So I make the most out of that time to work on my priorities.
Also, I usually write down my priorities the night before. Going back to the first point made on prepping the night before, my to-do list ends up being more of a priority list. Thus, I can concentrate only on the tasks I need to complete on a particular day.
For me, I’ll work on tasks that are challenging and may require me to think outside the box. If that’s content creation, I’ll use that time to write articles or do research. Those tasks require more energy out of me, so I utilize the morning hours for that.
Avoid watching the news
Now, some people make the news as part of their daily routines. There are some exceptions such as checking traffic or the weather in your area.
However, I think the news is distracting (nothing but noise), and it stresses me out when it’s bad news. For the most part, the coverage of the news is negative. Companies partner with news stations or channels, so I believe they have a vested interest in getting as much viewership as possible.
But I digress- that’s a whole different topic to dissect. If you’re interested in why you should stop watching the news, check out a post I did on my personal website last year.
What I do instead
Rather than tuning into the news in the morning, I like listening to some light music. Or when I’m doing deep work, I’ll put on some focus music to help me get in my zone.
Also, you can listen to a podcast or motivational talk. It’s good to listen to something that inspires you or helps you feel positive.
Get your body moving
It’s beneficial to get some exercise in during the day. That can be an intense workout, or some light exercise depending on your needs.
For me, I usually hold off on intense workouts until later in the day. When I need to get in some exercise during the morning, I’ll go for a brisk walk.
Hold off on checking email
One of the biggest problems people have is checking their email too often.That can be the first thing they do in the morning, or maybe check it in the middle of doing an important task.
My recommendation is to hold off on checking it until later in the day (in the afternoon or at the end of the day). If it’s urgent where people need to reach you, have those people call you if it’s an emergency.
For me, I always put off checking email until after 12pm. On more productive days, I do well putting it off until the end of the day. I find that it helps me stay focused on my most important work.
Put your phone in another spot
When you’re ready to start working, it’s best to put your phone away. Some would say to turn it off or lock it up somewhere. I say to not have it nearby, or put it on “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Whenever you’re doing deep work, try not to have your phone nearby. It’s one less distraction to have, and you can get a lot done in a short period of time.
If for some reason you need to have your phone on hand, expect to use it in the event people need to call you if it’s urgent or an emergency.
Usually, I keep my phone in another area where I work. Most of the time, it’s on “Do Not Disturb” or I use the “Focus” features (on the iPhone) to minimize distractions.
Have pen and paper nearby
One best practice I keep in mind is writing things down when I have thoughts rolling around my head. Whenever you have thoughts rolling around your mind, get in the habit of writing them down.
For example, if you have any thoughts about a project (or a future article), writing them down helps save you time later on. I always have pen and paper nearby if my creative juice is flowing in my head. In fact, I just wrote down some random thoughts about when I write I want to write my next few articles.
It may be a bit of a hassle or not worth doing, but believe or not, it’s one of the easiest things you can do. Yet most people won’t do it, even though it’s one of the easiest things you can do for yourself.
Use the Pomodoro technique
I’ve mentioned it before, but using this technique helps me work on my priorities. The Pomodoro technique works as follows:
- Work on a task for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break
- Repeat that for three more periods, followed by a longer break (15-30 minutes)
This technique can come in hand when working on long-term projects. If it involves a lot of work, it’s easy to break it down into smaller tasks. If you work on small chunks throughout the day (or throughout an entire week), it’ll make working on a project much easier.
I’ve used it very often while doing deep work, and it’s something I practice most mornings. You’d be amazed to see how much you can get done with following this technique.
Staying productive during the morning does not have to be difficult. As a matter of fact, it’s easier to do if you’re willing to put in some effort.
It may not be easy at first; however, if you’re disciplined and be patient with what you’re doing, you may end up being far more productive than you usually are.
The tips mentioned earlier can help be much more effective with how you manage your morning hours. Personally, it’s helped me out a lot, and I’ll continue to stick with these practices.
Your Turn: How do you remain productive in the morning?
I would like to know your thoughts on this topic. Do you struggle with being productive in the morning? How have you overcome those challenges?
If you’re not a morning person, how do you go about these practices if you’re a night owl? Which of these tips do you think would work well for you?
Feel free to leave your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.
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Eric is a content writer and the site owner of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can follow Eric on LinkedIn.
10 thoughts on “How To Be Productive In The Morning: 11 Tips For Success”
I’m definitely guilty of hitting the snooze button even though I do get up early to sort my youngest for school. Your article is great as it covers so many things that easily distract us, especially first thing in the morning.
Emails are my pet hate ! So many are not relevant and I have them show up on my screen so I can dismiss or read further without going into my inbox.
I find social media the most time wasting even though I still look through pages or read the news on my phone. A video pops up and before you realise, 20 mins or more has been wasted watching a pointless video that has no benefit to my day!
I’m using pen and paper more to keep track of things to do and that’s a lot of books that a CEO reads ! Wow!
Guilty of not reading enough too!
Thanks for sharing. Definitely need to tweak a few things from your great suggestions.
These tips don’t seem too simple to follow for some people. I think it’s matter of discipline and being patient with the efforts.
I can tell we have some things in common on what we do not like. I’m not a fan of checking email often, and definitely not social media.
Whether intentional or not, spending time on social media can be a huge time waster. It’s not easy for some people, but it’s something we all should get better at doing.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. That was a lot you brought up, and they’re helpful to keep in mind as well. They’re very much appreciated.
I always enjoy trying new things to be in a better mindset and more productive. Thank you for making this article easy to read and very informative.
While I do get up when my alarm goes off, I haven’t really tried meditating or reading (mostly because it puts me to sleep). But since you mentioned audiobooks, I will try that out for sure.
Same thing with checking email on my phone. I’ll work on trying to check it less. I’m definitely sharing this!
Constantly learning and trying new things make us better individuals throughout life. When it comes to mindset and productivity, that could not be further from the truth.
It sounds like you follow some of these tips well. I’m glad to know that, but at the same time, definitely challenge yourself to do the other things. You be surprised to see what you might get out of it.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Keep up with the great habits- your input is greatly appreciated.
I am so glad I came across this post.
I am not a morning person anyway, but ever since losing my job, I just can’t find the motivation to get out of bed, and I start my day at 3pm instead.
I like your tip to read or listen to audio books in the morning, sometimes – if I am determined enough I listen to motivational videos on YouTube – just to get out of bed.
I definately agree with avoid watching the news, especially at the moment because it is nothing but doom and gloom.
I will be following all of your tips in this post and love the Pomodoro technique, which I have never heard of before.
I will bookmark this page and come back to it as need to get moving!
When you don’t plan your day out (or you’re not on a regular schedule), it can be difficult to not get up. You’re not the only one, but anyone can change how they go about their day.
I like what you’re doing watching motivational videos on YouTube. That’s another alternative to reading or listening to audiobooks.
I hope these tips help you out. I recommend you try out the Pomodoro technique. It works well for me.
If you want to learn more about it, here’s a post on how to use it effectively. It should help you out.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts- they’re very much appreciated. Take care and best wishes moving forward.
I often find that I am more productive and focused in the morning, than later in the day. And yes, I do have a guilty feeling when I didn’t get up on time. Preparing certain things the night before, does make it easier to get going in the mornings.
I recently started doing exercises very early in the morning and I find that it is helping me to feel more relaxed when I start work. The biggest distraction for me is my phone and hearing notifications coming in. So I am making a point of putting my phone on flight mode when I want to concentrate.
The pomodoro technique is a great way to work intensely for shorter periods and take a 5 minute break. That has increased my productivity. Thank you for sharing these great tips.
I noticed that appears to be the case for a lot of people- when they’re more focused in the mornings. I’ll tell you that always appears to be the case when I’m getting my priorities done first thing in the morning.
It sounds like you’re a morning person, with the type of activities you do during the morning hours. I understand where you come from regarding the distractions. Our phones are wonderful tools, but they can be significant productivity killers.
I’m glad you find the Pomodoro technique helpful. It sure has helped me get more done in shorter work periods.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts (and your experience)- I greatly appreciate it.
This article was a good read, I agree with most of these things. I get up in the morning and I make coffee, I find it helps me get energy and stay focused.
I also try to limit my phone use when I am working. I can’t cut it out completely as I use my phone for work.
I agree with the limiting the news, I find it to be nothing but bad news. When ever I watch the news I am always in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
I used my phone to check weather and traffic if need be. Most of the people that I know that watch or read the news are always panicked and afraid, I don’t want to live in a state of panic.
I can tell you like all of these things that can help jumpstart your morning. That seems to be the time when people are the most focused.
Yes, limiting your phone use whenever possible helps immensely. Even if you put it away (i.e. for a few hours), that can help out a lot.
I think cutting out the news is a great way to not get distracted, especially when you need to stay focused. I find that tying myself to the news does not make me feel better. So I’m glad we agree on that point.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re much appreciated.