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 the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your 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 also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.