Improve Your Mornings with These Productivity & Happiness Hacks
“In one minute you can change your attitude, and in that minute you can change your entire day,” says American physician and author Spencer Johnson. This is why so many of the world’s most successful people and business leaders really work on fine tuning their mornings. When you set your mornings up just right, you set your day (and your entire life) up for more productivity and more happiness.
“But I’m not a morning person!” you may protest. The great news is you don’t have to be one! With the right strategies and tools, you can upgrade your mornings regardless of your career, family situation, or lifestyle. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do ALL of these strategies at once. Pick one or two to try on, and see how they elevate the rest of your day’s experiences.
1. Change How You Wake Up
How familiar does this sound? Your alarm goes off shrilly and you let out a choice word or two of displeasure and roll out of bed. “Ugh, is it already 6 a.m.?” you mutter to yourself. You stumble to the kitchen and bring a cup of coffee while flicking through the news. “Really?” you exclaim at some random talking head who is spouting off about politics. By the time you’ve dressed and gotten into the car, your morning has already proved what you thought: Mornings suck!
But you see, none of this has to do with the actual morning, but with how you wake up and the mindset you choose to enforce within yourself. Here are some tips and strategies to make waking up less traumatic for you and everyone around you:
Change your alarm. Consider a more soothing sound than a traditional alarm, and find ways to incorporate natural light to energize you. If you live in an area where mornings are dark, consider a lamp that mimics the spectrum of natural light from the sun.
Find your reward. What is one thing that would excite you about your morning? Perhaps it’s a big plate of eggs and bacon, or better coffee, or a cozy fireplace crackling before a hearth. Whatever your thing is, have it ready to make your mornings something to look forward to.
Begin with your passion. What is something that makes you feel contentment, joy and peace? Instead of filling your mind with negative TV shows or scrolling through your work email before work, instead engage in a hobby or passion like reading a good book. It’ll start your day off feeling happier and more inspired.
2. Know Your Purpose Ahead of Time
One reason many people are so stressed about their mornings is because they wake up with the crushing stress of the unknown. What does the day hold? What does your to-do list have? What could be lurking in your work email inbox? What might your boss ask of you when you get in?
Instead of letting the unknown stress you, create a to-do list in advance, even the night before. Prioritize what’s on the list from most important to least important. Now, when you wake up, you’ll have a clear game plan without feeling immediate pressure and stress.
3. End With Meditation
As you structure your morning, carve out space for a few minutes of quiet contemplation or meditation. This centers you and balances you before you have to sit in rush hour or speed off to drop your kids off at school.
“If you haven’t heard by now, meditation is awesome,” says organizational influencer Shelby at Little Coffee Fox. (1) “And it’s not just hippie stuff anymore – science backs up how incredible regular meditation is for you. It can reduce anxiety, improve concentration, and help dial down the obnoxious chattering thoughts that take up space in your brain.
Meditation first thing in the morning is great for a few reasons. Just like exercise first thing in the day, it helps to knock it out early on so you don’t have to try and squeeze it in later.”
“Meditating early is also nice because it can help you begin your day on a more centered, positive tone,” says Shelby. “It’s the perfect way to improve your morning routine, and it doesn’t cost a dime. [...] Pick a part of your routine and pair meditation to it. Meditate for five minutes before you shower, while you wait for your coffee to cool, before you put on your shoes. And it doesn’t have to be for long. Start with five minutes and gradually increase the time in your sessions.”
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