Guest post by Nick Rojas, a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years.
Yeah, we’ve all heard it before. “I’m not a morning person.” But what if I told you, you don’t have to be? In fact, being a morning person is all about getting up and getting started, which can be difficult with a foggy head or sluggish motor skills.
One of the biggest barriers to completing any task is the simple act of starting. Sometimes, it’s difficult to just take the plunge and get started. But you can’t drag your feet through life, completing tasks only grudgingly and procrastinating as much as possible. So, before you reach for your smartphone, here’s three great tips to get you up in the morning and ready to start your day as productively as possible.
1- Take a moment before you go to sleep to list out your tasks for the next day, and add it to your task management app
If you're anything like me, when you wake up, it takes a little while to clear your head. Some mornings, it's all I can do to remember how to operate my coffee maker. My tasks for the day are floating out in the sky, somewhere very far from my thoughts, until the moment I sit down in my desk chair.
So, to solve this problem, take a moment (and a notebook) to write down your tasks for the next day the night before. Maybe you do it at your desk right before you leave to go home. Maybe you work from home, and you just do it on a notebook before you switch out your light. Or perhaps you use task management apps to keep organize. The point is to create an easily referenced starting point to help you pick up exactly where you left off the day before, with minimal time spent reorienting yourself.
Note how important each task is and any unfinished tasks from the day before as well. I’ve found that this even helps me think about it: by bringing my tasks and challenges to the forefront of my mind just before I sleep, I often spend time turning the tasks around in my head as I drift off into dreamland. Sometimes I even have great ideas, breakthroughs that I can note down in the handy notebook, right by my bed.
2- Eat a good breakfast
Grrrooooowwwwllllll. Oh, was that me? Excuse me! I can’t focus when I’m hungry. What did we always say was the most important thing? Yep, breakfast. Eat a good breakfast! Though it’s sometimes hard to work up an appetite just after waking up, a breakfast improves focus and cognition, and even helps your mood.
What should this breakfast look like? You want something that won’t cause you to crash after an hour, so it’s important to have some protein. Eggs, yogurt, and peanut butter are all great sources of protein and healthy fats. If you’re going to eat something sweet, make sure that you also get some protein—peanut butter and jelly on a bagel is a favorite for me.
And, of course, there’s coffee, but that’s no secret, so we won’t spend time talking about it.
So you’re organized, you’ve eating well, what’s the final part of the picture? It’s long been known that, in a strange, counter-intuitive way, actually gives you more energy instead of taking your energy away.
Yep: start your day with a short, aerobic exercise routine. I’m talking jumping jacks, pushups, kung-fu kicks, a short job, whatever you need to get the blood flowing! There are plenty of lists of short, effective exercises you can do to start the day available.
Now maybe mornings ain’t so bad!
With these three simple steps, you too can begin your day with a burst of energy. Once you’re properly awake, it will be easy to carry this productivity throughout the day and accomplish all of your goals. Finally, you can sleep easier, knowing you’ve accomplished a lot the day before. Sweet dreams!