Having a daily routine can help us be the best version of ourselves and achieve what we want. Although having a schedule may sound boring, it is the solution to leading an enriching, pleasant and calm life. How we set intentions for our day is the basis for being spontaneous. It gives us wings since it allows us to automate the obligations of the day to day, freeing the mind of unnecessary worries so it can be dedicated to more enriching activities.
However, one size doesn’t fit all. You have to know yourself to customize the best morning routine. For example: Do you need coffee to kickstart your mornings? If “yes,” consider building it into your routine by preparing your coffee maker the night before. That way, you can wake up, pour it and immediately get started with your day.
Consider these small changes in your daily life routine that can improve your lifestyle.
1. Start with exercise
According to the researchers of the University of Bristol, people who train during the workday have more energy and a positive attitude, both fundamental to complete the tasks. Moving for at least ten minutes triggers the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms the brain and helps you keep impulses in check. In the morning, you have more time to devote to exercise, and training will improve self-control and energy levels throughout the day.
2. But drink some lemon water first
Drinking lemon water upon waking up raises your energy levels physically and mentally. Lemon water gives you a boost of natural hydration that lasts all day, improving the assimilation of nutrients by the stomach. Drink it right away in the morning (on an empty stomach) to ensure complete assimilation. It would also be better to wait 15-30 minutes before eating (perfect time to devote to physical activity).
Lemons are full of nutrients; they are rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. If you weigh less than 68 pounds, drink the juice of half a lemon (a whole lemon if you exceed that weight). Don’t drink the juice without water as it can hurt your teeth.
3. No screens until breakfast
When you immediately dedicate yourself to emails, messages, Facebook, you lose focus and the morning succumbs to the needs of others. It is much healthier to dedicate those precious first moments to something relaxing, which tunes the day on a serene to a positive note. Diving into technology right away has the opposite effect: it’s a frenzied start. Exercising, meditating, or even watching birds in the window are all great ways to kick start the day.
4. Have a real breakfast
Eating something for breakfast benefits you over a lot of people. Those who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, have more stable blood sugar levels, and tend to be less hungry during the day. And these are statistics relating to people who do not consume specific foods for breakfast. But when you have a healthy breakfast, the doors to a productive day open for you. A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves short-term memory, and helps you focus more intensely and for longer periods.
5. Set your goal for the day
Research shows that having concrete goals is linked to huge improvements in self-confidence and feelings of control. Setting specific goals for the day sets it all in motion. Limit yourself to a few achievable goals that you can easily divide into small steps. Too vague goals like “I want to finish my article” are counterproductive because they don’t include the “how” of things.
The same goal rephrased more efficiently would go something like this: “I intend to finish my article by writing each of the three sections, and devoting no more than an hour to each.” Now, you don’t just have a purpose to achieve- you also have a way to do it.
Getting a good start at home is essential, but it’s only half the battle. If you can’t keep that tone when you set foot in the office, your morning will lose momentum quickly.
Here’s how to maintain a productive pace once you arrive at the office.
6. First of all, tidy up your desk
While it’s a bit of a pain to do it as soon as you get to work, it makes a big difference in your ability to concentrate. According to a Princeton University study, people who work in an orderly space report better performance than those who work in a chaotic space, because clutter diverts attention from work. Indeed, the effects of disorder on concentration are not very different from those of multi-tasking.
7. No emails until you’ve “bite the bullet”
Bite the bullet and don’t delay is the greatest antidote to procrastination, and the most productive people know how important it is to sink your teeth into this delicacy in the morning. In other words, dedicate the morning to something that requires a high level of concentration and that you don’t feel like doing, and you will get it done in a short time. Get into the habit of swallowing three toads before checking your emails, because the mail is a distraction that will lead you to procrastinate and waste precious mental energy.
8. Start your morning meetings on time
Meetings waste a lot of time and can ruin an otherwise productive morning. People who make the most of the early hours of the day know that a meeting can take a long time if they allow it, so to avoid it they inform everyone from the start that they will stick to the established schedule. In doing so, a limit is established that encourages everyone to be more focused and efficient. Stick to your morning appointment schedule, and the whole day will go according to plan.
9. Don’t do multiple things at the same time
Multitasking in the morning – when you have a lot to do, a lot of energy, and you feel like you can handle two or three things at once – is tempting, but it blocks the whole day. Research conducted by Stanford University confirmed that doing multiple things simultaneously, is less productive than doing just one at a time. Researchers find that people who are routinely bombarded with multiple streams of electronic information are unable to pay attention, remember information, or move from task to task like someone completing one task at a time.
What if there is someone particularly suited to multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to do multiple things at once and their belief that this improves their performance. They found that avid “multitaskers” (those who often do multiple tasks together and believe that this gives a boost to their performance) performed less at multitasking than those who preferred to dedicate themselves to only one task at a time. Multi-tasking regulars were performing less because they had more difficulty organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information and were slower to switch between tasks. Ouch!
Multitasking worsens efficiency and performance because the brain focuses sufficiently on only one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, the brain loses the ability to complete both tasks successfully.
10. Finally, say no.
“No” is a powerful word that will protect your precious mornings. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not sure”. Saying no to a new assignment is a sign of respect for those already in progress and allows you to successfully honour them with a fresh mind. According to research conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, the harder you have to say no, the more likely you experience stress, exhaustion and even depression. Learn to say no – it will improve your mood as well as your productivity.
The right morning routine can turn your day around, always. The trick is to be motivated, to understand that the early hours are precious and should be “handled with care”.