One of the things I look forward to the most is the first two to three hours of each day. I love my mornings because that is when I am most creative and do my best work especially if I have had a good sleep the night before.
I strongly believe the way we start our day plays a huge part in how productive and effective we are, which ultimately affects what we give our focus to and how much we get done everyday.
The best way to ensure we perform well is to develop effective morning habits that will support us in accomplishing what we want each day. As we continue to apply these habits daily, they will start to have a cumulative, positive effect on our results.
Ever since I have given more attention to how I start my day, some of the benefits I have experienced include:
- Getting my projects or tasks done quicker.
- Having better clarity as to what I want to accomplish daily.
- Feeling less stressed and overwhelmed.
- Making steady progress towards the things I want to achieve.
- Having additional time later in the day to spend however I chose to.
While there are many people who are productive later in the day or late at night, I would recommend just trying out these ideas for a month just to experience the difference it will make. Those who go to bed earlier and get up earlier will almost always outperform those who stay up late and get up late. The challenge is on if you want to take me up on it.
Here are seven simple ideas or habits to develop that will increase our performance each day and lead to a steady improvement in our results over time. The key is to consistently apply these habits so that it becomes part of how we operate daily.
- Hydrate your body when you get up. When we get up, our bodies would have gone anywhere between six to eight hours without any water. Therefore, getting hydrated straight away will help our bodies quickly reset and be engaged for the day ahead. I personally like to have water with lemon juice and a little honey so it’s important to do what serves your body the most.
- Get yourself mentally ready. Instead of starting the day getting caught up in external activities such as watching the news, checking emails or social media, it will be more beneficial to do some inner work first. This can include spending a few minutes focusing on our breathing, doing a quick meditation and also visualising exactly how we want our day to be. This can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour. It comes back to how much value we believe we will get from doing it.
- Feed your mind. We often require inspiration to be at our most creative which can be via reading something motivating, or listening or watching uplifting. By taking in new, valuable input, it will support us in achieving what we want. Personally I read personal development and business books, and listen to podcasts on similar topics. Sometimes I will only listen to 15 minutes of a podcast and then finish listening to it at a later time.
- Review your daily plan. Now that we’ve done some inner work, we can start focusing on what we actually want to get done that day. Ideally, we will have created a plan the night before so now we can review it and decide on what needs to be done first. Not only should what we want to get done be on our plan, it should also go on our calendar so that we know exactly what we are committed to.
- Remove all distractions. In today’s world, a big part of being focused is removing distractions like the internet, our devices and social media activities. Unless the internet, emails and social media are an essential part of what you must do each day, they should be of a lesser priority. Turning off all distractions will make a huge difference to our productivity. Distraction removal can also include eliminating unessential meetings that use up valuable time.
- Tackle the most important thing first until it is done. By having a daily plan, it clarifies what our priorities should be for the day. Doing what’s most important not only will generate momentum for the rest of the day, it will also be a huge boost to our level of confidence. When we do something that’s either been playing on our minds or something we’ve been putting off, it can be a huge momentum builder.
- Avoid the temptation to multitask. Nothing destroys productivity like distractions and multitasking. When we constantly switch between tasks or projects, our focus is diluted which means we don’t give what we are doing the full attention it deserves, and as a result, the quality of our work suffers. Focus on one thing at a time, then have a quick break before starting the next task.
Some of the ideas mentioned above are quite simple and could even be considered common sense. However, common sense is not always common practice and it comes down to not whether we already know these ideas, it’s whether we are consistently applying them in our daily lives. If we do, we will certainly experience an improvement in our results.
Question: What is your favourite morning habit that helps you stay focused and productive each day?
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