It's no secret that getting an early start to your day can immediately set you up for 24 hours of excellence. Of course, how early you get up every morning comes down to your personal preference. Is it an hour before work? Two? Three or more? The gist is you want to have enough time to truly let yourself wake up, get a grip, and prepare accordingly. A few simple tweaks to your morning routine will mean you're productive before work even starts. *mind blown*
It all starts with tidying up your space, getting your body acclimated to the morning hours, and understanding what your day will look like. Trying to be productive before work might sound like you're adding yet another "to-do" to your already infinite list of "to-dos," but the thing about a good morning ritual is that it sets you up for a more productive rest of your day.
So, it's worth it. Here are 10 ideas to get you organized…before 10 a.m.
1. Check the Weather and Traffic
Knowing the day's weather forecast will help you, even if you've planned your work outfit in advance make it part of your morning routine to check the weather forecast via an app on your smartphone. Tune in to your local radio station (most give breakdowns every 20 minutes). Or turn on the morning TV show for updates.
Checking traffic might not be at the top of your list, but it's a worthwhile task that could save you headaches and let you build in enough travel time if you're a driver.
2. Make Your Bed and Layout Your Clothes
Making your bed is one of those chores your parents told you to do when you were a child. But taking two minutes to tidy your bed will instantly feel like an accomplishment. It's a surefire quick and easy way to: a) instantly check something off your to-do list; b) it leaves your room looking suddenly much cleaner and put-together, which makes you feel good.
Use this time to also lay out your clothes for the day. Bonus: After checking the weather, you'll know whether you should pack a sweater. Important info, people.
3. Get Your Blood Pumping
Fitness enthusiasts swear by a good morning workout for a reason—you jolt your body into action, sweat it out in the AM and shower before heading into work. And once it's built into your morning routine, you're also less likely to skip a session AND eat healthier throughout your day.
Of course, your body also needs to recover after intense workouts. If you're not heading to the gym, doing a circuit at home, or going for a run outdoors, build in time for some quick stretches. All you need is the floor and at least 5 minutes to stretch your body and get moving! Yoga definitely is on the list.
4. Get Wet –Quick Shower or a Splash to The Face
You know the drill: Getting ready for the day actually entails, you know, getting ready. If you're not a big morning shower kind-of-person, make sure to splash your face with water and do your morning beauty routine. It doesn't have to be long or complicated, but you want to physically feel refreshed and not like you're rolling into work all grimy.
5. Take Time to Stretch
Stretching in the morning helps to wake up our bones and joints, along with our minds. When we first wake up, our muscles may feel a bit stiff and tight, so stretching them out helps to relax our bodies and prepare them for the day ahead. You can even improve your posture and circulation by doing a few simple stretches in the morning, so set aside 5 or 10 minutes to get those limbs limber.
6. Make Breakfast While Listening to The News
Maybe its because I'm a Broadcast Journalism Major but the news can start your morning out right. The next time you're making breakfast at home, use it as a time to tune in to your favorite show, podcast or radio station. You can just as easily catch up on the news with the TV on. Listening to the radio or a podcast, though, just makes sense for the kitchen when you need your eyes on the stove (or microwave timer).
7. Write Down Your Top Three Daily Goals
One of the best things about doing a brain dump early in the morning is that it helps clear your mind in a stress-free way. Here's how to do it: Grab a piece of paper and write one thing down in the center of the page. It can be a word, a task, a feeling or something else.
Then, keep writing down everything else that comes to your mind and connecting everything in little bubbles. Don't worry about it sounding or looking perfect. The idea here is to get all your random, haphazard thoughts on to a piece of paper.
Next, go back and read what you wrote. Circle in a different color the three most important items on that list you can focus on today. You can circle other important action items and add them to your to-do list for a later date.
8. Go Over Your Schedule for The Day and Week
Understand what's coming ahead in the day. After you've let your mind wander, do a brain dump, and outlined your daily goals, look at your calendar. Have you set time aside for you to tackle your top three daily tasks? Do you have a lot of meetings and just enough free time to squeeze in one task? Look over your schedule to mentally prepare for what's ahead and to make sure you have enough time to do everything on your to-do list.
9. Check Your Bank Account/Any Pending Transactions
Some people like checking their banking statements every week or month, but it pays to do a quick inventory of your checking account each morning. Doing so will let you keep easy tabs on any pending transactions. You'll also immediately notice any recurring bill payments since those are usually posted first thing in the AM. If anything's amiss, you'll notice right away.
10. Pack Your Lunch and Prepare for Dinner
No one is expecting you to meal prep for the week or even for the entire day as soon as you wake up. But taking a few minutes to pack your lunch bag will ensure you save money and keep your energy up. Pack your lunch, some snacks, a coffee tumbler (for your commute), and your water bottle.
Oh, and while you're at it, why not figure out what you're eating for dinner? If the chicken needs defrosting, now is the time to move it from the freezer to the refrigerator. Great job! One less thing to worry about.