Morning routines are something we often fantasize about. You know, that mythical, magical hour or so where we have all the time we want to work out, meditate, eat a healthy breakfast and enjoy a few moments of creative bliss. But can that actually happen IRL? We’ve gathered up tips from the productivity pros at Inc., Forbes and Develop Good Habits to help us make it a reality. Get ready for your mornings to be both productive and relaxing. And remember, research has proven that it only takes 21 days to establish a habit. Let the countdown begin…
1. Get up an Hour Earlier: This first one is going to hurt. But having an extra hour in the morning could make all the difference when you are establishing morning habits. Research has shown that early risers are more optimistic and are better at solving problems that come up during the day.
2. Do Something Active: Don’t even let yourself make it a debate. When exercise becomes a habit, you just do it, because that’s what you do. Whether it’s 15 minutes of stretching and yoga or an intense cardio session at the gym, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel once you get your workout done first thing in the morning.
3. Take a Moment to Visualize Your Day: Before you’ve even been up long enough to start feeling overwhelmed, take some time to map out your day and write out all your to-dos and top three goals. The more prepared you are for your day, the more productive you’ll be.
4. Listen to Some Good Music or an Audio Book: Do you wish you had more time to tackle that big reading list? Try listening to an audio book while you’re getting ready in the morning. You’ll be amazed at how fast you get through a book, even if it is only in 15-minute increments. Waking up to music is also a great way to prepare for the type of day you want to have, whether you need some fun beats to get you excited for a busy day, or something a little more soothing for a more mellow day.
5. Tidy up Some Clutter: You know those things that would only take you five minutes to finish but you just keep postponing? Take just a couple minutes to make the bed, clean up your desk, put away the laundry or tackle any little tasks that will nag at you and keep you from focusing on the real goals of the day.
6. Drink a Glass of Lemon Water: All you’ve got to do is squeeze a few drops of lemon into some water to get your day off to the right start. It will only take a couple minutes and it helps boost your metabolism and jumpstart your digestive system.
7. Take Your Vitamins: Just do it. Put them out the night before if you keep forgetting, but just make it a habit already.
8. Say Something Encouraging: If you have kids, take a minute to tell them how special they are. Or send a text to a loved one with some words of encouragement. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but you’ll feel better after connecting with them. When you cheer someone up, you make yourself happier too. Talk about a win-win.
9. Meditate for Five Minutes: Why is the thought of doing “nothing” so intimidating? Just start with a few minutes of mindfulness and see how it makes you feel. Meditation has been proven to have numerous benefits, including less stress, more focus and increased creativity, so it seems worth a shot, right?
10. Give Yourself 15 Minutes of No Screen Time: If your alarm is your phone, resist the urge to check your email as soon as you open your eyes. It sets you up for stress when you should be spending your extra hour of morning time focusing on you.
Do you have a regular morning routine? Tell us how you stick to your habits in the comments below!