For those of us that don鈥檛 quite have the perfect work-life balance down, 10-hour days in the office can be killer. Managing a to-do list for this week is nearly impossible when you鈥檙e barely getting through today. But changing your morning routine even a little bit can radically transform your efficiency and confidence at work.

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Julie Morgenstern, the author of Time Management from the Inside Out($6 on Kindle), believes she鈥檚 unlocked the secret to maximizing productivity. Through observing her clients at companies like American Express, Bank of America and Microsoft, she traced their loss of concentration to checking email in the morning. 鈥淚t opens up a whole reactive part of your brain,鈥 she says. 鈥淵ou may feel like you鈥檙e getting something done, but it鈥檚 very hard to shut your mind off and regain focus once you open that window shade.鈥 Scroll on for聽her morning routine tips for getting more hustle out of your day.

How to Be More Productive

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1. Make a plan.聽鈥淭he more decisions you take out of your morning, the less hectic it鈥檚 going to be,鈥 Morgenstern says. Before your head hits the pillow, pack your bag for work, prep your breakfast聽and elect a big project to devote your efforts to tomorrow. With the logistics out of the way, you can now use those early waking hours to treat yo鈥 self.

2. Smell the coffee.聽Whether you enjoy a calming cup at home or prefer to stop by your favorite cafe, centering yourself at the beginning of the day puts you in control. Try connect on a sensory level and avoid multitasking (ahem, or checking your Instagram feed). 鈥淏y聽starting your day that way, you鈥檙e more able to find that centeredness again when your mind starts to wander in a meeting,鈥 she says.

3. Practice self-care.聽When you鈥檝e done something for yourself, you have more energy to serve other people. 鈥淚t becomes a well spring that you can pull from throughout the day,鈥 she says. Many of Morgenstern鈥檚 clients feel fueled by exercise, but you can get the same effect from anything that you enjoy, like journalling or listening to music.

4. Prep during your commute.聽Instead of upping your Candy Crush game, use your commute to transition from home to work. If you have a big project that requires strategic thinking, review notes from past meetings or visualize solutions.

5. Conquer tough tasks first.聽Devote your first power hours at work to a project that requires the most concentration. While it鈥檚 tempting to warm up with the easy stuff, like responding to emails and cleaning your desk, they actually steal your energy from your more important assignments. Knocking out the larger things on your to-do list gives you a sense of accomplishment and relief, which can move you forward all day.

What morning rituals do you swear by? Tweet us @BritandCo and drop some knowledge.