Start with something you enjoy.
Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, starts her morning with music because it gets her in the right mindset and prepares her for the day ahead. Bachelder says, “To have the energy to lead, we need to be restored and prepared before we get to the workplace. When I honor these routines, it makes a big difference in the day.”
Think about what gives you energy and consider starting your day with a few minutes of it–whether that’s yoga, reading, or just sitting quietly and drinking coffee.
Get your sweat on.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey jogs six miles every morning. Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 5 o’clock in the morning to get sweaty. You don’t have to do exactly what they do, but you should really consider some sort of morning workout.
You obviously know that exercise is great for you, but what you might not know is that exerting yourself will actually leave you feeling more energized and awake. Just make sure you schedule your workouts for the morning, so that they actually happen. Exercising before you go to work means you won’t put it off because of projects pilling up.
“The president’s day actually starts the day before.”
This comes from Michael Lewis’s Vanity Fair profile of former President Obama. The most productive people on the planet ensure their morning is already organized, so they can focus on improving their day instead of scrambling.
The former president spent the evening reviewing schedules and briefs for the coming day, and you too can avoid the morning scramble by laying out clear goals and priorities for tomorrow.
You’ll reduce your anxiety, and you’ll rest easy knowing you already have your ducks in a row.
John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Patron tequila and Paul Mitchell, starts his morning with just five minutes of reflection. This allows him to be present and grateful, and to start the day refreshed.
He’s onto something more than a moment of quiet–practicing gratitude has an enormous slew of benefits, including boosted productivity.
Your moment of presence doesn’t have to be on a yoga mat or a fancy meditation studio. Try just laying in bed and thinking about what you’re thankful for as a positive way to begin your morning.
Avoid email as much as possible.
Microsoft decided to study the use of email in their workers and found that it took people an average of 15 minutes to return to their important projects every time they were pestered by emails, phone calls, or other communication.
For a solution, look no further than the founder of Tumblr, David Karp, who waits until 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. to check his email, and spends his morning working on important projects instead. “If something urgently needs my attention,” he said, “someone will call or text me.”
If you can’t completely ignore email in the morning, consider at least finding a way to pare down the amount you check at once. There are plenty of apps to help you trim down your inbox.
Begin with what’s most important.
According to researchers at the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore, as the day goes on, your self-control and willpower decrease.
So what does this mean for you? It’s vital to get your most pressing, important task out of the way early in the morning, before the day starts to take its toll on your willpower. Stick to this, and you’ll find your productivity skyrocket.
Om… om… om…
Many successful entrepreneurs have touted the benefits of meditation. The names include Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey, among plenty of other mega-moguls.
Meditating is a great way to clear your head so that you can tackle anything and everything the workday throws at you. And it does everything from making you happier to boosting your health.
If you don’t have enough time to emulate the principles laid out by Huineng in the Platform Sutra, consider a pseudo-meditation by scheduling some morning “me” time without cell phones, Twitter, or even, god forbid, this column.
Do you have any morning habits to boost productivity? Share them with me on Twitter.