The key to changing your morning routine is deciding what you want to achieve. The same routine won’t work for everyone. First, think about why you need to change your morning habits? Do you need to be more productive? Do you want to be healthier? What are your goals? By establishing this first, you can then decide what changes you need to make.
For example, drinking lemon water in the morning is a great way to boost your energy levels and aide your digestive system. However, your health may be in excellent shape, and your focus is on productivity, so lemon water is not the answer to your problem.
It can become overwhelming trying to fit every top tip into your morning routine, making the process counter-productive. Instead, focus on once change at a time and assess if it works for you.
If it does, keep it, and if it doesn’t, ditch it and move on. However, if you are unsure where to start, here are five research-based tips proven to be beneficial.
Wake up at the same time every morning
Waking up at the same time every day can lead to several benefits, including; improved sleep quality, greater alertness, sharper focus, improved job performance, reduced irritability, better immune system function, and a brighter mood.
The key is consistency – seven days a week. So, picking a realistic time to go to bed and wake up that fits with your work schedule is essential.
The circadian rhythm, which is our internal process that regulates our wake/sleep cycle, relies on consistency. By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, your body learns when it should be asleep and awake.
An inconsistent sleep routine prevents your body from releasing hormones at the right time, thereby throwing off your circadian rhythm. Does this really have a significant impact on your day? Well, a research study analyzing students’ sleep patterns at Harvard College showed that students with irregular sleep patterns had a lower grade point average than those with regular sleep patterns. These results are consistent with other sleep studies showing that irregular sleep is a predictor for worse academic performance.
So if you strive towards better sleep quality and improved daily performance, setting a wake-up time that you can achieve seven days a week is a great place to start.
Start the day with movement
It’s probably not news to you that exercise is beneficial. However, research shows that people who exercise during the workday have more energy and a more positive outlook, leading to increased productivity. In addition, morning exercise has been shown to boost your immune system, meaning fewer sick days.
Why exercise in the morning? Well, you’re more likely to fit it in, it puts you in a positive mindset for the day, and it gives you an energy boost to be more productive.
It’ll also help you sleep better – researchers found that individuals who exercised at 7 a.m. experienced better quality and longer sleep than those who exercised later in the day. It doesn’t have to take long; just a few minutes of morning exercise can positively benefit you.
Have a range of easily accessible breakfast options available
How many times a week do you skip breakfast or grab something not so nutritional on the run? It’s not groundbreaking news to hear that it is essential to eat breakfast, but it is well researched. Missing breakfast negatively affects productivity due to affecting your short term memory and not giving you that boost in cognitive performance.
However, mornings can be such a busy and stressful time. The key is to have a few easy breakfast options ready so that you have no excuse to skip this meal. A few healthy foods that you can have available are; overnight oats, pre-boiled eggs, cartons of low-fat yogurts, pre-made breakfast muffins, a range of fruits, granola, pre-made omelet/frittata, or whole-grain cereals.
Having a few things readily available also means you don’t waste time wondering what to eat. Pre-prepare, grab, go, and reap the benefits.
Don’t reach for your phone in the morning
It is so tempting to reach for your phone and start scrolling through emails, your to-do list, and all the social platforms. However, this can really have an effect on your productivity for the rest of the day. By immediately reaching for your phone, it can increase stress levels, distract you from other tasks, and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
You are hit with a large amount of information that interferes with your ability to prioritize tasks throughout the day. Not to mention, what was going to be a quick five-minute browse of your phone, quickly turns into 15-20 minutes, setting back your morning routine. It’s hard to beat that constant draw to pick up your phone and browse, but, thankfully, there are now many apps available to help you cut down your screen time.
Start your day the night before
By creating a good plan the night before, it sets you up for a productive day. Having a schedule or to-do list will ensure that you start the day on the right track. In fact, research shows that even just writing your tasks down makes you more effective, and you perform better.
By planning the night before, you remove some of the decision making for the next day. Researchers state that by reducing the number of decisions you have to make, you free up time to complete what is important in your workday – making you more productive. To steal a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Although these tips may seem like common sense, they are well researched, and it’s easy to let the basics go by the wayside. You may need to adjust your morning until you find the routine that works for you. However, it soon becomes automatic by being consistent, making your routine simple, and setting you on the road to success.