My life was changed when I had my two boys.
Yes, not only did I become a mother, but I also became … a morning person. Before I had kids, waking up at 10 a.m. on the weekends was a huge achievement. Now, I pop out of bed before 6:30 a.m. on any day, insufferable as that may sound.
Waking up that early used to give me much-needed quiet time to sit with my coffee and read newspapers. I’m not sure exactly when this happened, but these days, the minute I roll out of bed it’s as if I’m at my desk, answering emails and putting out fires. By the time I arrive at the office, I feel like I’ve already put in half a day.
Lately, I’ve been finding ways to cure my morning frenzy. In the search for a better morning routine, I soon realized I was only looking at half the problem. A great morning begins not from the moment you wake up, but from the moments before you close your eyes. Below are some of the things I’ve done to make sure I’m in the right mindset to power up the day:
1. Prep your clothes
I got into this habit when I had to wake up at 4 a.m. every weekday for my morning television show. I laid out all my clothes and accessories the night before, as half the time I was getting dressed in the dark.
The extra minutes I spent laying out the clothes at night made it so easy the next morning when my brain was still asleep. If only there was a robot that just put the clothes on you, too.
2. Stop answering emails and texts
After a certain time in the evening, I do not answer any more emails or texts. Among the many problems with email is that during working hours, every email extends into a longer chain of emails that can eat up hours of your day.
I find that if I answer an email at 10 p.m., I’m usually stuck in a real-time conversation with this person. So after a certain time, I stop looking at my inbox altogether and silence my phone.
3. Start a ritual
Many successful entertainers, athletes, and speakers perform small rituals before they’re about to go onstage. Call it superstitious, but going through these motions—whether it’s saying a little prayer or touching home plate with your bat—helps calm the body and mind before stressful moments.
Employing rituals at home right before bed has that same calming effect. It prepares your mind for what’s ahead. I vary my rituals—sometimes it’s as simple as lighting an aromatherapy candle (of course, blow it out before you fall asleep!) or listening to a favorite piece of music.
These days, given my newfound experience in Pilates, I’m taking two to three minutes out of my night to breathe deeply and properly. Whatever your ritual, taking a few minutes to do something consistently and deliberately is a great way to slow down the pace of your day—so you can pick it up in the morning the right way!
If you’re still looking for ways to power up, watch this Radiate video to learn what some CEOs eat to fuel themselves during the day.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Betty Liu is the founder and CEO of Radiate Inc.
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