Most people’s mornings follow a similar sort of path. You wake up in your bed, get dressed, eat some breakfast, and then go off to work. But, what you do in the time between your eyes opening in the morning and the time that you start working can have a massive impact on your productivity and, ultimately, on your success.
Having a solid morning routine can help you gain momentum before your day even starts. It can make you more energized, healthier, more positive, and more productive so that you can walk into your workday feeling like a million bucks.
And, speaking of a million bucks, if you look at the day-to-day lives of successful people, pretty much all of them have healthy morning routines that they stick to religiously.
So, what makes an ideal morning routine? What do you have to do beyond getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, and eating breakfast to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success?
Well, in this article, I’m going to go through a few things that you can add to your morning routine to help you start your day the right way. Of course, you don’t have to add all of them to your routine. But, adding in a few could help you feel more productive and happier throughout the day.
#1: Go to Sleep Early
Plain and simple, it’s impossible to have a solid morning routine if you’re not getting enough sleep and you wake up exhausted. And, with 35.2% of American adults reporting that they get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, it’s clear that a lot of people in our country need to start prioritizing their sleep more.
Sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night will ensure that you stay energetic and focused throughout the day and will prevent you from having crashes and lapses in productivity. You’re never going to feel ready to take on the day if you’re waking up still feeling exhausted.
And, if you have trouble sleeping, try not drinking coffee too late in the day, avoiding strenuous activities later in the day, exercising more, not looking at screens after a certain time, and eating healthier. These are all things that can have a direct effect on the quality of your sleep.
#2: Don’t Hit Snooze
It’s a rainy morning, it’s cold outside, you just got a new down blanket, and your bed is so comfy. All you want to do is just hit the snooze button and go back to sleep for 10 minutes. Don’t do it.
Those 10 extra minutes that you’re giving yourself are not going to make you any less tired. In fact, they will probably actually make you feel more groggy and less energetic throughout your morning. On top of that, you also run the risk of not waking up to your second alarm, which could cause you to oversleep and be late for work.
If you have a lot of trouble not hitting the snooze button, you might want to consider investing in what’s called a sunrise alarm clock, which is basically just a clock that turns on a light when your alarm goes up.
That way, when your alarm goes off, you’ll open your eyes and see a light and your body will register that it’s time to get up.
Whatever it takes for you, don’t hit that snooze button and make sure to get out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off the first time.
#3: Drink a Glass of Water
Staying hydrated is extremely important for staying energized and productive throughout the day. Not being hydrated can lead you to feel nauseous, dizzy, unfocused, and sleepy.
A lot of people find that they feel most dehydrated as soon as they wake up in the morning. And that’s because you lose a lot of water when you sleep, especially by breathing or snoring through your mouth. This can lead people to start off their days feeling dehydrated and unmotivated.
The solution? Drink water as soon as you wake up and it will give you the energy to complete the rest of your morning routine. Personally, I like to keep my water bottle right next to my bed when I go to sleep so that I can wake up and immediately take a big swig.
Trust me, feeling hydrated throughout your day will make everything easier and that starts as soon as you wake up.
#4: Read Positive Content
Some people are able to get by even though they’re unhappy. But, the people in this world who really become successful wake up every day excited to spend another day on Earth. And, if you can wake up every day with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to stay motivated and productive throughout the day.
How do you kickstart your positivity for the day? Well, a great way to do so is by reading something positive right after you wake up. Maybe do it while you’re drinking that glass of water we just talked about. There are about a million books out there that you can buy that are full of hundreds of positive quotes from famous people.
I recommend one called A Year of Positive Thinking that’s filled with great quotes and phrases to kickstart your day for an entire year.
If you take a train or a bus to work in the morning, you should consider getting a daily positive quote app. A personal favorite of mine is called ThinkUp, which is great because you can choose from categories of quotes depending on what it is that’s important to you.
For instance, if you want to become wealthy, then there’s a “Million Dollar Business” setting. If you wanted to be more relaxed, there’s a “Quiet Your Mind” setting.
With apps like this, you can roll out of bed and immediately start thinking positively. Then, it’s going to be easier to get through your morning routine and start your day on a good note. If you want to take it a step further, you can even give yourself a second dose of positivity and read another inspirational quote in the afternoon!
#5: Get Some Exercise
As science continues to progress, we’re starting to understand more and more about how the body and mind are connected. And it turns out that your physical fitness can have a huge effect on productivity and happiness.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, exercise can improve your slow-wave sleep, meaning that people who exercise tend to get better sleep and wake up feeling better. Working out can also help you stabilize your mood and decompress your mind. After a quick workout in the morning, you’re going to feel clearer and more energetic throughout your entire day. Morning exercise is also a great way to control your blood pressure and it can also be extremely helpful for losing weight.
All of the health benefits aside, if you’re only focused on your state of mind throughout the day, you should know that doing a quick workout in the morning will get the blood moving to your brain, will help increase serotonin and dopamine levels, help reduce stress levels, and help you stay focused and productive.
No one’s saying you have to run a marathon or powerlift for two hours, but a quick 15- or 20-minute workout shortly after you wake up can help your reap all these benefits.
#6: Eat a Healthy Breakfast
The old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is, and always has been, absolutely true. The best way to start your day off the right way is by eating a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast.
When building your perfect breakfast, try to choose whole and unprocessed foods from each food group. You want to get some fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and a little dairy in there.
Try making yourself a bowl of oatmeal for those whole grains and then topping it off with seeds and fruits to get your protein and complex carbs. On the side, make yourself an omelet with all kinds of veggies in it.
Eggs, in particular, are a healthy and delicious food to eat in the morning. They’re chock full of Vitamin A, D, and B12, and they’re known to boost metabolism, which means that eggs will make you feel super energetic all day.
Some studies have also suggested that having a cup of black coffee in the morning could be great for your health. In fact, it’s believed to reduce your risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. On top of that, it can help you feel more energized and more focused throughout the day.
However, you also shouldn’t drink coffee until you’ve already been awake for an hour. And any more than one cup of coffee is probably too much caffeine, which isn’t good either.
You might be watching this and thinking that meditation is only for hippies and monks out in the mountains or something. But, a ton of the world’s most successful businesspeople swear by meditation.
For instance, Ray Dalio, billionaire investor and co-CIO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, credits his success to doing 20 minutes of meditation every morning. In fact, he went so far as to say it is “the single most important reason for whatever success I’ve had.”
So, what does he do? He sits down, closes his eyes, and repeats the same phrase in his mind over and over again for 20 minutes. He thinks, You’re peaceful. You’re quiet. You’re not awake, but you’re not asleep. I’m not quite sure how that translates to billions of dollars, to be honest, but the important thing is that it works for him.
And everyone should develop their own personal mantra, which is important to the type of transcendental meditation that Ray Dalio practices. You should choose words that have meaning to you. Or, perhaps, you might prefer to think nothing.
And a lot of meditation experts would recommend that you just let whatever your natural thoughts are come and go. Whatever kind of meditation you choose to practice, giving 20 minutes every morning to meditation will help you gain a new perspective on your life, will help you stop negativity from slipping into your day, and will make you feel less stressed and give you the power to be productive all day long.
#8: Make a To-Do List
Another thing that almost every successful person does is set goals. Yes, they say, “I’m going to have this done within the month” or “I’m going to have this much money in a year.” And, while these longer-term goals are definitely important, it’s also to set goals that you can accomplish every day.
So, before you set out to start working, make a to-do list or a schedule for the day of all the things that you need to get accomplished. This will help you stay focused and organized throughout the day. And it will help you reduce idle time when you’re not being productive.
For example, after you finish a task, a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about what to do next. With a to-do list, you can finish one task, refer to your list, and then be starting your next task within seconds.
Using a to-do list will help you stay motivated and productive throughout your day. There’s literally a science behind it! Whenever you check off something on your to-do list, your brain will be rewarded with a flood of dopamine, which is going to make you feel good, which is going to motivate you to keep chipping away at those tasks so that you can check more boxes off.
So, by making a to-do list, you’re literally hacking your brain to be more productive.
#9: Call a Loved One
Nowadays, especially in the United States, most people in the working world do not live with their families. And, while people have grown more independent because of this (which is definitely good, in a sense), it has also made a lot of people feel lonely.
So, take a little time out of your morning, maybe as you’re commuting to work, to call someone you love, whether that’s your parents, your siblings, your best friend, or a former coworker.
These calls will help you continue to keep strong relationships and will make you feel more fulfilled and happier in your life. In fact, some studies suggest that building strong relationships can even help you live longer!
According to a study from the research group Blue Zone, people who have strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely. So, on top of the intrinsic value of having rewarding and loving relationships with people in your life, it can also help you live a longer life.
So, at some point during your morning, make sure you pick up the phone and call someone you love. If you have someone living with you that you can talk to in the morning, that’s even better.
But, in today’s age, a lot of people live away from the people we love and giving those people a call is extremely important.