Success Tip: Ten Things To Do Before 8:00 AM
Everyone has twenty-four hours in their day, and the way those precious hours pan out so often depends on a great morning routine. Here’s what works well for me, and I suspect a customized version of this will work well for you too.
1. Wake up well-rested
To properly function you need seven or more hours of quality sleep. This is non-negotiable. The benefits are many and well documented, but a few of them are:
- Higher creativity and focus
- Less daytime sleepiness (duh!)
- Lower stress
- Decreased incidence of depression
- Fewer accidents
- Increased creativity
- Longer life
- Better memory
Sure, every now and then this may be impossible (late night weekday concert anyone?) but if you don’t consistently get enough sleep you’re headed for trouble. And depending on stimulants as a sleep substitute (full disclosure – I love coffee and brew it up every morning) is a losing proposition.
2. Begin with a “Moment of Gratitude”
This is something I do every morning and you should too! Just take two minutes to peacefully and quietly think of some things that you are grateful for. I do mine on my balcony as the sun is rising, which is extra sweet! But you don’t need an elaborate setting, anywhere will do. And I know that some of you are presently in difficult life situations, but the fact is if you live in a first-world country you have a heck of a lot to be grateful for! Starting your morning this way primes you to be thankful, patient, and kind to others.
3. Do something active
You’re rested, you’re grateful, now it’s time to get your body moving! A gym visit, a brisk morning walk, jumping jacks and running in place, raking the leaves, washing the car…..do something!! Regular exercise is something that is irreplaceable, and a “well-known secret” among the happiest and most successful people.
4. Eat a quality breakfast
A good breakfast typically involves protein, fiber, vitamin rich foods, and a minimum of things such as refined sugar and bleached flour that will have you crashing. Okay – maybe you don’t care, but here’s my typical weekday breakfast:
Rich’s Yogurt Parfait
- Six ounces nonfat unflavored unsweetened Greek yogurt
- Whole sliced banana
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pecans, walnuts, or other nuts
- Organic ground flaxseed
But that’s me! Maybe you like scrambled eggs with veggies and turkey sausage, or maybe you’re a vegan and have to be a little more creative – whatever! Just eat a healthy breakfast and don’t start your day without properly fueling up!
5. Organize your day
This is often the difference between someone who is incredibly productive versus one who spends the day putting out fires. Make a list of what you want to accomplish during the day with notes about how you will get it done. Keep it with you!
6. Feed your mind positively
Sure, you can start your day by watching cable news or scrolling social media, but is that really a positive way to feed you mind? If you have a few minutes before you have to get to work, spend it wisely! Read some positive content, listen to beautiful music (everyone’s definition of that is different for sure, but I love to listen to rock when exercising and classical to wind down) – do something, even for five minutes, that makes your brain feel good. If you have kids at home, it is incredible what happens when you interrupt your hectic morning routine and include them in this!
7. Make your drive count
Your drive to work often sets the mood for the day. Here are some things you can do:
- Call a friend or loved one
- Listen to a motivating podcast
- “Read” a great audiobook
- Stream beautiful music that is not interrupted by commercials or annoying DJs
- Enjoy some silence!!
8. Eat the frog first!
Many times our daily list includes difficult things that we are worried about or not looking forward to. Do them first and clear your mind. This is an incredible stress reducer!!
9. Do something small that shows kindness to others. Repeat.
When you open your eyes to the opportunities to be kind to others, your whole world opens. These can (and should) be tiny things like thanking the person who is cleaning the restrooms in your building, or letting your team member who is having a rough time with something know that you were thinking about her. Look for ways to be kind and they will find you!
10. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile!
You can be bitter about things, or approach everything with a smile. You choose!