What time do you wake up in the morning?
It’s a good idea to get an early start to the day. You may find it difficult to shake off the morning haze, especially if you are a self-proclaimed night owl, but waking early is highly recommended. Many successful people believe in an early start to the day. Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher woke up every day at 5 a.m., Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney wakes up at 4:30 am, renowned architect and educator Frank Lloyd Wright was up at 4 am, author Kurt Vonnegut woke at 5:30 just to name but a few.
In one interview with George Plimpton, Ernest Hemingway – winner of the Nobel Prize in 1954 – explained how his early morning routine helped him succeed as a writer. He said:
“When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there.
“You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that.
“When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.”
That’s right; there is power in early morning routines. What you do in those early morning hours, particularly the hours between when you wake up and when you sit down to write or head out to work, can make or break your day. Here are some things you should include in your morning routine to boost productivity and ensure you utilize those early morning hours in a way that sets you up for a truly successful day.
Meditation improves cognitive functioning, boosts creative thinking and also helps lower any stress you may have. Padmasree Warrior, the Chief Technology & Strategy Officer of Cisco Systems, and the former CTO of Motorola, Inc, puts it best when she says meditation “is like a reboot for your brain and soul.” By taking a few minutes every morning to meditate, you put yourself in a mindful, in-the-moment state that sets you up for success in the day. If you are a religious person, starting the day with a session of prayer can also have a similar effect as meditation and is worth trying as well.
Chances are you lead a busy life. This means important tasks can easily slip through the cracks and not get done. To help prevent this from happening, list at least three of the most important things of the day you want to get done and make sure they get done during the day. Say, for example, you have important phone calls or meetings on a given day, list the meetings and set up agendas for them beforehand. When you have your day properly planned out, you increase your efficiency and reduce chances of missing daily goals or appointments.
Nothing quite prepares you for the day like listening to your favorite music early in the morning. The best thing about listening to music in the morning is that you can adjust your music for the type of day you want to have. For example, if you want an action-packed day, listening to some thumping, fast-paced music first thing in the morning can set you in the right mood for that kind of day. Similarly, if you want a laid-back day, listening to soothing, slow music can prepare you for that day. Switch things up a bit and listen to an inspirational or motivational audiobook for the perfect start to your day.
Whether it is pushups and sit ups, time on the treadmill or a jog around your neighborhood, exercising in the morning before work keeps you physically fit and gives you that boost of energy you need for a productive day. It triggers your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, which means you feel energized throughout the day and pumped to get what needs to be done DONE. Spend at least 30 minutes each morning exercising or stretching. It will make a world of difference throughout your workday.
Yup, a cold shower – not warm. The feeling of cold water running down over your body may be terrifying, but the deep breathing response to your body’s shock increases your overall oxygen intake and actually keeps you warm. Your heart rate increases and the resultant rush of blood through your entire body boosts wakefulness and can even lead to a substantial fat loss over a 1-2 week period. You will also find yourself involuntarily smiling or laughing in the shower, which is good for your overall mood throughout the day. In fact, a cold shower beats caffeine any day for waking up and alertness.
This one is a no-brainer. You need to eat a healthy breakfast that is high in fibers and nutrients as opposed to one full of refined sugar, grains, salt, and/or saturated fat if you want to have a good day. Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast gives the body the nutrients it needs to jump-start your metabolism for the day after the long six to 10 hours of sleep per night. However, avoid eating a heavy breakfast even if it is balanced and full of healthy foods. Your digestion is at its weakest in the morning and stuffing yourself can greatly tax your digestive organs, upset your stomach and set you up for a sluggish day instead of an energized, productive one.
Stand in front of the mirror and just smile at yourself for a few seconds. It doesn’t have to be a big goofy grin, just the hint of a smile – like you have some tricks up your sleeve you can’t wait to show the world – will do. Seeing a happy you reflected back in the mirror instantly lifts your self esteem. It gives you the opportunity to speak positive things for yourself and beat any negative self-talk you may have. Try it today right before you sit down to work. You will be pleasantly surprised at the positive thoughts and energy this exercise inspires and even wonder how you ever got along without it.
Image Credit: leyla swafe/flickr
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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