It goes without saying that your morning routine has a big say in how the rest of your day unfolds. And there are simple tweaks we can make to our morning routines that can support improved productivity, resilience and creativity throughout the day. So here are five easy ways to keep your mornings in check...
Catching up on notifications and emails as soon as you wake up may seem like a smart way to get on top of your day, but this can actually hijack your morning routine, says Tristan Harris, a former Product Philosopher at Google. Harris explains: When we wake up in the morning and turn our phone over to see a list of notifications, we frame the experience of waking up around “all the things I’ve missed since yesterday” . This programs us to live in fear of missing out and can in turn heighten stress levels and distract us from making the most of the morning.
A study of nearly 2,000 workers in the UK found that email notifications are linked to feelings of anxiety and checking emails earlier in the morning is associated with higher levels of stress . If you’re guilty as charged, consider if those emails you’re checking first thing in the morning could wait 60 minutes to be responded to. Try disabling notifications from your phone and dedicating a scheduled portion of your day to checking and responding to emails. This will enable you to regain control of your productivity, as you won’t be vulnerable to interruptions from notifications which could mess with your work flow. To fight the temptation, don’t sleep with your phone by your bed. And yes - this may require investing in an old school alarm clock. Try to choose an alarm sound that’s calm and soothing, so you’re not starting the day with an alarm that makes you feel tense and startled.
More and more athletes, top executives and entrepreneurs are swearing by the benefits of practising mindfulness. A mindful exercise brings you to the present, clears your head and connects you with where you are and what you’re doing. This could be anything from a guided meditation to a yoga sequence, drinking a cup of tea, or even just being in nature. Scientists at the University of Washington found that meditation helps people keep on task for longer with fewer distractions, improves memory, and reduces stress levels . Dedicating as little as 10 minutes to a morning meditation can go a long way in managing stress levels and supporting mental health, which is particularly important for many of us in the current climate. The Headspace app is an awesome tool to ease you into a meditation routine - it’s free to download and guides you through 10 minutes of simple meditations that are geared towards busy people.
Motivation is at its peak in the morning so if you struggle to maintain a consistent exercise regime, try slipping in some light exercise before breakfast (before your body wakes up and realises what’s up!) According to Russell Pate, Professor of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina, the benefits of physical activity are linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis, so the best time of day to exercise is when you will do it most consistently . Consistency can come easier if you’re exercising in the morning, as willpower and responsibilities can cause conflict with the intention to exercise as the day progresses. Exercising in the morning help you to wake up, to focus your mind, and to start the day with a sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t need to be a high intensity work-out or a 20km run, it can be as simple as a 10 minute brisk walk, a gentle yoga sequence, or a short fitness routine from YouTube or free fitness apps like The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout or Nike Training Club. Whatever works for you and your morning routine.
If you don’t give your body the fuel it needs in the morning, not only will your energy and hunger levels be unimpressed, your productivity and positivity will ultimately take a hit as the day progresses. The impact on long-term health also can't be ignored. A recent statement from the American Heart Association lays out that skipping breakfast has been linked to obesity, poorer nutrition and even diabetes. On the other hand, those who eat breakfast tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels . Ensuring you start your day with a nutritious breakfast is a no brainer, so make sure you have the ingredients available to you at home so you have no excuse to skip it. Check out how Craft Smoothie helps busy people to live more productive and positive lives by delivering everything you need to craft superfood smoothies at home. Or try out the new range of Instant Superfood Breakfast Pouches by Craft Breakfast. These convenient single-serve pouches can be enjoyed as a superfood porridge or easy bircher muesli - just add your favourite milk!
It’s important to have a morning routine that sets you up for success - no matter what success looks like for you. Whether you’re racing around after the kids, working from home or planning your next career move, priority-setting is key. A few hours after waking is the best time to identify your priorities for the day, so you’ll be less susceptible to interruptions and failing to achieve what you set out to do. If unexpected to-dos creep up that need to take priority, do them first and then return to your original priorities ASAP - they were prioritised for a reason.
Starting your day right is vital and has positive flow-on effects for the rest of your day. And whatever you have infant of you, don’t forget to nourish your body and mind with a whole food breakfast to kickstart your morning routine and set you up for success.
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