What we do in the morning will set us up for a great day, or a shitty one. How focused and productive we are in the remainder of the day is directly linked to how we start our day.
For the most part we all have a morning routine, but few of us do by design. In this article we’re going to go over a few of the strategies I use to set myself up for a great day. Instead of taking a while to get the ball rolling, these strategies will help you get and stay focused from the get go on the big things that will lead to your success in fitness, health, life and work.
1. Start your morning the night before.
Figure out your main focuses and goals for the next day the night before when you’re thinking clearly and you just finished a day of work. You’re going to have a better understanding of what your focuses should be than you will in the morning when you’re groggy and not thinking clearly.
Keep your focuses limited to a maximum of 3 projects. I like to have 1 main focus, then a back-up. Leave the small tasks that require little brain power and creativity to later on in the day when you’re lacking energy and focus. And write them on a big white board (tip #3).
2. Wake up at the same time everyday.
I used to wake up and go to bed at the same time 5 days a week. Then, come the weekend I’d go to bed much later and wake up much later the next day.
Since I have changed to the same sleep schedule for every day of the week, I’ve noticed much better sleeps, more energy during the day, and a greater capacity to focus on what’s most important.
I don’t like a schedule that’s completely rigid, as spontaneity is what experiencing life is all about, so I definitely slip up from time to time, but not on both sides. If I stay out late one night, I still wake up at the same time the next morning and will have a nap the next day to account for the lack of sleep.
Don’t let the weekend get in the way of your progress. Along with staying physically fit, I’ve found that a consistent sleep schedule really helps me get the energy I need to live life to it’s fullest.
3. The big white board.
Write your big ideas and your most important areas of focus on a big white board. I bought mine for $14 at Costco. It sits next to my desk and anytime I need to re-jog my memory as to what I should be working on if my mind wanders – as it tends to do – I can look over at what’s written in big letters on the board.
Big ideas require big writing. Make sure you write your big ideas on a big white board. This is a great place for brainstorming and creative thinking. A pen and paper is too small and too detailed to account for the ‘out of the box’ thinking that we sometimes need.
Resource: ReWork – great book with lot’s of productivity and working strategies.
4. Water upon rising.
Before you do anything have a couple cold glasses of water.
Throughout the night our bodies are working, using H2O – our brains included. As a result we wake up very dehydrated. Do your brain and your muscles a favour and have a couple glasses of water right when you wake up.
5. Boost your manhood.
Want to naturally boost your testosterone levels and not get sick over the winter?
Here’s what I take every morning with my first two glasses of water:
2 caps of cod liver oil
3,000-5,000 IU vitamin D3
3 Brazil nuts – or a handful or walnuts
Consuming saturated and monounsaturated fats upon rising and before bed helps us boost our testosterone. We also need much more vitamin D than many of us realize. For those of us that don’t live in sunny climates we should get it through supplements, as our diets usually don’t provide us with the necessary daily amounts.
6. Push ups for the brain.
To feel fully awake and focused I find it very beneficial to start my day with some push-ups and single-leg squats. I just do 20 finger or knuckle push-ups and 20 single leg squats. It’s nothing big but it gets the blood flowing, wakes me up and helps me focus in the wee hours when I would normally have trouble doing so.
I’d definitely add this to your routine first thing in the morning as a way to get your body burning calories before you begin to take them in.
7. Get the ball rolling.
Do something productive right away. Don’t spend the first hour of your day being useless, it’s a great way to spend the rest of the day being useless.
I alternate between working right away, and starting my day with an hour of silence. In this hour of silence I’ll look over goals, my journal, and read. I find the days that I start off in silence usually result in a much more productive and focused days. It’s a great way to start the day off with a clear and focused mind. If it means waking up an hour early, I’d say do it for sure.
8. Classical music.
I like having music playing while I work, sometimes the silence of a home office can be deafening. The problem with music containing words is that it’s distracting when writing. One word can spark a thought that will lead to a search on Google, that will lead to a search on Youtube, which will then lead to an hour spent watching dog’s sing or babies laugh hysterically.
Study after study has shown that classical music enhances our focus and creativity. There are also no words so we’re less likely to have our A.D.H.D. kick in. It’s a recent development for me but it’s resulted in much higher quality of work. Give it a shot.
Coffee or tea, take your pick. I’ll have water, get some reading, writing, or reviewing done, then I’ll grab some coffee or tea. There’s nothing like the taste and the nice little boost in focus and alertness that accompanies our first cup of coffee.
10. Low carb breakfast.
The days of big breakfasts are behind us. Studies are showing that our fat cells are more receptive to spikes in insulin during the morning hours. This means that things like dairy and carbs actually feed our fat cells.
Eat something that is low in carbs and high in nutrients to start your day. Accompany it with a cup of coffee and your energy levels should be fine. I like a 4-egg omelette that is packed full of veggies.
I thought this would result in a diminished ability to focus and a lack of energy, and although it took some getting used to it’s now a part of my morning routine. I also work for a couple hours before I eat breakfast, this let’s me hit the ground running. I’ll stop for breakfast after I’ve at least completed one task.
What’s in your morning routine that helps you focus and increases your productivity, and makes you a healthier person?
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