Ah, mornings. A good morning routine can seem like it will really set the productivity tone for the rest of the day. Some days you’re dialed into every detail: cooking a big breakfast, experimenting with new hairstyles. Other days… well, you’re slipping into the office through the backdoor with yesterday’s shirt on. It happens.
While a great morning moment can feel pretty magical, there’s more to the perfectly productive day than mystical forces at work. A morning routine that leads to productivity is in fact a science that you can implement in your own life.
1. Stay Unplugged from Tech
If the first thing you do when you wake up is check your smartphone for messages or work email, you are doing yourself a disservice. You are immediately cultivating a reactive mindset, instead of a proactive one, which will cause you to start your day in a defensive state, rather than a place of inner peace and control.
Instead, try remaining detached from technology for the first hour of your day so you can begin your day with present-moment awareness and a positive focus.
Drinking a glass of water in the morning after going hours without a sip is a good way to hydrate your body. The Ayurvedic technique of adding lemon to a warm glass of water helps remove toxins from your digestive tract that may have built up overnight, provides a good source of vitamin C, freshens your breath, supports weight loss, and stimulates metabolism and digestion. Bottoms up first thing in the a.m. for a healthy—and refreshing—start to your day.
3. Practice Optimism and Gratitude
Before you even get out of bed, give yourself a few minutes to smile and practice gratitude. When you smile, it signals your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin), which lift your mood, relax your body, and lower your heart rate. Who wouldn’t want to start their day on this positive note?
As you smile, start to reflect upon what you’re grateful for. Studies have shown practicing gratitude reduces stress hormones and improves mood, among other benefits. So, adding a simple daily gratitude practice is a great way to kick-start your morning.
Begin by taking one minute in bed before you rise to reflect on one person and one opportunity you are grateful for in your life.
4. Make Your Bed
Tim Ferriss, author and podcast host (The Tim Ferriss Show) has interviewed more than a hundred highly successful people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets, and in a variety of industries. He always asks, “What’s your morning routine?” Along the way, he has collected five habits that he has incorporated into his morning routine, and one of them is making his bed.
It may seem like a waste of time, unimportant, or unnecessary (you’re just going to use it again at night), but making your bed is a simple action you can take in the morning that makes you start your day feeling accomplished—and what better tone to set than a sense of pride and accomplishment? Taking charge and completing simple tasks will give you the foundation to take on more and more throughout the day.
Incorporating some type of mindfulness practice like meditation into your daily morning routine can help ground you and train your mind and emotions, which then influences how you react to challenges throughout your day.
During your meditation is also a great time to set your intention for the day. When you get clear on how you want your day to go or what you want to feel or accomplish, you can make clear decisions that create the life you truly want to live.
Note sure where to get started? Here is a simple meditation you can do in the morning:
- Get into a comfortable seated position and set a timer for five minutes.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Inhale through your nose for four counts, retain for four counts, and exhale through your nose for eight counts.
- Every time you notice your mind wandering, gently guide it back to focus on your breath.
- When the timer goes off, release your counting, but stay seated with your eyes closed for a moment.
- Set an intention for your day and visualize yourself meeting this intention.
- Open your eyes, draw your arms up to the sky for a stretch, and then move on with your day, carrying the calm energy and intention with you.
If you want to learn more about meditation, consider signing up for our self-paced, online course, Primordial Sound Meditation.