Mornings. For some of us, they’re the very bane of our existence. For others, they’re the sweet quiet in the midst of life’s storm. Whether you’re a grumpy night owl or a trilling early bird, here are five tips to help you make the most of your morning:
1. Start Your Morning the Weekend (and Night) Before
Mark Zuckerberg wears basically the same thing every day: a gray t-shirt. Why? Because it’s one less decision he has to make. You only have so much mental energy and time every day, which is why we’re big advocates of doing a little prep work to make your mornings simpler. Instead of choosing what clothing you’ll wear each morning, spend 15 to 20 minutes on Sunday nights picking out your outfits for the week. Instead of making your lunches right before you leave for work—when you might be pressed for time—make them the night before. The less mental energy you have to spend on menial tasks, the greater capacity you’ll have to tackle larger ones.
2. Establish a Morning Ritual
Habits are strong things—once set, they are not easily broken. If you really struggle to get out of bed in the morning, create a morning ritual. Over time the ritual will help signal to your brain that it’s really time to get up and start your day. Chug two cups of coffee in front of your window. Solve a Rubix Cube before getting out of bed. Spend 10 minutes doing yoga to get some oxygen flowing to your brain. Choose something you’ll actually look forward to doing each morning—it will make giving up your covers that much better.
3.Try Becoming a 7-to-4 Person
We have a glorious little secret (well, some of us think it’s glorious): changing your work schedule to start at 7AM may just be the best thing you can do for yourself. Why? Four simple reasons: 1) You can skip traffic both to and from work; 2) you have time to focus on big projects without the distractions of employees or team members; 3) it gives you a chance to map our your day and tackle your priorities in a more intentional way without other distractions; and 4) there is something about feeling like you’re ahead of the day that can really improve your sense of autonomy and control, even if you have a million things to do.
4. Make the Most of Your Commute
You should view your daily commute as time to invest in yourself. Instead of defaulting to checking email or listening to a talk show, use this time to develop yourself personally or professionally. Read that Blake Mycoskie book. Listen to an inspiring TEDtalk. Learn French. Catch up with your family or friends. Spend time reflecting on the big picture of your business. Your commute might turn from monotony into something you really look forward every day.
5. Create and Prioritize Your To-Do List
When you first arrive at the office, spend some time figuring out what really needs to get done for the day. You might find it easier to dig into your more creative projects or tasks that require more focus and attention in the morning, saving your administrative tasks—like email, calls and scheduling meetings—until after lunch when your energy level naturally dips. Creating a strategy can help you stay on task and help you focus on the most important things that will make your business a success.
Laura Walton is a freelance writer and contributor for StreetShares. She is passionate about all things social media and public relations as they relate to the topics of small business and veteran entrepreneurship. You can find her on Twitter at @lk_dubs.