By Choncé Maddox
How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Have you ever wondered how successful people start their day? Sure, having a morning routine or a morning ritual lined up along with an organized plan for the days is great.
As an entrepreneur, I realize now more than ever that every minute of my day counts for something. I want to focus and engage meaningful work is in front of me, meet deadlines, take care of all my errands, and be able to relax and socialize when it’s time to simply live life.
Using the first hour of your day wisely can set you up for a very productive and intentional day and even week.
Start With Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness is an effective solution to go from a good or an average day to a great day. Instead of waking up and thinking about what hurts, what you have to do, or what you didn’t do yesterday, begin your day with an attitude of gratitude.
Think about all the things you’re grateful for and once you’re fully awake. Sit quietly engaging your attention on your thoughts, feelings, senses and the surrounding environment. Next, visualize everything you want in your life as if you had it today.
Refreshing these thoughts and feelings each morning will allow you to make better and well thought-out decisions since you’ll realize what you’re working for and why you’re doing it.
Stretch or Do a Light Workout
Loosen up your muscles and any tenseness by doing some stretching first thing in the morning. Stretch independently or get guidance from a 5-minute yoga video routine. YouTube has plenty of these.
You also might want to consider a light workout to get your blood pumping in the morning and release endorphins. Exercise sharpens focus and helps you make better decisions according to research. No intense training required. Just take a walk or jog around the block or lift some weights at home.
Delay Checking Email
One of the worst habits people have is checking their phone or email when they first wake up. Once you start looking at your phone or computer and checking messages, the downward spiral begins. You either get stressed out or overwhelmed thinking about all you have to do but can’t do from your bed.
Or, you go down a social media rabbit hole and waste precious time browsing aimlessly on Facebook. Both are a major waste of time and against everything successful people say they do during the first hour of waking up.
David Karp, founder of Tumblr explained in his Inc. profile that checking emails at home in the morning is something he avoids. “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive. If something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me.”
As an entrepreneur, I take pride in being able to work in my pajamas and or wear yoga pants 7 days a week. Unfortunately, when I don’t get up and get dressed, it communicates to my body that it’s okay to stay in that same lazy and unproductive state.
This is why dressing for success is so important. If you’re going to go out and crush it the entire day, why would you want to look like you’re about to binge watch chick flicks on Netflix after a breakup?
Make your bed, tidy up, and freshen up for the day by putting on a presentable outfit. This task may seem small and insignificant, but it can help give you a major confidence and energy boost.
Try to make it a habit to get up and get dressed each day no matter what your game plan is. You don’t want to wear anything super fancy and can just keep it simple and uniform. According to Inc., wearing similar clothes each day is just one way to increase productivity by Simplifying your decision-making processes.
I’ve never had a problem with eating breakfast because I always feel funny if I skip it. On the other hand, if you’ve always been one to bypass a healthy morning meal, you probably know that you often pay for it later in the day.
While skipping breakfast might allow you to start knocking out tasks on your to-do list earlier, you’ll probably get super hangry around lunch time and end up overeating. This leads to that infamous food coma and sluggish feeling you get that prevents you from wanting to do anything else but nap for the rest of the afternoon.
This is why trying to cut corners by skipping breakfast is never a good idea. Get into the habit of eating something within the first hour of waking up even if it’s just a protein bar and a banana.
Tackle Your One Big Thing
We all have one big thing on our schedule to take care of each day. Some of us have at least 5 or more. If you still have time left in your first hour of waking up after doing everything mentioned above, in see no problem in jumping in and tackling your big thing for the day.
Doing everything mentioned above will leave you feeling refreshed and energized which is the best situation to have when it comes to tackling your most challenging task of the day.
Be sure to carefully plan out each day and update your calendar so you know what your most important tasks will be. Then, prioritize them.
Even if you have a busy schedule, taking care of those core priorities early in the day will help eliminate stress and anxiety. You may even find that your big task was less complex and worrisome than you thought.
Sometimes, I like to start my day early and that’s because I love the feeling that comes with knowing that I have the rest of the day to enjoy or plan as I please without having those heavy tasks and responsibilities weighing me down.
At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do in an hour or a given work day for that matter. Starting your day off on the right foot and using your time intentionally matters.
After all, it’s what the successful people do!
This article originally appeared in Calendar.