7 Morning Practices to Maximise Productivity and Win Your Day
All humans are creatures of habit finding comfort in routine and although change is important, spending time here results in improved focus, will power and drive.
Relying on routine habits as a pose to willpower offers the mind the freedom and increased energy to focus on more the pressing task of the day ahead.
Healthy morning habits can bring structure to our lives and kick-start healthy routines.
Research suggests that any habit no matter how big or small takes 40 days or so to create, however what makes that habit stick is experiencing a positive outcome.
Wake up & get up
Our bodies are biological clocks with the succession of the circadian rhythm. This cycle fluctuates over 24 hours offering us incredible benefits if used correctly.
Alignment with this rhythm through waking and get to sleep at a similar time each day will have profound effects on your overall health, productivity and wellbeing.
These benefits include:
- Better digestion
- Stronger immunity
- Improved concentration & productivity
- Emotional stability
By incorporating this method into your lifestyle and not falling into the open arms of the snooze button, you will strengthen the neural pathways that lead to building strong and health-boosting habits.
H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158 indicated in his studies that the mind is made up of 73% water which decreases significantly throughout the night.
This clearly highlights the importance of hydration first thing in the morning.
Water is an essential ingredient for life so boost these levels with a refreshing glass of H2O each morning to increase optimal functionality and productivity throughout the day.
If you’d like to take your routine one step further, I would recommend using the following:
- Himalayan Salt mixed with water & lemon juice (Sole Water)
Some prefer this warm, some over ice and some with lukewarm water. Either way, dissolve 12 or so crystals into water, simply add a segment of lemon and enjoy.
Although acidic, when metabolised, lemon aids to alkalising the body whilst the sodium replenishes lost electrolytes throughout the night, leading to a more balanced and energised morning.
Exercise your body
The British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in 2019 indicating that morning exercise not only improves attention but also drastically improves visual learning and decision making throughout the day.
Whether you run, cycle, swim or practice HIIT training in the morning it doesn’t matter, getting your heart rate up early will oxygenate your body and kick start the mind, leading to a focused and more energetic day.
I’ve found this to be a keystone habit (a habit that ties all other habits together). By exercising in the morning, I make improved health choices throughout the day. Choosing a healthy salad over a meal deal, adhering to targets I’ve set myself and practicing yoga to relax in the evening. Remember, how you do anything, is how you do everything, so embody that feeling of success and carry it with you throughout the day.
This habit is truly the holy grail of mind training and focus. Whether you practice for 5 minutes, 10 minutes or an hour, this habit WILL have a profound impact on your life.
Spend some time in the morning, pre-workout or post to simply sit and calm the mind. Whether in your bedroom, in the garden or outside on the terrace find somewhere you will not be disturbed. Sit down, cross your legs and relax into the body by closing your eyes and focusing on the breath.
Breathing deeply and consciously, focusing your attention on the air moving in and out of your lungs.
At this point if your mind starts to wonder, don’t worry, bring your attention back onto the breath and refocus.
If you’re just starting out, don’t attempt to run a marathon. Simply start with 5 minutes or perhaps 2 minutes and build the amount of time you can stay here over the coming weeks – the benefits will be profound.
This exercise isn’t to be underestimated.
- Lengthened Attention Span
- Enhanced Self-Awareness
- Reduction in Stress
- Promotes Emotional Health
- Decreased Anxiety
All this from sitting in a room quietly for 10 minutes a day you might ask? These are merely a few of the benefits meditation can offer. So yes, this practice is worth its weight in gold.
Empty your mind
Looking for clarity in the morning?
Perhaps you have worries about the week ahead or you’re concerned about how to get everything done before Christmas.
From the genius mind of Albert Einstein to the creative senses of Thomas Edison, journaling has been adopted by the most intelligent minds of our time.
This powerful habit will again, cost you a mere 10 minutes in each morning, yet will provide you with the clarity and well-needed peace of mind we all need to start our day, especially if incorporated following meditation.
Consider your journal like a silent medium, someone you can talk to about the worries you’re having without concerning yourself of judgment. Use this ‘person’ to release some of the pressure built up through worrying, to show gratitude for the things you have or to document and grow self-awareness through watching, analysing and developing your thoughts and feelings.
Refresh & stimulate
This technique has been coined ‘better than coffee’.
Now, most of you are going to say “there is absolutely no way I am doing that”.
So, before you do, please hear me out!
Taking an ice-cold shower in the morning, perhaps after your work out, or if your daring, getting straight out of bed and into freezing cold water can have the most surprising benefits.
Again, I can hear you saying… “you must be joking”
The 4 key benefits are remarkable:
- Improves Circulation
- Stimulates Weight Loss
- Helps treat depression
- Strengthens Immunity
All leading to reduced levels of stress through a process called ‘hardening’, a higher level of alertness and increased willpower.
Not bad, eh.
As a reward, save your warm shower for the evening, jump into the ice-cold water of the morning and reap the health benefits.
Machines need fuel to function and as do our bodies.
Breakfast is important, however what to eat for breakfast is a different matter.
After years of experimentation with various breakfast foods, I’ve come to understand what sustains my energy most and what takes me on a metaphorical rollercoaster ride.
Eating a high protein breakfast increases satiety and reduces hunger over the course of the day.
“Through using fMRI, we found eating a protein-rich breakfast reduced the brain signals controlling food motivation and reward-driven eating behaviour”, states a researcher from the University of Missouri.
A powerful way to curb hunger and sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
Sugar is terrible breakfast food.
Food like cereals, muffins, toast, pancakes, and waffles all contain refined carbs and are low in fibre which spikes your blood sugar levels early in the day.
This spike and elevated blood sugar levels later lead to rebound hunger causing you to eat more during the next meal, and in turn leading to weight gain.
For a balanced, light and healthy breakfast, combine both protein powder with low sugar fruits like, blackberries, strawberry and avocado in a smoothie and enjoy before you start your day.
Extra Tip – Winning
“Strive to Win in all that you do, no matter how big or small”
Simply consider everything you do, from getting up on time and making your bed each morning to journaling for 5 mins wins and you’ll set yourself up on such a positive note, you’ll continue that momentum for the day ahead.
This slight shift of mindset costs little energy and takes little time yet will again, have the most profound effects on the rest of your day.
The Bottom Line
I fully understand that this isn’t possible for all. Some have family commitments, some work, however, spending some time in the morning to invest in yourself is important. Even 30 minutes will offer great benefits.
Whatever your thing, whether its writing or meditating, exercising or simply getting up to enjoy the sounds of the birds in the morning, having a routine that sets you up for a positive and productive day is hugely beneficial.
After all, as the quote goes…
“Win the morning, win the day”
Written and edited by Sean Jamess
Creative Writer | Entrepreneur | Development Consultant
A personal development advocate pursuing his vision of inspiring the world through entrepreneurship, community based productivity and wellness.