“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin, famously
“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” – Glen Cook
Wether you are a morning person or not, small adjustments in your morning routine can lead to big changes in your life. Because if we start out our day well, we increase our chances of living out the rest of the day well too.
Hear are a few things I have learnt about morning routines:
1. You need a morning ritual.
If you investigate the daily routines of famous and successful people, you will discover they all have a predictable morning ritual that they repeat 5-6 times per week.
A ritual is a “series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone”.
So figure out yours. Example: Get up, drink a glass of water, take a walk, make a coffee, then get to work. Repeat.
2. Do your most important work first.
In their book Willpower, Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney make a compelling argument that the brain works like a muscle, meaning it gets fatigued as the day goes on. For this reason, a productive person will tackle their most important project first. In fact, if it’s possible to get an hour or two’s worth of work done before any significant conversations, answering email and, for some, even breakfast, you’ll find your productivity will dramatically increase.
I always try to turn off my phone and email until after my first work session is complete. Some studies claim that people get more done during their first two hours than they will over the next twelve!
After a good night’s sleep, the brain is sharp, fresh and ready to work in the morning. So don’t let that time go to returning emails and helping other people get their work done. Or worse, don’t let it go to reading dumb internet sites. You can do that later. The idea is to get into the chair and start working as fast as possible before anything can interrupt you. If you have to take the kids to school, tackle that important project immediately when you get to the office.
3. Eat a good breakfast.
We’ve all heard it said that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the better. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later.
So rise a little earlier and give yourself time for a decent breakfast. Healthy and wholesome can still be quick and easy, especially when it comes to breakfast. Plus, eating breakfast while reading your book and drinking your coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.
I’ve always loved exercising first thing in the morning. It gets my blood pumping and makes me feel ready for the day ahead. Of course, there are other times to exercise besides the early morning, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be canceled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never canceled.
5. Reflect & Plan
Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them than first thing in the morning. I have found spending just ten minutes reflecting on scripture, and planning the day ahead makes all the difference once the day actually gets rolling. It gives you confidence and clarity on what is important and also the courage to say no to that which isn’t.
So commit to making some adjustments to your morning routine. Because small choices in the morning can lead to big changes in your day. If a writer, for instance, writes 1,000 words each day before 9am, they will complete more than 6 full-length books each year! You do the math.