Productivity and success go hand in hand. While most of us want the latter, it becomes apparent upon a close assessment that we’re not good at being productive. It has been said, even during times of old, that how you start your day does indeed set the ideal tone for the rest of the day.
That is why we’re here to help. Everyone from all walks of life, whether a farmer, an entrepreneur running a web design company or an employee at a startup; it helps to know that knowing how to be productive is not beyond reach.
Below are seven productive routines before 7 am that you can cultivate.
And to avoid getting overwhelmed and increase uptake, we suggest that you take on each point below individually. You should move on to the next once you’re satisfied that the precious is effortless and part of your morning routine.
That ensures that, in a few months, you’re able to do everything on this morning routine list. Remember to be gracious to yourself; it takes a considerable time to form a new habit, factoring in the days you fall off the bandwagon.
Whatever your story, you too can become productive throughout the day by implementing these 7 routines to do before 7 am. Start and keep at it; once you and those around you notice the difference even in one of the seven habits, you’ll be more motivated to continue.
1. Hydrate immediately you wake up
One thing most successful people can attest to is the goodness of hydrating first thing in the morning. When they say “water is life” they are not kidding.
Drinking a glass of water in the morning, whether flavored with actual fruits or not, jumpstarts your body that was otherwise sleep and repairing itself.
Drinking water first thing upon waking up also boosts your metabolism, and every cell in your body comes alive.
The way around this is keeping a glass of water by your bedside to ensure that you drink it in the morning. It works as a reminder.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can add lemons or other citrus fruits that provide Vitamin C and act as antioxidants. You should purpose to do this before you start any routine mentioned below do to before 7 am.
Remembering to put a glass or bottle of water by your nightstand is the easiest way to adopt this habit. You’ll feel the difference even on the first day; you won’t feel as tired or sluggish when continuing with your productive morning routine
2. Getting the blood flowing
Despite there being a national acknowledgment of the role that exercise play in our daily lives, lack of motivation continue to persist.
Exercise is linked to a spike in productivity and mental health, and therefore, no amount of motivational quotes will get you moving if your body is not at its optimum.
No one wakes up excited about exercising, at least not initially. Between the snooze alarm and looking for the willpower to leave the cozy duvet, it becomes evident that relying on your mood to find the motivation to exercise is not practical.
Therefore, starting and sticking to a routine requires instilling in your mind that you want to be continually productive.
The exercise here doesn’t entirely mean hitting the gym or jogging. It can take varied forms, as long as it gets your muscles and joint going.
Yoga or dancing to your morning playlist are ways to get the mind going and stimulate your brain. Research shows apart from getting a positive outlook to life, getting your body moving means that you’ll have more energy throughout the day.
These two components are necessary if you’re going to getting things done during the day without a cloud hanging over your head. It, therefore, makes you better placed to keep up with work demands.
Another reason you should add getting your body moving to your morning routine is that it makes it easier to say no.
Let’s look at a scenario: when is it harder to say no to a chocolate fudge cake with a big scoop of flavored ice cream; when you’re a good day or when in a bad mood? Some studies show that working out increases your self-control levels, making it easier to assess what’s necessary and what isn’t.
3. Have a spiritual practice
Connecting with your mind, spirit, and soul is another habit that productive and successful persons undertake. It takes various forms.
It includes reading holy texts, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, and even journaling. Whatever you’re preferred practice, taking time to connect with the inner you before beginning your day gives you clarity to navigate the otherwise stressful and distraction-filled world.
If you typically wake up anxious about the day ahead, then a few minutes of tuning into your thoughts and emotions is what you need.
Reading, even inspirational content shifts your mind from pessimism to renewed hope that you can tackle the day. In the same way, with journaling and meditation, you’re able to complete unfinished thoughts, make connections and note the areas that need improving.
The awareness that there is a better alternative to getting things done heightens your productivity.
Without a spiritual practice that caters to our inner life, we collect a lot of garbage throughout the day what we end up harboring for years.
It is what we end up making the same choices we do despite having the awareness that they are not suitable for us.
If you’ve been unproductive and you feel that you have too much on your mind, a spiritual practice helps you get your thoughts in order and prioritize what’s important to focus on.
Anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes is sufficient in recalibrating your mind for the day. Make the practice unique to you if you want it to stick.
Not everyone can sit in silence, cross-legged on a cushion for an extended period. Instead, enjoying a cup of coffee and letting your mind focus on the day ahead and possible what threw off in the previous is enough. Be true to yourself.
4. Set goals: Keep it short
If you’re perpetually not able to check every item on your to-do list, then it’s an indication that you’re doing something wrong. The apparent fact is that you’re either over ambitious, willpower wears off as the day progresses or you’re allowing distractions.
Therefore, the first step to setting your daily goals is being honest about what tasks make up most of your day.
Once you’ve established the areas you’re leaking energy and time, you can come up with mechanisms to ensure they don’t happen.
If you notice people like stopping by your desk for small talk, be kind and firm in letting them know you’ll catch up with them during your break. If email notifications distract you, then set designated times to do deep work and when to undertake other necessary tasks.
Your goals should focus on what’s most important on any given day. Anything else you end up checking off after completing said tasks will be a bonus, something that boosts your confidence in the ability to get things done.
The goals you set should also be measurable; how long did you spend intensely focused and how much work (pages, strategies, projects) did you get done? Be detailed when listing your goals.
Some things need doing despite they not being specifically what your job description stipulates.
Therefore, tailor your schedule to clear all stats that take less than 10 minutes to complete to pave the way for intense focus.
That way, when you get to the office, you’re calm and clear about how your day should run its course.
5. Have a healthy breakfast
The song persists: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Upon waking up, your body needs nutrients to get it started for the day. Data shows those having breakfast tend to be less likely to experience obesity and have controlled sugar levels.
It is therefore not just having a meal that matters; having their right kind of meal ignites your productivity.
Avoid taking large quantities of sugar. What inevitably happens is that, by midmorning, the sugar rush will decline, leading to a crush and drastically decreased energy levels.
Guess what you’ll end up reaching for when that happens. Yes. More sugar and that lead to not just obesity, but low-level energy throughout the day.
What you should aim to do instead is to have a high protein breakfast as they release energy at a sustained rate. That allows you to get through to lunch, or even your midmorning snack, without needing to take unhealthy foods.
As you go through the day, your body will thank you. You’ll be alert, and your mind will function at optimum.
6. Disconnect from technology and connect with loved ones
Successful people do have that one thing in common; they dedicate time to the people they love.
A way to look at it is this way; if the family is the most important thing to you, what are you doing to show it? Sharing an early breakfast or exercising together with a spouse or kids keeps you motivated.
They give you purpose that you channel into everything you do, making you productive.
However, if you wake up and the first thing you do is check your phone or news, then you’re beginning your day on a different frequency.
It is now widely accepted that social media and the news cause an increase in blood pressure and depression once you come away from them.
That doesn’t sound like a productive way to start your day, does it? Unless your line of work dictates it, don’t check notifications.
Having breakfast with the family is a better way to spend the time. With differing work schedules, it’s not always easy to get everyone at the table for dinner.
Families typically wake up at the same time, making breakfast the ideal time to connect with them.
Pro tip: first thing in the morning is not the ideal time to bring up issues. Use this time instead to build each other, acting as a cheerleader to motivate the other to conquer the day. Some problems can wait for the weekend or later on in the day.
If you live alone, contact a family member, your partner or even pet your dog. You can also thank someone who did something kind to you the precious day via email or text.
The purpose is to start someone else’s day on a positive note. Not only will it uplift your spirits, but you’ll also pull them up with you as well.
7. Eat a frog or several
Mark Twain introduced the idea of eating a frog. What it entails is going the thing you dislike the most first, and go throughout the day knowing the worse is out of the way.
Frogs take different forms for everyone. However, the basic advice is that this should be the first task you undertake, even before checking your email.
If your frog is exercise, once the alarm goes off, don’t think about it. Just get to it. It’s like jumping into a pool or eating something new that we consider gross. If you think about it beyond the fact that you need to undertake a task, then you risk putting it off.
It is in this way procrastination takes place. It requires taking immediate action before you give your mind the change to think of all the reasons why it shouldn’t do something.
Once you get to do this a couple of times and experience the payoff, continuing the habit will be effortless.
The concept of getting the worst thing out of the way makes everything that comes your way much better.
If you’re fearful about a project, make that the first thing you tackle. Once you’re done, the relief will make everything else look like child’s play.