How to have a productive morning


Those first few hours of the day can be make or break when it comes to managing your workload, ticking items off your To Do list and regulating stress rates. Follow these steps during sunrise for a satisfying and successful start.

The early bird
We’ve all had them - those mornings when you rise and shine before the majority of your colleagues have even started stirring under their duvets and get tonnes done. Getting up early is not just about working more, though. Having extra time to read, plan and take action without the distractions of others is great for your own productivity and self-belief for hours to come. Get tasks ticked off your list early, and you’ll be on a roll all day.

Morning mindset
Mornings are rarely the serene experience depicted in TV shows and movies. There’s not often time for pensive stares across the city skyline as the sun rises. And there are few deep and interesting conversations with partners, housemates or fellow commuters. Instead there are emails, news bulletins and a mad dash to shower, get dressed and get out the door.

This hectic start creates challenges when it comes to mentally preparing for your day. Instead of spending useful, mindful time on your own wellbeing, many of us are consumed with information that stresses rather than relaxes. Our advice? Stay positive. It’s easy for our minds to fill up with thoughts about packed calendar appointments, how we’re going to fit a gym session in as well as calls with the New York office or the state of affairs in Syria. Whatever you have on your mind, try clearing it with a run, quick yoga session, a quiet coffee and the mantra that you can and will tackle anything that comes your way today.

Break it down
Confucius supposedly said “men who move mountains start by carrying away small stones”. Translation - get started. Whatever you’ve got going on, wherever you need to be and no matter how epic the task, presentation or briefing with the boss, break down your task into manageable moments. Start your morning by thinking about one small thing that could help you progress close to your end goal, then tick it off your list.

H2O and go
One of your first tasks every morning should be to drink water in some form. The body loses moisture overnight and proper hydration is also essential for the brain to function effectively. In the first instance, water is the most effective option. By adding a squeeze of lemon juice, you’ll boost your liver function with much needed Vitamin C, which helps to cleanse your body. If you need a hot drink in the morning, a coffee or tea is perfectly acceptable. Just try and drink a glass of water to combat any dehydration caused by your caffeine fix.

Easy emails
Connection to our inboxes via our smartphones as well as an near-constant stream of messages means we’re refreshing or checking emails with an alarming regularity. And most of us are guilty of checking them late at night or the instant we wake up. But this cycle is more addictive than it is productive and won’t necessarily lead to a more productive day. Break this habit by removing your phone from your nightstand or turning your attentions to something more useful when you wake up, such as an educational podcast, nutritious breakfast or exercise.

Of course, you have to read your emails at some point and it makes sense to do this as soon as possible in case there have been any crises - or requests from the boss - overnight. In his book ‘Essentialism’, Greg McKeown advises that emails should be read and responded to at specific moments of the day, rather than every five minutes. So find the most suitable time for checking and acting upon your messages then make a point of focusing on the job at hand before moving onto the next task.

Shower, shave and moisturise
It might seem like a routine activity for any morning, but the act of showering, shaving and looking after your skin can have benefits beyond simply looking presentable. Shower water creates a white noise - perfect for clearing the mind and helping you mentally prepare for the day. In addition, shaving and moisturising ensures you leave the house feeling fresh and looking great, which works wonders for your confidence, commitment to getting the job done and success throughout the day.  

James Hood