You may not realize it, but the early morning hours determine the outcome of your day. Don’t believe it? Ask successful people to describe their morning routines. Their responses will start to sound awfully similar. They’ll mention habits like these:
They get up early. Successful people don’t hit the snooze button, and neither should you. In fact, they accomplish more before breakfast than many of us do all day long. So try joining them. Set your alarm for an hour earlier than usual. The morning hours are likely to be the only time of day when nobody needs you for anything. You’ll feel accomplished and energized by what you can achieve in the early morning, free from distractions. If you’re not a morning person, move your alarm clock to the other side of the room. Once your feet hit the floor, it might be a little easier to stay up.
They exercise. Once the day is in full swing, it’s hard to find time for a workout. If you include Le-Vel Thrive as part of your daily routine, you can get the nutrition your body needs to fuel those early morning workouts. If you can, break a sweat before the sun rises. You’ll boost your energy as well as your metabolism before you’ve even begun your workday.
They eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast is never a good idea. You’ve got to fuel your body and your brain for the day. All you need is something nutritious – a smoothie, peanut butter on toast, oatmeal, a hard-boiled egg — that will stick with you for at least a few hours, or until you can grab a healthy mid-morning snack.
They review their to-do lists. Don’t leave your day to chance. Write out your priorities. Identify the biggest item on your list, and “eat that frog,” to borrow an expression coined by best-selling author Brian Tracy. Tackle that item first, take immediate action, and get it behind you as quickly as possible.
They scan their email. Quickly review your email early in the morning, so you avoid any surprises when your workday begins.
They listen to or read motivational passages. Each day holds new promise. Begin your mornings on a positive note, and set your intentions for the day. Remind yourself of those intentions periodically.
They take time for gratitude. Reflecting on the blessings in your life has been shown to reduce heart rate, lower stress and increase happiness. Gratitude also reminds you of your “why,” which for many of us involves family, friends, and/or a personal mission.
They meditate. Meditation requires that you unplug, if only for a moment. When our brains are cluttered, it’s much more difficult to think clearly and creatively. Many successful leaders swear by meditation, saying it makes them more productive and reconnects them to the joy in their lives.
They leave a few minutes early. When you start your day late, you’ve already stacked the deck against yourself. So avoid racing against the clock. Build in extra time so you’re relaxed when you arrive at your destination.
You may notice that successful people are regimented. Why? Success requires organization and planning. It also requires self-care, which in our busy lives needs to be scheduled, and that’s OK. We have to be protective over our time and how we use it. So get a good night’s sleep, become an early bird, and watch what happens to your productivity.