The older I get, the more of a morning person I become. The first hour of my day is often the best; I have quiet time to reflect, enjoy my morning cup of Joe, and prep myself mentally for the day. When I don’t have this time to myself, it makes my day feel unorganized or incomplete. Over the years, I have developed a routine of activities I like to do before I start my workday – they have helped me become energized.
Hint: it doesn’t involve checking my email!
#1. Cold Shower
Ok, so I don’t take a cold shower the entire time. But before I get out of the shower, I turn it on cold (not sub-zero) for a few seconds. This helps to wake up my body and mind. It seems a little harsh the first couple of times you do it, but make it a habit and you’ll begin to enjoy the wakeful feeling you get every morning!
#2. Five Minutes of Sunshine
If you live in Seattle or somewhere else that is frequently cloudy, the five minutes of sunshine may not apply. It definitely doesn’t apply during a Kansas winter, either. However, when you spend your entire day indoors, your mind becomes “stuffy.” I’ve found that stepping outside for five minutes, sun or no sun, for a breath of fresh air helps to get the mind flowing. Why not do this first thing in the morning, before you start your day? A little Vitamin D can go a long way to increasing your productivity and happiness.
#3. Reflection Time/Prayer
Nothing is more important than setting aside time each morning for reflection and prayer. I know many people who want to get a jump-start on their day by diving into their work or responding to emails. That may work for some time, but eventually you’ll get burnt out. Instead, start your day by emptying your mind. I enjoy reading the daily scriptures, devotionals, and reflecting on what’s important. It’s easy to get lost in the details of your job or your business, but spending a few moments each morning remembering WHY you chose the path you’re on helps to keep you focused on the right priorities.
#4. 20 Minutes of an Audiobook
For those of us that read at a pace slower than a year on Neptune (Neptune circles the sun once every 164.8 years, BTW), audiobooks are lifesavers. Whether you’d prefer to read or listen to audiobooks, I’d highly encourage you to do so for 20 minutes every morning. Here’s what will happen: your brain gathers that information, stores it, and spends the rest of the day processing it in your subconscious mind. As long as you’re feeding your mind good, useful information, it will help you develop a plan for what you want in life … without you even realizing it. If you’re looking for a good recommendation of a book to get started with, The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale is one of my favorites.
#5. Reviewing Your Schedule
The last thing I do every morning before I begin work is review my schedule. (In order to review your schedule, you have to have one first!) I would encourage you to set your daily task list the evening before. If you do have a schedule, or at least a list of things you need to get done, take a few seconds to read it through. This will wire your brain to understand what its mission is for the day. When your mind understands what you need to get done, it goes to work finding ways to get it all done. If you don’t practice this habit, your mind won’t be prepped, and you’ll be disappointed with your productivity at the end of the day.
A good morning routine is vital to preparing your body and mind. Your morning habits may not align exactly with these five suggestions, but I would advise you to develop your own system of activities. Give yourself enough time to relax and refocus before work, and you’ll be amazed at the results that come from it!