How to make your mornings more productive

You probably heard a lot that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you probably did not hear is that your morning mood is even more important – it will define the rest of your day and the accomplishments you may achieve. It is all about your attitude.

For quite some time I was concerned with ways of improving my morning mood. I am one of the many people who physically cannot get up in the morning; the pain of leaving my warm bed to face another day, especially going to work in winter is just unbearable. So I started looking around to see what things surround me and how can I improve them to motivate myself wake up and actually face another day in a good mood and hopefully more energetic than I was before I went to sleep.

First of all, I realized that preparations for a good morning start the night before. Here are some suggestions to ensure that you actually enjoy the first waking hour:

  1. The night before:
    • I know it does not sound like rocket science but going to sleep earlier really makes a difference in the morning.
    • You can also prepare clothing you`d like to wear in the morning like a fluffy robe or warm socks
    • Writing down plans for the next day as well as capturing accomplishments of today is very important for both falling asleep faster as well as waking up with a sense of purpose. You don`t have to have motivational break-through goals for the next day, all you need is at least one even to look forward to – for example, having a lunch in a new place, going to a hairdresser after work, watching your favourite TV show or continuing reading a book that you really like. Think about what things get you excited and ensure to include them in your life.
  2. Sleeping
    • The biggest prediction of a good productive morning is a good night sleep. Many times we confuse good night sleep with the number of hours slept. What happened to me is that I would assign a number of hours for my beauty sleep, but once I am in my bed, I just can`t fall asleep. I would imagine things, think about my future meetings at work, even calculate budget for next month – everything but not falling asleep. So here are some recommendations to ensure that once you hit your bed – you actually get a decent sleep:
    • Fresh air – when we fall asleep, our body temperature drops. That`s why it is easier to fall asleep in a room that has a slightly colder temperature. Quick fix – open a window in your bedroom few hours before going to sleep or invest in humidifier to get some fresh air.
    • Comfortable bed – investing in a pillow that is right for you makes a big difference. Ideally, pillows are need to be replaced every 2 years. If you don`t want to replace your pillow, you can refresh it by beating it with a tennis racket (seriously) to get rid of dust it accumulates. I recommend doing it on a balcony so that you don`t get to breathe in this dust later. Also look at your bed critically – what works and what doesn`t? Maybe you need to move your bed to another side, or have more/less warm blanket?
    • Calming down – to fall asleep easier, you can use some calming substance (not alcohol – don’t have it 3 hours or less before going to sleep). I am talking about warm milk, camomile tea and other friendly substances. I also recommend avoid looking at the bright screen and reading books that make you feel calm (not an interesting story so that you don’t stay up till 3am trying to find out how it all turned out in the end). I am reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness at Home – very positive and calming read that makes me feel good.
  3. Waking up
    • Waking up to the sound of nature, ideally birds singing feels much better than waking up to the noise that sounds like a fire alarm. I highly recommend getting apps/clocks that allow you to play sounds of nature. I tried waking up to my favourite song and it was a perfect way to make me hate any song after day 3. So I stick with the birds.
    • There are also clocks that wake you up with a warm light that gets brighter and brighter, as you would wake up to a sunrise. Philips has a good one.
    • Surrounding yourself with things that make you smile also works. Lie on your bed and look around. What is the first thing you see when you wake up? For example, if you wake up and stare at the wall – put a pretty landscape or picture or a picture of something that makes you smile. If the first thing you see is your phone – update your phone wallpaper to something positive.
  4. Reason to get up
    • This is the immediate reward. I am talking about things like having something yummy in my fridge for breakfast, investing in a fancy coffee machine or at least having my favourite tea.
    • Secondary reward – pick a song for the week or find a new song every week and play it in the morning for a better mood. Or have your favourite TV program or website in your favourites and play it during breakfast. What many successful people do is capture their morning thoughts – something to consider.
  5. Morning motivation

So you woke up? Good job! Now, to stay awake you need a motivation – it can be something promising  – for example following exciting people on Instagram, finding a website/blog with subjects you care about or that inspire you, or a morning ritual such as playing with your cat or checking your horoscope. Find your own motivation and stick to it, and mornings will feel brighter and happier.


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