One of my goals this month was to start getting up an hour or so earlier so I could begin my day in a much more productive way. My usual routine consisted of sleeping in ’till the last possible moment, rushing to get ready, leaving the house with bushy hair and grabbing something quick to eat in the car as I drive to work, swearing and shouting at anyone who happened to slow me down – not the most stress free way to start the day. I was arriving at work flustered, rushing and feeling like I’d already wasted valuable hours of the day whilst laying in bed like a lazy bean, one eye on the snooze button.
So while my alarm has been set at a brand new time of 6.00am for the last three weeks, I wanted to share just how I’d changed my mindset and how you can too if you’re looking to have a more productive start to the day. Trust me, even if you’re not a morning person, these tips will help you make the most of the day ahead.
Prepare the Night Before
For the most productive morning, it actually all starts the night before. Begin by sorting your outfit for the next day, making sure it’s ironed, and your bag is packed – trust me, if you’re rushing on a morning, you’ll forget something, and it will be just your luck it’s something you need for that important presentation to your boss. If you take lunch to work, make sure your food is prepped and waiting in the fridge. If you leave it until the morning, you’re more likely to grab something at the shop, wasting money and wasting the food you’ve already bought.
Don’t Reach For Your Phone
Now on to the morning. You’ve slept for eight hours (which means early to bed – I now head to bed at 10.00pm and read until 10.30pm) and you wake up feeling refreshed. You could, however, very easily turn over and press snooze for the next hour. Don’t. Lift your head up off the pillow straight away and stretch. Do not reach for your phone, you hear me? Although you feel like you’re not connected to the world unless you check Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, try not to not reach for that piece of technology until at least 30 minutes after you’ve woken up. You need time for your mind and body to adjust. You also need time for your eyes to adjust because it’s not healthy for the blue light that phone screens emits to be seen in dim light. If your alarm’s on your phone then buy a clock and move your mobile into another room if you can.
I can’t lie and say I’ve done this everything morning, but at least twice a week, sometimes three times, I’ve been getting up, putting my gym kit on and going to do 40 minutes cardio. All I do (after brushing my teeth obviously) is 10 minutes cycling to get my body warmed up and then I do interval training on the cross trainer, every other minute going hell for leather, before having a minute at normal speed. This really gets my heart beating and I burn nearly 400 cals before breakfast – plus the days that I do, I feel so much better than when I don’t so it needs to happen more often. If you don’t have a gym membership the get up and go for a quick power walk, or try some yoga videos on Youtube. Just try and get your body moving for 30 minutes.
Having a productive morning is about waking yourself up mentally and being more alert, so after my work out I’ll give myself a vigorous body brush in the shower, with strokes in an anti-clockwise motion towards the heart to get the blood really pumping. I’ll also always finish my shower with a blast of cold water for a minute (even in winter which is the devil, but it makes my hair so shiny I do it regardless).
Eat a Good Breakfast
We all know that fuelling your body with the right food means you’ll have energy right through to day and can swerve those 11.00am biscuits Sandra from accounts keeps passing around. Some easy breakfast options before you start work include dippy eggs, salmon and avocado on toast or even overnight oats – which means you don’t even have to do anything apart from eat them because you’ve prepped it all the night before. If you eat protein, you’re guaranteed to feel fuller for longer, so scrap that cereal bar and have something a little bit more substantial.
By this point, I’ll have drank a hot cup of lemon water to get my digestive system working and I’m ready and out of the door. As soon as I get to work, I’ll start up my computer, and write a to-do list for the rest of the day – starting with the hardest task first. Once I get the hardest task done, I know the rest of the day will be pretty smooth sailing and I’m not procrastinating and putting it off. I’ll also check my emails and answer everything urgent.
I know this is hardly ground breaking, but I just wanted to share with you the changes I’ve made and maybe see if any of them can help you – I think the best thing I’ve done is working out first thing to get it done and dusted for the day, or leaving my phone to check until I’m out of the shower and properly awake. Give it a try yourself this week and I promise you, you’ll feel better than having that extra hour or so in bed.