Real talk: when people ask me if I’m a morning person, I tell the truth - yes, I am, ONLY I define mornings starting at 10am. I mean, seriously. Do I like waking up at 5:30am to work out? I do not, that’s the truth. When you're a morning person, mornings can be a breeze. But for the rest of us who eat instant oatmeal and hit the snooze button on the regular, mornings can be challenging.
Time seems to slip by so quickly, we barely have enough time to shower, get dressed and get out the door. Morning people are those smiling people you see around the office at 8AM. And in an article published by the US News, they’re also known to be happier and more productive in meetings (2014). So for us not-so-morning people, how do we create a productive morning routine to get more done?
You might wonder how these people manage working out, meditating, answering emails and eating a nutritious breakfast all before hitting the highway. I mean, let alone dress little ones in the morning? I’ve had to learn to make time for my mornings. And no, it’s not because I could have alone time, meditate, and journal. I had to learn to make time for my mornings so that I could eat breakfast, exercise, and take vitamins because my health called me to do it. Learning WHY you may need to make a change, COMMITTING to change, COMMUNICATING that need to yourself before you hit that snooze button, and finally LEANING into that change so that it lasts, has been a game-changer.
Well, we’re here to tell you that with a bit of intention and the right strategy, it’s completely possible to be productive in the morning even if you’re not a morning person.
Here are 7 ways you can skip the snooze button and take control of your morning:
Prepare for the day ahead
Preparing a to-do list the night before will not only help you remember your tasks for the next morning, but it will also get your mind in gear for productivity. Getting everything floating around in your brain written down on paper will also relax your mind and help you sleep. A checklist makes you more accountable for yourself. Plus it feels good to check off each task one by one.
Another way you can prepare for the next morning is through food prep or meal planning. If you’re into food prepping (I’m not here’s why) instead of hustling to make lunch in the morning, you can make that sandwich, hard boil those eggs, and prep fruits and veggies so all you have to do is grab and go.
Seek more sleep
If you want to wake up at 6AM, getting enough sleep is crucially important. Making sure you get enough zzz’s is a surefire way to be your best self in the A.M. How do you think morning people do it?
At first it will feel strange to go to bed earlier, but the more you do, the more you’ll wonder how you functioned with so little sleep before. If you have trouble going to sleep, there are apps out there that can help lull you into a restful slumber. Headspace is one of the top meditation apps which features 10-20 minute meditations specifically for sleep.
Exercising in the morning is a great way to wake up our brain and bring those feel good endorphins to our jobs later on. The key to exercising in the morning is to do what you can based on the other tasks on the list. If you have a particularly long email to answer, cut your exercise routine in half. Exercising obviously should be a priority, but unlike work-based morning tasks, exercising can be fit in in the afternoon, evening or even at night. Morning exercise should gently set you up for the day, so even a 15 minute yoga session is plenty to get your morning glow on.
Overnight your Breakfast
No cook meals for breakfast, guys...is life to me - because while I love to prepare leisurely brunches at home, I do NOT have the time to do that on a weekday. So, overnight oats, overnight chia pudding, overnight muesli.
What is chia pudding you may ask? It’s chia seeds left overnight in milk of your choice (almond, oat, rice) that balloon out to make a delicious, nutritious breakfast-worthy pudding. You can even add fresh fruit, dried fruit, grated carrot, nuts, sweetener, whatever!
The point of chia pudding is that you can prepare it overnight and it’s all set to go for you in the morning. The chia seeds provide bulk and a feeling of fullness similarly to oats and provide tons of fibre, omega fats and other vital nutrients.
Plan To Arrive At The (Home) Office Early
I know this sounds a little counter intuitive. How can I be productive in the morning before you need to homeschool the kids? Well, the two go hand in hand. Arriving early not only makes you feel great and less rushed, but it gives you a chance to get tasks done that you didn’t get a chance to get done at home.
Create a morning ritual
Maybe it’s watching the bird feeder for a few minutes as soon as you wake up or playing with your pet. A good idea for a morning ritual is to journal 2-3 pages upon rising. This de-clutters your focus and improves mental agility for the day.
Everybody listen up, because this is probably the most important thing you can do to jet set your morning. Out of all of the tasks you’ve set for yourself, ask yourself, which ones are most important? Keep those at the top of your list while keeping in mind that you can always finish others at the office.
Don’t stress in trying to remember a morning routine or in sticking to a schedule because let’s face it, mornings are unpredictable. The key to productive mornings is to go at your own pace and to experiment with different rituals, meals, exercise routines and methods. You’ll find what’s unique for you and it’ll become a natural flow. If you implement even 1 or 2 of these tips, you will be on your way to a brighter, more productive morning.
Ready to put what you've learned here into practice?