How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you want to be productive, feel fulfilled and accomplished without sacrificing your health (e.g. drinking five cups of coffee and skipping lunch to finish your project), you should include these six rituals into your morning routine.
1. Unplug your devices
So many people sleep with their mobile phone next to their bed, and then the first thing they do when they wake up is grab their phone and check their email, Facebook and other social media apps.
We’re so addicted to our mobile devices that, according to the Pew Research Center, 67% of cellphone owners check their phones, even when it isn’t buzzing. This might get you on the train of FOMO (aka “fear of missing out”) and promote anxiety and stress, according to this study by British researchers.
Not the best way to start your day indeed.
What you need to do instead is unplug your devices and connect with your loved ones face-to-face first thing in the morning. This means no mobile phones, iPads, computers or TV.
Make it a special time of the day to connect, even if for 10 to 15 minutes. It will help deepen your relationships.
If you live alone, then use this time to connect with yourself by meditating, reading a good book or just enjoy a longer shower in the morning. We often forget to check in with ourselves and go on this never-stopping autopilot.
So really, staying away from the gadgets will help you get more in tune with yourself.
2. Get your greens on
Green leafy vegetables are excellent for your health. They provide your body with much needed vitamins, alkaline minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, chlorophyll and other compounds that are essential for good health.
Chlorophyll found in green vegetables helps regenerate the blood and has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.
These amazing health benefits of chlorophyll are of the main reasons why leafy greens are so good for our health. So we need to find ways to incorporate more of them in our diets.
You may not want to eat salad for all your meals, especially if time is of concern, for example, in the morning. So having a green smoothie or a green juice for breakfast is a great way to start your day.
Try making a simple smoothie by blending ripe bananas, frozen or fresh berries, spinach and water or almond milk. It takes only a few minutes but will keep you energized and will provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
3. Move your body
There’s no doubt that exercise is beneficial for your physical and mental health, mood, productivity and longevity. If you don’t exercise on a regular basis because you dread exercise, then it’s important to find some activity that you really enjoy.
Do you love yoga, dancing, hiking, tennis, swimming, spin classes, Pilates, cycling or lifting weights? When you find something physical that you enjoy, you’re having fun, and it doesn’t feel like work.
Exercising also improves your cognitive function which is vital for being successful and making good decisions. On top of that, it positively affects blood sugar regulation, which makes you more energized and, in turn, more productive.
Numerous studies have shown that meditation helps relieve stress and helps you to be mindful about how you spend your time. On top of that, it has a lot of health benefits. It increases immune function and decreases pain and inflammation at the cellular level.
It also boosts your happiness and self-control.
Spare at least five to 10 minutes a day to sit in stillness and peace. This will make you feel more grounded, in tune with yourself and feel more mindful throughout the day, which leads to better decision making, more productivity and happiness.
5. Plan your day before starting work or running errands
If you’re just reacting to what the life (or your inbox) brings at you, then you’re not a master of your time and life. Be proactive rather than reactive and plan your day ahead.
There are plenty of time management tools out there, so pick the one that works for you. Just make sure that you know exactly what goals you’re trying to achieve today and don’t let other people get you off track.
One important tip is to turn off your email program during the day (unless, of course, you work in customer service and that’s the main task of your job) and spend as little time on email as possible.
Check it, respond to anything that’s urgent, delete what’s irrelevant and move emails you need to deal with later to a different folder. It is important to keep your inbox empty, which is called practicing “Inbox zero”.
This will help you avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand.
6. Come to work one hour earlier
Get to the office before everyone else and do most of your important tasks first. This way you’ll get more done and will be less stressed throughout the day. Plus, it might impress your boss, as researchers suggest.
One hour of work, without distractions, will be equivalent to several hours of regular work in a noisy environment, especially when the phone starts ringing, emails keep flooding your inbox and colleagues or your boss keeps asking questions and favors.
You can even ask your manager to leave work one hour earlier. Imagine, if you could come home one hour earlier. What would you do with that time?