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Why People With Morning Routines Are More Productive (and How You Can Start Yours)

Why People With Morning Routines Are More Productive (and How You Can Start Yours)

In the middle of a dream you are having, you become faintly aware of a song playing in the background. The sound is familiar; you know it. It seems to go on forever, and what started as background noise is now fully in the forefront and very, very annoying. With sleepy eyes, you awake to realize the sound is your alarm, and it’s been going off for thirty minutes. Once again, you have slept through your alarm(s) and will undoubtedly be late for work with little, if any, time to make coffee and eat breakfast.

Chances are, any time this has happened to you, you drive to work promising yourself that tomorrow will be different. You’ll get up as soon as your alarm goes off and even get to work thirty minutes earlier than usual. But the next morning comes and goes, and you find yourself over-sleeping cocooned in your warm comforter. But not having a morning ritual does more than start your day in a frenzy – it impacts how successfully you approach everything in your life.

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Stick to Your Morning Routine Can Make You Happier and Healthier

We’ve all heard the cliche expression, “the early bird gets the worm,” but we aren’t birds and we don’t want worms, so why rush around in the morning when we could be sleeping?

An interesting study showed that night owls are more prone to moodiness and addictive habits,[1] while those who rise with the sun are more alert and higher-functioning. This ultimately results in a healthier immune system and a generally positive outlook on life.

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Getting Up Early Can Reduce Your Stress Level

I don’t know about you, but if I can take any kind of steps to decrease my stress levels, sign me up! A University of London study showed that individuals who are up by 7 at the latest were not only at a lower risk of weight problems, but they were less stressed and depressed. In fact many of the individuals showed signs of easier weight loss.

I know sometimes I can wake up really grouchy, but if ultimately it means I could wake up smiling then I’m sure I can grin and bear it!

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When You Aren’t Distracted by Stress, Negative Emotions and Poor Health, You Are More Productive.

It’s pretty simple: when all you have to do is wake up earlier to lose weight, stress less, and feel generally better about your entire life, you have so much less to worry about when it comes to meeting those deadlines at work and staying on top of your social life. You may suddenly find yourself making plans for coffee with friends rather than a late night cocktail. You could even become a morning jogger, freeing up those evenings you usually spend at the gym.

Starting Your Morning Routine Can Be Hard at First

  • You might be a little grouchy at first. If you live alone, this may not be such a problem, but if you live with your spouse or a roommate, you may want to give them a heads up that you could wake up on the wrong side of the bed for a while.
  • You may not feel like you’re being productive at first. When you start getting up earlier, you may be dragging a bit. Though it may feel like you’re a zombie while brushing your teeth or feeding your pets, it will get better. You just have to keep it up!

How to Get Up Early and Become a Productive Person

Now that you know you want to become an early riser and see your life change for the better, you have to figure out how you want to do that. The following scenarios are ideas to help you kickstart a new routine while you find what works best for you. While it would be great to wake up early tomorrow and drive to the gym, let’s take some baby steps. First we need to get out of bed and put our feet on the ground.

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Hydrate, Eat, Breathe.

  • When you first wake up in the morning, you have to get out of the fasting mode your body enters during sleep. The best way to wake your body up is to drink a full glass of water. If you need to turn the coffee pot on, go ahead, but while it brews enjoy some ice water. This helps increase your energy while also telling your metabolism that it’s time to pay attention.[2]
  • Have a healthy breakfast! While it cooks, do a little stretching to work the kinks out of your muscles. Bringing oxygen to your muscles wakes your whole body up and let’s your mind know it’s time to stay alert.

Make a List, Catch Up on Current Events, Envision Your Day.

  • When you wake up, set aside just a little time to catch up on current events. Wake up your brain by engaging in the world around you through the news. We’re all connected to our phones, so it’s a safe bet you can just scroll to a news app while standing at your kitchen counter.
  • Make a list of the things you want to accomplish throughout the rest of the day. Start small. You don’t need to change the world before 8am, but if you want to get to work before 8 and make those copies before 9, write that down! As you go through the day, check off what you’ve accomplished. If you make it feel like a personal challenge, you’re more likely to increase those completed tasks day after day [3].

Don’t Roll Over and Check Your Phone Right Away.

  • Yes, this one thing is a habit all on its own. When you’re trying to wake up earlier and change your routine, the worst thing you can do is hit ‘stop’ on your phone alarm and then fall into the Facebook hole. Before you know it, you’ve been scrolling through your timeline for 45 minutes and the time you allowed yourself to get up earlier and be productive is totally gone. When your alarm goes off, roll over, turn it off and get up!

General Tips and Tricks

  • Get up at the same time every day, and try to go to bed around the same time, too. This helps your body develop a natural sleep pattern that can go a long way in becoming a morning person.[4]
  • Have something to look forward to. This can be anything from trying a new lunch spot later or just planning a really delicious breakfast. Find what works for you and get excited about it.
  • Be selfish about it. Remember that you’re waking up earlier to be less stressed and more zestful. Don’t get down on yourself if it takes a week or two to really get into the swing of things. You’ve probably been an over-sleeper for a long time. Give yourself time to break that habit.

Do you have other suggestions on how to be a morning person? We’d love to hear them! Be sure to share.

Reference

More by this author

Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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