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Published on January 2, 2020

15 Ideas to Help Create Your Best Morning Routine

15 Ideas to Help Create Your Best Morning Routine

Your best morning routine is more than the ideal start to your day. It’s an opportunity to reset; to forget about what happened yesterday, develop a positive mindset about the day ahead, and to take care of yourself before stressors have a chance to crop up.

While most of us want to get the same things out of our morning routine, we go about starting our day in different ways. Some people love to get up early and exercise. Others are happy to lie in bed until the last minute. Some drink coffee, others drink only water, and some skip straight to breakfast.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those morning habits. So which is the best morning routine for you?

The key is figuring out what works for your schedule, body, and brain.

Your ideal morning routine might be three minutes or three hours. What matters is that it prepares you not just for a productive workday, but for a calm and intentional day from start to shuteye.

Only you can find your best morning routine for yourself. But you can build it by testing out ideas from some of the biggest names in business:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a big word, but what it means is simple:

Paying attention to your thoughts without judging or trying to change them.

You can practice it sitting, laying down in bed, while exercising, or at any time you feel stressed.

Mindfulness can take many forms. NuSkin President Ryan Napierski prefers to pray or meditate before leaving the house each morning.[1] By honing his focus through mindfulness, Napierski says that he’s able to be more productive and decisive at work.

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You can start practicing mindfulness easily too: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

2. Take a Walk

A great opportunity to practice mindfulness — and get some exercise to boot — is to take a walk as part of your morning routine.

If you want to make time for a walk, you may need to start your morning routine earlier. As a rule of thumb, plan to walk a mile in about 15 minutes. If your best morning routine involves walking three miles, for instance, you’ll need a 45-minute block of time.

3. Reach Out to a Connection

If you struggle to make time for networking, take Appointment.com CEO Jon Bradshaw’s advice:[2]

Start your morning routine by reaching out to an old acquaintance or by making a new professional connection.

There are multiple ways to do this. Shoot an email while you wait for your morning coffee to brew. Send a text asking how that new job is treating your old coworker. Do avoid calling people out of the blue before 9 a.m.

4. Drink Tea

If coffee isn’t your style, why not try out tea as part of your morning routine?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sips a steaming mug with his breakfast every day.[3] Green and black tea are popular picks, though Pichai does not specify what he drinks; alternative options include relaxing tisanes like chamomile, mint, and lemon balm.

5. Read

One of the most popular ways to wake up is with some light reading. Rather than scroll through your Facebook feed, pick up a newspaper. Make some progress on that library book you checked out last week.

Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, Warren Buffet, reads six different newspapers as part of his morning routine. After that, though, he doesn’t stop reading: 80% of his day, on average, is spent with a book; all told, Buffett aims for 500 pages per day.[4]

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6. Take a Cold Shower

Self-help guru and business consultant Tony Robbins advocates all sorts of unconventional self-care techniques. One of his most famous is his 57-degree Fahrenheit morning plunge into a cold pool.[5] Robbins does it for the shock to his system that, in his words, feels like “every organ, every nerve in your body is on fire.” There’re also more benefits of cold showers you should know.

If you want to add a cold cleanse to your morning routine, start by turning down your shower a few degrees. Decrease the temperature by a few more each week, challenging yourself to spend ever-longer amounts of time beneath the water.

7. Talk to Your Partner

If you and your spouse’s work schedules do not match up, you may not see him or her until late in the evening. Why not get quality time with your partner in the morning instead?

Tracey Grace, president and CEO of IBEX IT Business Experts, has said she starts every day with a cup of coffee with her husband. As they sip, they sit out on their deck and discuss upcoming events, meetings, and dinners.

8. Outline Your Goals

What better time to plan out what you want to achieve each day than right when you wake up?

One shortcut with this morning habit is to write down a singular focus for the day. Maybe you want to reconnect with family, or perhaps you’ve got a proposal to get out the door. Then, you can rest easy knowing everything else can be pushed to the side.

9. Ask Yourself a Powerful Question

Your morning routine is a time to reflect on what actually matters. Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO and co-founder, asked himself every morning:[6]

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

Your question might be something else:

If your goal in life is providing for your family, you might ask, “How will I help my family today?”

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If you’re struggling with self-care, “What do my my body and mind need from me today?” may be a good option.

Here’re even more inspirations for you: 100 Inspiring Questions That Make You Think About Your Life

10. Eat the Frog

When you wake up, what weighs on your mind? Solve it as part of your morning routine, generational marketing expert Jeff Fromm mentions in his book Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast–and Very Different–Generation of Influencers. By tackling the hardest thing first, Fromm finds that rest of his day tends to fall into place.

11. Fast

Listeners of “The Joe Rogan Experience” will recognize this tip:

After going for a run or doing yoga, the popular podcaster fasts for the remainder of the morning.

Rogan claims that the practice improves his brain function and focus.[7]

Like the cold-plunge routine, add this step to your morning routine gradually. After you wake up, practice going an hour, then two, and then three without eating. Soon, you’ll be able to stave off hunger until lunchtime, when Rogan eats.

12. Give Back

When Craigslist founder Craig Newmark wakes up, he starts his day with others in mind.[8] After spending an hour on customer service for the buy-and-sell platform, he works on projects that promote voting and support military families.

Whatever fires you up, embrace it with your morning routine. Pick up litter. Write letters to your representatives or local newspaper. Advocate for a nonprofit you believe in.

13. Listen to Relaxing Music

Each morning, Saagar Govil, CEO of industrial manufacturer Cemtrex, gets to work on his company’s five top monthly issues. To stay calm and keep his mind on track, Govil turns on some classical music.[9]

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If Bach and Beethoven aren’t your style, listen to whatever relaxes you. Who says 6 a.m. is too early for some head-banging metal or hip-hop?

14. Do Yoga

One of the best ways to work up a sweat in the morning is with yoga, according to media mogul Arianna Huffington.[10] After drinking a cup of coffee and riding her stationary bike, Huffington stretches herself out with yoga.

If you’ve never done yoga before, start with foundational poses like downward dog and child’s pose. After mastering those, challenge yourself with an online routine.

Learn more about yoga in this article: How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses)

15. Check in with Family

Almost none of us get as much time as we’d want with family. Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia’s CEO, makes time in his morning routine by calling a family member — typically his mother, father, or sister — on the way to the office.[11]

If your family members would not appreciate an early-morning call, send a text. If you haven’t checked in with multiple members for a while, send an email sharing what’s new in your life.

Kickstart Your Early Morning Routine

Starting a morning routine is about your mindset and perseverance. If you wake up thinking “This is going to suck,” then it probably will. To build the sort of mornings you want:

  • Set an alarm: If you want to have time for a morning routine, you need to wake up early. Give yourself at least an hour before work, and realize you may still need more time.
  • Get up at the same time every day: Tempting as it is to sleep in on the weekends, don’t. Make your morning routine a habit by doing it every single day.
  • Tell others your plans: If you tell your partner you plan to be awake at 5 a.m. and exercising by 6 a.m., you’ll be that much more likely to do it. Peer pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
  • Give yourself a reward: Humans are reward-oriented beings, just like other animals. If you like shopping for shoes, create a chart for yourself: If you stick to your morning routine for a full month, perhaps you’ll have earned a shopping expedition.
  • Forgive yourself if you slip up: Like it or not, there will be times when you hit “snooze” on your alarm clock. Don’t beat yourself up; tell yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow.

Nothing matters more to your productivity or overall happiness than how you handle your mornings. Change your morning routine, and you’ll quite literally change your life.

More to Help You Start Your Day Right

Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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