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10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

Aha, the satisfaction of a productive morning is a feeling we all long for. The personal success we feel when our tasks are complete and done well, brings joy to our hearts.

Here are 10 tips to aid you in turning chaotic mornings into super productive ones.

1. Don’t Watch TV or Work/Play on Electronic Devices At Least One Hour Before Bed

” Sleep tight, but not right after looking at something bright.” as reported by By Randy Dotinga HealthDay Reporter( http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/sleep/articles/2011/03/07/using-electronics-before-bed-may-hamper-sleep)

One of the best ways to have a productive morning, is simply by getting a proper night’s sleep the night before.  Sounds easy enough, however, many people suffer restless nights with interrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation will rob you of productivity.  Quality sleep is essential for good health.  One’s ability to think clearly and make rational choices actually is dependent on proper sleep.  A key element that is preventing many from getting a good night’s rest is the use of electronics.The human body naturally produces melatonin, which aids in sleeping,  this can be gravely affected by bright lights.  Begin to practice shutting off all modes of electronics for at least one hour before bedtime and see how this will aid in better sleep, and ultimately, more productive days.

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    2. Don’t Hit the Snooze Button

    Personally, I will never understand why the “snooze button” was invented.  I find it tortuous to have to wake up and doze back to sleep only to be awaken again in a few minute time-span.   Your body begins a new sleep cycle when you hit your snooze alarm.  Instead of getting a few extra winks in, thinking it will help you get through your day, you are actually doing more harm than good. It is best that you wake up with the alarm clock.  If you find that you aren’t rested enough, then you need to readjust the time that your alarm is going off or the time that you go to bed the night before. Always remember, a good night’s rest is essential for defeating unproductive mornings.

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      3. Don’t Over Extend Yourself

      It is very easy to set yourself up for failure by placing too many things on your “to-do” list.  I have found that by limiting your lists of things you want to accomplish in a day, to a smaller number, it allows you to be able to do more and be more productive.  The sense of a huge list of things that are needed to be done, weighing on your mind, adds stress to your day.  When you begin to stress, you lose ability to focus and your levels of productivity are greatly lessened.  Be reasonable with your limits.  You are not super-human. A smaller list accomplished is much better than a longer list only partially completed.

       

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        4. Don’t Check Your Emails First Thing in the Morning

        In this electronic era, it is tempting to pick up your device the minute you wake up to check on what has happened in the world during your sleeping hours.  But don’t!  Resist the temptation to scroll through your emails.  Set appointed times throughout the day that you will check and respond to incoming email.  What happens often times when we begin to open emails, there are demands or requests upon your time. You have a plan for your morning and all of a sudden your morning has the potential of taking a whole different route just by glancing at your emails.

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          5. Don’t Wait Till Morning To …

          One of the very best ways to avoid unproductive mornings is to prepare the night before for the day ahead.  If you were to research the lives and habits of successful men and women, you would find that much of their success lies in preparation.

          •Don’t wait till morning to choose what clothes you will wear that day. Instead, pick out what you will wear, as well as, any shoes and accessories the night before. When morning comes you won’t have to waste precious time pulling things out of your closet and deciding last minute what to wear. You will have ample time to make sure everything is clean, neat, and arranged to your liking. No more rushing around in the morning to find something to wear. You will feel much more prepared to start your day by taking these steps.

          •Don’t wait till morning to make your “to-do” list. Instead, set your lists of goals and tasks the night before. When morning comes you will wake up with  direction. You will be able to start the day off quicker, easier and the end result will be productivity.

          •Don’t wait till morning to make your lunch. Trying to figure out what you want for lunch while slurping your morning coffee doesn’t end well. Instead, after dinner or sometime before bedtime is the best time to pack a healthy lunch for the next day.  Taking a little extra time in the evening will reap rewards the following day. You will have a nutrious lunch to take and one last thing to do early in the morning.

          •Don’t wait till morning to see if you need extra time to get gas for the car, or if you have an early morning meeting, or if you are the carpool driver.  Basically it is best to check and be aware of the next days agenda before you go to sleep. By checking your calendar you will be prepared for any and all aspects of the upcoming day.

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          6.  Don’t Get Sidetracked

          Wake up, have a mission and don’t get sidetracked! This is when your list of objectives for the day come in handy, without a direction you will easily fall into the wander mode and become easily side-tracked. It is surprising how much valuable time that can be eaten up by straying from your goal. When interrupted, one task that could be completed in 30 minutes can turn into a project that takes hours to complete. Practice being single-minded in your tasks. This tip will help make your day more productive.

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            7. Don’t Skip Breakfast

            It is true; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Yet, many start their day without taking time to eat.  It is a known fact that cars need fuel.  The same for our bodies.  Breakfast is fuel for our bodies. Science has shown that you have a “mental advantage” when you start the day with a healthy breakfast. You will be able to focus and concentrate much better once you have eaten.  This will aid you in problem-solving and making better choices throughout your day.  What better way to make your day productive than by starting it off with a proper breakfast.

             

            8. Don’t Go Into Office At the Same Time As Everyone Else

            I recently was speaking with a VP of a successful company. I told him about this article and asked him some of the things he avoids, in order to have productive mornings. Mr. R said, “Don’t go into the office the same time as everyone else does, go in an half hour earlier.”

            Some of the benefits to arriving early include less distraction, less temptation to socialize with others, and  extra moments to set up for your day. When everyone else comes in, you will have already gotten your day in order. It is true that sometimes you can get so much more accomplished in  small undisturbed frames of time. Take advantage of tips like this to aid in making your morning as productive as possible.

            9. Don’t Waste Time

            If there were an award given for most time wasted I certainly have seen some viable candidates. If you want to have truly productive days, this is a luxury you cannot afford.,”Don’t say you don’t have enough time.

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            You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” says H. Jackson Brown. We all have the same 24 hours in our days, how you use it is what determines your success.

             

            10. Don’t Leave Your House Angry Ever

            Anger is a powerful emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. If not expressed correctly, anger can lead to very unpleasant consequences. When you are leaving your home in the morning the mood or tone of your day begins. If you leave in a huff, because you are upset, then you will find it difficult to concentrate on the things you need to accomplish that day.

            Anger will cloud your thinking making production difficult. It also is very difficult to be productive when you have unfinished emotional baggage on your mind.  Another important reason you should never leave your house angry is because life is short and uncertain. You have heard stories of people who wished they could take back those angry words spoken in the morning because their loved one never made it home that day. Now they have to live in constant regret.

            Start your day on a positive note to make it productive. Speak kind words of love and affirmation to all around you.

            We will all experience those days where it seems nothing will go right. However, let’s put into practice these 10 tips to help us learn to be more productive than we ever dreamed possible. To sum it up, you need a good night’s sleep, preparations for the day ahead, healthy eating habits and a focused mindset and you will sail through your mornings with more vigor and control. Here’s to living a meaningful and productive life!

             

            More by this author

            Charlene Tops

            Charlene is a certified life coach who is passionate about writing, speaking and teaching.

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            Last Updated on October 29, 2020

            How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

            How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

            Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

            I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

            Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

            How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

            Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

            At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success, while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

            The good news is that no matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

            1. Develop a Positive Mindset

            If you’re going to increase your mental toughness and manage stress, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset in everyday life.

            According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

            That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

            Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

            Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

            Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

            It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

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            “I’m not smart enough to…”

            “I don’t have enough experience to…”

            “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

            When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively.

            When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true, and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

            • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
            • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
            • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

            Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

            Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

            All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was great or awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

            But this isn’t true!

            If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

            If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often.

            When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

            Ditch the Dwelling

            Self-limiting beliefs and all-or-nothing thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative, which is bad news for mental health. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

            When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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            That doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

            The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

            If you struggle with this, you can try the following:

            1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
            2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
            3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
            4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

            The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

            2. Connect With Your Purpose

            One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong “why” for all of your short and long-term goals.

            If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a “why” for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

            Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution, and things weren’t going well. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower or discipline.

            It’s more likely that you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

            Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

            “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

            One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a why for. Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

            You can learn more on identifying your purpose in this video:

            Find Intrinsic Motivation

            Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something, and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers[3].

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            Develop mental toughness with intrinsic motivation

              Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

              However, if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that “why” is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

              If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things.

              3. Find Strength in Unity

              The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone.

              Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

              Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

              If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

              Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

              The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success, discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

              If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

              Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

              Recruit Some Cheerleaders

              If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders to help you successfully complete your goals. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

              Even if you have a strong why and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

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              As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. When they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs.

              Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

              Form an Accountability Group

              Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong why for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

              Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

              Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

              4. Learn to Pick Yourself up After Setbacks

              Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

              As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

              When you find yourself in a low spot, instead of giving up right away, ask yourself these questions:

              • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
              • “Are negative thoughts distorting my view?”
              • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
              • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
              • “Is this goal still important to me?”
              • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or hold me accountable?”

              Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged.

              This article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

              Tying It All Together

              A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize negative tendencies and taking action to correct them early on with healthy habits. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

              No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

              More on Developing Mental Strength

              Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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