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10 Ways To Have A Refreshingly Great Morning

10 Ways To Have A Refreshingly Great Morning
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Ah, mornings. Sometimes we spring out of bed and can’t wait for the day to start, and other days we hit the snooze a few times too many. How can we make it so the former happens more often in our lives?

Jump-starting the day on a positive note not only makes us happier throughout the day but also makes us a pleasure to be around. Here are 10 ways we can all increase our chances of having a refreshingly great morning and wonderful day.

Get A Good Night’s Rest

This may sound easier than it is for some of us, me included. But honestly, good sleep is where it all starts with the added benefit of strengthening your memory. Going to bed early is key, and having a ritual before bedtime can make a huge difference. I like to wind down at about 8:30 p.m. from the day with a cup of tea. Most nights, I journal about my day or write down ideas while enjoying my tea. Writing a to-do list for tomorrow can also be powerful to rest the spinning thoughts in your mind. Then, reading in bed around 9:30 p.m. is always a 1-2 knockout for me. Once you establish your pattern and avoid distractions (especially alcohol), you will be well on your way to a refreshing morning.

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Get Up Early

Since we’re going to bed early, it only makes sense to get up early as well. It might be difficult to spring out of bed at 5 or 6 a.m., but once you start this pattern, you will feel like the day is wasted if you don’t continue getting up early. If you’re having trouble, you can simply set your smartphone’s alarm clock or try one of these alarm apps. Once again, establishing a pattern will help you be on time for the rest of the day.

Get Outside And Enjoy Nature

Nature is so peaceful and it can really awaken our spirits. I take my dog for a 15-minute walk every morning, rain or shine. I often joke and wonder if it’s benefiting my dog or me more? Or, you might go for a jog. Try to be mindful of this great time with nature. Connect and express gratitude in each step.

Don’t Undervalue Meditation

It may sound like some hippie new-age babble, but this works. I recently read “10% Happier” by Dan Harris and enjoyed it thoroughly. The concept of meditation is quite simple. Just choose a comfortable spot and focus on your breathing for five minutes to start. Then work your way up to 15-30 minutes. If your mind wanders away from your breath, and it will, bring it back. I guarantee this will start to have a dramatic effect on mornings and throughout the day. Try it!

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Spend Time With Loved Ones

If you’re married or have kids, be grateful for this time to share with those you love most. Use FaceTime or Skype if they’re not near. If you’re single, call your best friend and chat for a few minutes. The positive voices of friends and family is a sure fire way to have a great morning.

Get To The Gym, And Sweat

Mornings are the perfect time to increase your metabolism and have a killer workout. Switch it up. Throw around weights one morning, get into a hot yoga class another, or do 40 minutes on any machine. You could also mix 20 minutes of cardio with weight training. Staying in the gym for anything more than 45 minutes is just a waste of time. You will feel refreshed throughout the day, and feeling sore the next day is an awesome accomplishment.

Have An Energizing Breakfast

We all know breakfast is the power meal of the day, but it depends on what we eat to make this true. Pancakes, waffles or donuts are junk and will slow you down for the day to come. Instead, choose to make an energizing smoothie with fruits, vegetables and a protein powder of your choice. Another option is oatmeal with blueberries or avocados with eggs, yum. I mix it up every morning while catching up on the news and my favorite blogs. This is also the perfect time to enjoy a good cup of coffee or refreshing green/black tea.

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Tackle The Important Stuff First

It doesn’t matter if you work from home or from the office. Your mind is the most fresh and creative in the mornings before it starts to get drowned by the chatter of others. Use this time wisely to work on critical tasks for your own business or your higher-ups. If you don’t keep a list of important tasks, mornings are a great time to create one. I always say, “If you don’t write it down, it won’t happen.”

Check Your Email

I know most will say checking email is not productive first thing in the morning, but it can work if you’re not entirely reactive to it. Take a look and know which people you need to check in with around you. If however, there’s a critical message, your mind will be clear to respond properly.

Don’t Be Late

I once heard a phrase about being on time, and it has stuck with me since. It goes like this, “If you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” If you’re driving to a meeting, leave early. If it’s a webinar, check in early and minimize the window until it starts. Being early will keep you less stressed and make you feel more productive.

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The most important takeaway is to establish a pattern for your mornings. These 10 ways help me to create a great morning everyday (well, most days), and I hope they help start or re-enforce your morning routine for an amazing day, everyday.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukumbura/ via flickr.com

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Dario Zadro

Web Strategist

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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