What's the Secret to a Successful and Productive Day?

Larry Alton

July 25, 2018

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How many times have you had a bad morning and allowed the friction from that experience to seep into the rest of your day?

How many times have you had a great morning and found that the positive effects have a profound impact on how you perceive the next 12-14 hours?

Waking up on the right or wrong side of the bed is often used in a hyperbolic manner, but there's a lot of truth to get your day off to a good start with a positive morning routine. If you aren't already purposeful with the start of your day, here are a few tips and practices you may consider implementing:

Stop Hitting Snooze

There's nothing wrong with hitting the snooze button once to give yourself some time to slowly wake up, but hitting it over and over again is a precarious way to start your day. Not only will it set you back schedule-wise, but it'll also make you feel anxious and distant. As painful as it can sometimes be, force yourself to get up when the alarm goes off.

Ease into Things

It's really important that you don't roll out of bed and immediately mash down the gas pedal. Even on busy days where you have lots to accomplish, easing into things will serve you better.

In addition to taking a few minutes to meditate or contemplate, avoid checking your devices for texts, emails, and social media notifications while still in bed. "You might feel like you need that head start, but jumping into work that early might actually delay you from getting into the office, increasing your stress levels," says Dr. Maria C. Reyes, an internist at Rush University Medical Center.

Sing in the Shower

Try listening to some music in the shower. Not only will the sound of the music wake up your brain and get the creative juices flowing, but the act of singing along will elevate your mood and give you a better outlook on the day. (Just make sure you're singing upbeat tunes, not country ballads.)

Avoid the News

Unless your job depends on consuming the early morning news, avoid it like the plague. Rarely is the news positive or uplifting. The entire industry is built on ratings, and reporters and journalists use combative stories and friction to drive fear and angst into viewers and readers.

The less you surround yourself with this—especially in the fragile hours of the morning—the less likely it is that a negative story will derail your thought process.

Make These Two Lists

Regardless of whether you're a self-professed list-maker or not, you should make two lists every morning before starting your workday. (Breakfast is the perfect time to do this.)

The first list should include three to five things/people/circumstances that you're thankful for at the moment. Try to make this list unique each day, though there's nothing wrong with occasionally repeating an item.

The second list should include one to three things you're looking forward to doing at the end of the day (after work). This list may include going for a walk with your dog, watching a favorite TV show, having a drink with friends, or reading the last chapter of your book.
The objective with both of these lists is to shift your mindset from stressed and overwhelmed to gracious and expectant. This small exercise will shift your entire mentality.

Get Your Day Started Right

Don't take your morning routine lightly. The more purposeful you are with what you do and how you handle yourself, the greater your chances are of having a positive and productive day. Find some practices that work for you and begin implementing them as soon as possible.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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