The familiar chime alerts you awake, you stir and sigh. While some people have a healthy relationship with the sun, others have a seemingly-lifelong quest to become a morning person. If you fall into the latter crowd, you know how tough it can be to get up and running in the A.M. when your body craves more sleep. Though your duvet is tempting you deeper into its warmth, countless research has indicated the undeniable valuable of productivity in the morning. Creating and abiding by a consistent routine not only regulates our sleep schedules, but finishing tasks while everyone else is wrestling a second cup of coffee sets up our success for the rest of the day. With most aspects of life, practice makes perfect, and if you’re hoping to increase your output, consider these four strategic tips that make it easy to get motivated before 9 a.m.
First, visualize what you want.
If you’ve ever heard of manifestation, you know it’s an essential part of meditation. Many of the world’s leading executives and celebrities swear by the powers of visualization and mindfulness, often crediting the practice for their robust careers. Before your feet hit the ground or reach for your cup of Joe, close your eyes and expect what you want to happen.
This means getting honest about your goals—each and every single day. Successful serial entrepreneur Patty Briguglio from PFB Connect practices visualization on a consistent and ongoing basis. “With my latest business venture, I connect organizations and businesspeople to create strategic alliances and partnerships. I actually visualize the ‘bridges’ needed to create synergistic relationships” she explained. “I think visualization is one of the most underutilized tools we all have at our disposal.”
Second, get moving.
Not everyone can be up and at ‘em for a bootcamp before dawn, but a Zen-like yoga sequence is definitely a possibility. Or a light jog. No matter how you get your juices flowing, morning exercise naturally ignites your cognitive abilities and supercharges your metabolism, as well as your creativity. Even though it may take ten minutes for your joints and muscles to warm up, the gratification that comes from finishing a workout will give you the energy to push through deadlines and go above and beyond for your deliverables. One way to hold yourself accountable is to enlist a trusted friend to join in on the challenge with you. If you belong to the same gym or fitness studio, sign up for an A.M. class together. Not only is your hard-earned dough on the line, but you are more likely to attend if you know someone is depending on you. It’s a bonus if your workout buddy is also your business partner, since you can dive right into the day after the cool-down.
Third, do something you love.
Much like there are different strokes for different folks, everyone is invigorated by a personal passion. Not only do these drive our careers, but they fuel our spirits and they keep us aligned toward a purpose. The happiest—and yep, the most accomplished—women understand the value of participating in activities that bring them joy, and make sure to carve the time into their schedules. Small business owner Lynette Bushman is a big fan of playing tennis so no matter how hectic her life becomes, she still finds her way to the courts to decompress, reconnect and relax. Your thing might be heading to Starbucks for a leisurely coffee, date night with your spouse or significant other, or catching up with an old college friend. Whatever keeps you fulfilled – is worth the prioritization.
Lastly, make a list.
You don’t have to check it twice—but you should be strategic about it. Especially when demands are coming from every corner, being able to manage everything can be overwhelming. Before you open your laptop and begin checking your emails each morning, write down three items you simply can’t end the day without completing. These can be personal, or work-related, or a mix of both, but the idea is that by checking these off, so you can count the day as a win. While, sure, certain times of the year require more than three deliverables, more often than not, it is procrastination we have to blame for missing deadlines or last-minute chaos. Consider keeping a journal where you pen these the old school way, and rip out the page when you’re finished. It’s gratifying—and a tip many successful women swear by.