If you’re like most people in the morning, including me, the second you open your eyes and wake up, you immediately grab your phone to do the morning email scroll and instagram check in. But, if you change this habit and avoid communications for the first 30–60 minutes of your day, you WILL BE more productive. Yes, this means no social media and no answering email.
Why does checking these platforms dampen our productivity right from the beginning of each day?
Think about it…when you wake the brain up with messages and updates about what your friends and others are doing, you shift your mind into a reactive mindset as opposed to a proactive mindset. In other words, you prioritize the responsibilities of others before yours. By responding to emails first thing in the morning, you are being ‘reactive’ and adapting to the schedules of others. While this may sound selfish, it’s important to take care of YOU first — your daily plan, your organization for the day, your goals — be it something that makes you happy, a morning workout or an important business proposal that needs to be tackled. You will be more productive if you welcome the day with your priorities coming ahead of everyone else’s.
If you’ve rested well, mornings can be the time of most clarity because YOU can dictate the schedule, organize your mind and goals, and it is a time in the day when you are least likely to be interrupted by phone calls, chores and day to day fire drills that come up. Mornings are also known to be a time when willpower is strongest, so it’s best to tap into what you want to accomplish immediately. Benjamin Franklin, for example, started his days by asking himself, “What do I want to accomplish today?” and noted that the morning is a time when we are hyper-focused.
We are all different with regards to what we prioritize for the day. So for example, while some of my friends enjoy meditating and journaling first thing in the morning, I function best going directly to the gym or outdoors for a workout. I typically wake up at 515am and I’m kicking off my workout by 545am. If exercising first thing in the morning isn’t a system that works for you, below are 5 other steps I also integrate into my routine that can help prepare you for a more productive day:
1) Upon waking, drink a tall glass of warm water with some lemon in it to kick start the metabolism, cleanse the liver and pump up the immune system. Some days I opt for an apple cider vinegar morning cocktail, which is also cleansing and wonderful for metabolism and health.
2) Journal. I was recently gifted “The 5 Minute Journal” by a friend and have enjoyed writing down daily goals and taking just a few minutes to reflect on how I can make the day as positive and productive as possible. Aside from it being touted by productivity guru and NY Times Best-Selling Author, Tim Ferriss, I like this journal because it’s short, simple and then you are able to reflect on it in the evening. Try to start the day by immediately working towards one of these goals — be it a work project, a chore that has been lingering or a personal goal (i.e. take more steps today or drink more water.)
3) Talk to people, don’t just write and text. Write down 5 people that you would like to or need to call for the day and plan to make 1 or 2 of those calls in the morning. We are so focused on our screens these days that we forget the effectiveness and stronger personal connection we achieve when we speak on the phone. Spoken conversations will eliminate multiple emails and can also make someone feel appreciated. Call a client to check in and give them updates or call your mom or a friend to let them know you were thinking about them and that you wish them a great day. The simplicity of a 5-minute phone call and the opportunity to listen to voices makes connections warmer and eliminates redundant email traffic.
4) Family Time. Between work, school (if you have kids), errands and again, things that come up, family time is fairly absent in the middle of the day. If you are home in the morning, take that time to pay attention to your children, or drink a cup of coffee with your spouse or partner. I set my phone aside when I return from the gym and from 7am to 8am, I try to be 100% focused on family, talking about the day with my husband and getting my kids ready for school. The key here is to not feel rushed, so plan this time accordingly.
5) Nourish your body. Skipping breakfast is not an ideal way to start the day. Eat a good breakfast that is high in protein, low in sugar and something you enjoy. Make no excuses because several healthy breakfasts can be made in just a matter of minutes. Whether it is avocado toast with an egg or a delicious protein shake, fuel your body and mind with something you feel good about.
Try kicking off mornings for one week without immediately ‘liking’ instagram posts or answering work emails and see if you feel more productive about starting the day proactive and focused on YOUR goals and well-being first.
Originally published at medium.com