7 Morning Habits That Will Boost Your Productivity

By Rachel Perry

Bleary eyes? Coffee-stained shirt? Perpetually 10 minutes late for everything? We need to talk. Here’s how to become a happy, productive morning person.

Originally posted on neat.com/company/blog/

We hate to be the bearer of bad news — but if you tend to spend your mornings with a pillow over your face, pounding the snooze button until the very last minute, you’re losing out.

How you start your morning can affect your entire day — and if you’re always running out the door with bleary eyes and an empty stomach, your productivity might be taking a serious hit. Getting off to a good start every day can give you a much-needed energy boost and set you up for success all day long.

Here are 7 small changes that will make a big difference:

1) Do a little more the night before. Pick two or three small things that you’d normally do in the morning, and do them before you go to bed instead. Make your lunch, pack your bag for work, or choose your clothes for the next day. Those are all simple tasks, but doing them in advance will make your morning less hectic so you can get out of the door on time. Trying to multitask too much in the morning can make you feel frazzled, and that’s no way to start your day.

2) Wake up earlier. Try setting your alarm clock for 10–15 minutes earlier than you’d usually get up (no snooze button allowed — waking up over and over again just messes with your body’s natural sleep rhythm). Yeah, we know — waking up is hard, and sleep is precious. But once you’re up, showered, and ready to start your day, you won’t even miss those few minutes, and you’ll feel much less rushed. A little relaxation time in the morning can go a long way. And on that note…

3) Start your day with something that makes you happy. Love to read, write in your journal, play with your dog, or do a little yoga? Make time for it in the morning, even if it’s just five minutes. Doing something you enjoy resets your brain and makes you feel good, which is a great way to begin your morning and set yourself up for a productive day.

4) Just say no (to your phone). If you have a habit of reaching for your smartphone to check your email before your feet even hit the floor, stop. While it might seem like catching up on work emails is a productive way to start your morning, time management consultant Julie Morgenstern says the opposite is true. Jumping right into work as soon as you get up can make you feel anxious and ultimately affects your long-term productivity because it doesn’t give you a chance to reset your brain after a night of sleep.

5) Postpone the caffeine fix. We’re not saying that you need to give up the magic beans — just don’t head to the coffeemaker the second you get out of bed. The best time for a caffeine boost, it seems, is at least an hour after you wake up. You don’t want to chug your coffee and then waste all that productive energy on brushing your teeth, do you? Save it for when you really need it — when you’re actually working.

6) Eat something. Your brain can’t survive on coffee alone. Fuel it with something healthy to kick-start your morning productivity and help you focus. Oatmeal, a protein-packed smoothie, scrambled eggs — it’s up to you. Just make sure what you eat has some nutritional value; sugary carbs will give you a fast energy boost, but you’ll crash just as quickly.

7) Set some goals for your day. What three or four things should you get done today in order to feel accomplished? Take a few minutes in the morning to set some quick, realistic goals for yourself — finishing a team project, replying to important emails, creating expense reports, drafting up a proposal, or whatever else is highest priority. Mentally creating a short to-do list will help keep you on track so you won’t get distracted from your goals, and you’ll start your day already feeling focused and productive.

If you need extra motivation to become a morning person, here’s a little science — according to a 2012 study published in an American Psychological Association Journal, self-labeled “morning people” are happier, healthier, and more proactive than their counterpart night owls.

So — what’s your morning routine like? How do you jump-start your daily productivity? Leave us a note or visit us on Facebook.

This post originally appeared on neat.com/company/blog/.