9 Things Highly Productive People Don’t Do in the Morning
You want to be as successful as possible, right?
That means having the kind of life and freedom to do the things that matter to you.
You can only achieve the life you want if you know the difference between essential and non-essential tasks and act on the essential ones.
Any kind of success depends on doing the right things to help you achieve that success. The problem is, there are so many things pulling at your attention, it’s difficult to maintain your focus. I get that.
Part of setting yourself up for success is starting every day off in a way that sets you up to be productive. Of course, there are more than enough “morning routine” articles out there and the world doesn’t need another one. So let’s focus on what highly productive people don’t do in the mornings.
You don’t need to wake up at 5 am to be productive. You only need to do what’s right for you and your schedule. Regardless of when you wake up, here are 9 things to avoid if you want to be productive.
Highly Productive People Don’t Plug-In
What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
If your answer contains the phrase “on my phone” or “internet” you need to audit your priorities. I’m just being honest.
Any productivity or morning routine article you read tells you something like “Don’t get on social media” and “Don’t use your phone.” Plugging your brain into what’s happening in the world first thing in the morning sets you up for stress and anxiety.
Here’s the worst thing about jumping online first thing: you aren’t in control of your mindset. Allowing the news or social media to hijack your mind sets you up for failure.
It’s not worth it.
Highly Productive People Don’t Wing It
Your day is only as good as your routine. But it isn’t only your morning routine that counts — it’s your entire day.
Highly productive people don’t let the wind take them wherever it blows. If you want to be productive, your day needs some structure.
That doesn’t mean you need to schedule every bathroom break. But you won’t get very far if you do whatever you want every day with no rhyme or reason.
Highly productive people know what they need to accomplish and what success looks like for them. How do they do it?
They plan their day before it starts.
Highly Productive People Don’t Jump Down the Rabbit Hole
The news media isn’t there to make you happy. So it shouldn’t be surprising when you feel terrible after watching it.
But everyone knows that bad news sells better than good news, and nowadays you can scroll endlessly through whatever topics make your blood boil. There’s even a term for it, it’s called doomscrolling.
Look, it’s not rocket science. You want to start your day in a positive frame of mind. Don’t get sucked into the black hole of negative media first thing in the morning.
Even if your job requires you to be in touch with current events, give yourself space in the morning to be in touch with yourself.
Highly Productive People Aren’t Reactive
Do you know how it feels to wake up in the morning and immediately have to deal with your problems? It’s not a good feeling.
When you wake up in reactionary mode, it sets you up to run through your day in a panic. High levels of stress and anxiety hurt productivity.
You want to start your day in a non-reactive way. That’s why it’s important to set limits and boundaries around your morning.
Give yourself time to breathe. You’ll be much more productive for it.
Highly Productive People Don’t Do Things They Hate
You need something to look forward to when you wake up. If you go to bed knowing you have to do something you hate in the morning, it’s much harder to get out of bed.
What’s something you would enjoy doing, even if it meant getting up a little bit earlier?
Some people enjoy working out right after they wake up. If that sounds like a nightmare to you, then you should wait until later in the day to exercise. It may be meditation or prayer for you. Or perhaps or journaling, or–like me–writing. Whatever it is, it need to energize you and pour life into you.
Believe me, if you identify something you love to do, it’s much more enjoyable to get up in the morning.
Highly Productive People Don’t Wake Up Spinning
The seconds after you wake up can make or break your day. If you wake up with your head spinning, it’s going to hurt your productivity for the day.
One simple trick I use is to plan what I want to think about when I wake up. How do I do that, you ask?
Before falling asleep, concentrate for a few minutes on what you want to think about when you wake up the next morning. Make it something you look forward to doing the next day, or even a positive affirmation.
I often think about waking up and writing a lot because that’s what I do in the morning. For me, writing is freedom so a lot of mornings when I wake I think about the word “freedom.” It helps me remember why I get up early to write.
Here’s why it works. Remember how excited you were as a kid the night before your birthday or Christmas? When you finally fell asleep, it was the first thing you thought about when you woke up. You couldn’t wait to get out of bed.
You can have a similar feeling every morning if you choose. Tell yourself what you want to think about immediately upon waking and you can set your day up for success.
Highly Productive People Don’t Switch Tasks
Tim Denning warns against what he calls “task switching.” That means avoiding a sharp change of focus in your work for the day.
“Task switching causes you to be unproductive“ — Tim Denning
If you switch from one task to another it causes focus problems. For one thing, you’ll never be able to focus long enough to do deep work, which studies show an essential practice if you want to master a skill.
What’s more, if you can’t focus you won’t get very far with a single task. You’ll do a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing.
Highly Productive People Don’t Give Themselves to the World
It’s insane to think you can wake up and immediately start taking care of everyone’s needs except your own.
You must — must — find time for yourself during the day. Even the most extroverted people need time to themselves, and most introverted people need other people to stay healthy.
You have responsibilities and people who are counting on you, I get it. But you need time for yourself even if it’s only a few minutes.
Highly Productive People Don’t Plan their Day
What? How can that be? I’m glad you asked.
Highly productive people don’t plan their day first thing in the morning. If you want to be productive, plan your day the night before.
I learned this the hard way. After looking forward to the weekend all week long, I often found myself frustrated when my wife and I didn’t know what to do with our day.
Once I caught on to the pattern, we started planning our Saturday on Friday evening. That created less friction when trying to make decisions about how to best structure our day. If it works on the weekend, it’ll work through the week.
Don’t plan your day on that day.
Highly productive people are intentional about how they spend their time. Full stop. They plan their days ahead of time so they don’t have to make decisions in the moment. Your intentionality and consistency will help you take the right action to achieve success.