The power of productive mornings

by Cecilia Magnergård on February 1, 2014

Trick yourself to become an early bird

clip_image002Successful business owners, hard workers and entrepreneurs know that time is a valuable commodity, and when managing a business it may seem like there are never enough hours in the day. Embracing the power of mornings, a time of day when there are less demands, could however be the key to increase your productivity and release your stress. A recent survey conducted by The Guardian reports that a majority of the CEOs of successful companies get up about 5 a.m. every morning. Correspondingly, present research outlines that morning persons often are more successful than evening persons because they, as a group, tend to be more proactive.

You will wake up, give or take, around 30.000 mornings in your lifetime, and what you do every morning sets the tone of your entire day. The choices that we continuously make are what establish the work we create, the health we enjoy and the life we live. There are many examples of the positive effects of waking up early.

Strong willpower and no distractions

Willpower can be compared to a muscle that becomes drained with over-use. Therefore, even if you are not naturally a morning person, you will have more willpower in the early hours than later in the day. Throughout the day while dealing with difficult people, making decisions and battling you day-to-day tasks, you will use up your willpower leaving you exhausted at the end of the day. The strong morning willpower, in combination with the fact that you are less likely to get distracted in the mornings, gives you a golden opportunity to be far more productive than during the rest of the day. The quiet hours of the mornings are the perfect time to work on the most important business projects without being interrupted. Spending time on it at the beginning of the day also ensures that it gets your attention before others use it all up.

Allows time to plan

clip_image003Use the mornings to plan the day or week ahead; conduct a big-picture thinking that in turn will help you set the trajectory of the week, and thereafter prioritise. Sort out the main challenges ahead and make a strategy on how to deal with them. Although it may be tempting to run away from undesirable and problematic situations, it is a defective strategy. Dealing with challenges is what ultimately shapes us into the person we become. Even though it may be hard; always face your challenges, learn from them and head on. Wherever you go, your mindset goes with you, so plan to embrace your challenges and they will make you grow.

Exercise before it falls of the to-do list

Pre-breakfast workout helps to reduce stress later in the day and it is associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it increases longevity, lowers blood pressure, enhances our mood and reduces risk of cancer. If you wait until the afternoon do something meaningful for yourself, one are likely to put it out of the to-do list altogether. Exercise in the morning will help you make sure that it will not fall out of the to-do list later in the day and will give you a lot of endorphins to be productive with.

But what if you’re a habitual night owl, how to trick yourself to become an early bird?

Visualise your perfect morning and plan it accordingly

clip_image005Imagine if the day had 26 hours, what would you have done with the extra two? Getting up early is not about punishing yourself, it is rather the opposite. Here you are given extra hours to catch up on the latest news, eat a long and healthy breakfast, listen to your favourite music, work on the most important business project or exercise. When you have decided what to do with your extra hours, plan and ease the implementation of it. Choose the clothes you intend to wear the following day at work, gather the ingredients for your breakfast and lay out your running-clothes the night before.

Morning program

clip_image007Infuse an iterating morning schedule where you wake up, work, read and eat at the same time every day as routine is the key of being a morning person. The body likes to foresee what is happening, and it will settle into a routine. The most important thing is not to thumb on the wakeup time, even during weekends, which means that if you are a night owl that wants to become an early bird, it is especially important to make sure not to sleep in during weekends. Sleeping in throws out your sleep rhythm and it is hard to catch up. Leave sleeping in for when you are unwell. Instead, get up and use the time to read a new book, enjoy a longer breakfast, write or exercise. Take notice of how much more you have accomplished when you get home from work once have introduced your early morning routine. You will be more lenient, sleep better at night, and be more refreshed for when you get up early again.

The breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And if you are attempting to make mornings endurable, a cup of coffee and a stick of gum is not going to cut it. Do never skip breakfast and eat it wisely. Avoid the bread and go for protein-heavy food such as yogurt and eggs. The carbohydrates in the bread promote sleep while the protein facilitates wakefulness as it increases ones dopamine levels. Make sure to find something you really like to eat for breakfast, something that will make you long for the morning when going to bed at night.

The light

clip_image009Light sends signals to the body to stop making melatonin, which is the hormone that helps regular sleep. Therefore, it is significant to our morning habits as it tells the brain that the day has begun independent of whether it is artificial or natural. Subsequently, if it is dark when you want to wake up, you can trick your brain into stop producing melatonin and thinking the sun is up by using indoor lights.

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