By Marcel Schwantes
Start off by not picking up the smartphone as soon as you wake up.
Do you have a morning routine that works well for you? Many of us do this regularly: We get up refreshed from a good night’s sleep and immediately grab our smartphone. Almost subconsciously, we hold it a few inches from our face and scroll through endless emails (even replying to some of them), status updates, notifications, and news alerts.
Now, if you’re truly being honest with yourself, you might say such distractions have already sucked some energy out of you before you stumble into the kitchen for your morning cuppa joe. Your mind is already on overdrive and this is a horrible way to start the day.
But what if you, instead, reclaimed the mornings as your own and honored your morning time and personal wellbeing with activities that fed your mind, body, and soul rather than raised your blood pressure?
Here are some of the best strategies to help you master your mornings to your advantage.
Treasure your mornings with family time.
Twitter and Medium co-founder Biz Stone plays an hour with his son. He says that’s the most important part of his day. “I’ve been playing with my son upon waking up since he was born,” Stone tells CNBC Make It. “If I don’t get a chance to play with my son in the morning, I feel like I missed something that I’ll never get back,” he says. “It’s such a joy to wake up and be in the mindset of a five-year-old before transitioning into the role of ‘executive.'”
Spend 15-30 minutes meditating.
Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington both start their morning with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Oprah says, “only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.” One powerful benefit of meditation is being able to detach from habitual thought patterns, especially the negative ones. With this little morning ritual, you can gain control of your thoughts and make the rest of your day seem manageable. You’ll notice a weight come off your shoulders.
Start with an early workout.
So many successful people begin their mornings with an exercise routine. It makes sense; exercise before breakfast is a great way to get energized for the rest of the day. Case in point, Michelle Gass, an executive at Kohl’s department stores sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to go running. Former U.S President Barack Obama starts every morning with a workout routine which consists of strength and cardio training. And Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s morning ritual involves a seven-minute workout that he does three times through.
Journaling involves writing stream of consciousness as soon as you wake up. It’s an effective way to tame mental clutter, sharpen your focus and unlock creativity. Entrepreneur Tim Ferris swears by his own 5-minute morning ritual. “It’s easy to become obsessed with pushing the ball forward as a Type-A personality and end up a perfectionist who is always future-focused,” he tells Business Insider. “The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention … that allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person — which is not something that comes naturally to me.”
Ax the morning meeting routine.
So now that you have a handle on managing your mornings in a more holistic way so you get off to a fast start at work, be aware of what sucks your energy and focus the minute you walk in the door at the office. One of the biggest culprits? The morning meeting. Your productive morning state of flow can often be derailed by having to attend unimportant or redundant meetings that could easily be rescheduled for noon or later. This is frustrating and demotivating for knowledge workers whose turbo-charged creative juices and high-octane productivity are being released. Leaders need to recognize the importance of scheduling meetings for slower work times, and give workers the option to use their mornings according to their work styles and how they brains function at an optimum level.
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