If your top goal for 2018 is to become more productive, the first thing you should look at improving is your morning routine.
The way you start your day has an impact on how the rest of your day progresses. What you eat, what time you wake up, how quickly you get to work, and what you choose to tackle first can all have an impact on how productive you are throughout the next 12 hours.
If you haven’t mastered a morning routine that feels right for you, it’s time for a change. And with the start of the New Year, now is the time to make that shift, so you can achieve your goals for a more productive 2018. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Take Your Time in the Morning …
In today’s hurried world, the standard is to rush, rush, rush out the door. When you think of a morning routine for a boss, you most often probably think of checking email before you get out of bed only to realize you’re late, so you jump in the shower, quickly scrub off and get dressed, before jetting out the door to your first early morning meeting.
Some of the most well-known bosses in history had a very different looking routine – namely President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Both of these politicians woke up between 6:30 and 7:30 every morning and started the day slowly.
Barack Obama made it a point to read the newspaper and eat breakfast with his family before getting down to business at 9 a.m. Winston Churchill stayed in bed until 11:00 a.m. eating breakfast, reading and dictating to his secretaries.
Both men took their time getting a pulse on what was happening in the world, but neither man rushed into the office to start the day. They took it slow. They nourished their bodies. And, they still managed to run their countries in the process.
… Or Embrace the Morning (If You’re a Morning Person)
Although President Obama and Prime Minister Churchill chose a slow start to their day, that doesn’t mean you need to do the same – especially not if you’re a morning person like Ernest Hemingway.
The famous author, Hemingway, woke up and began writing with the sunrise. He did not stop either. He wrote and wrote until he was drained of all the words he had in his mind and on his heart. Then, he stopped. If you’re a morning person, don’t push off work during your most productive hours. Schedule yourself into work early, so you can tackle as much of your to do list as possible while you feel most productive. Then, stop. Take a break and clear your head.
Get Active and Eat Right
This might not come as a surprise but successful celebrities often choose to start their day with a workout.
Jennifer Aniston reportedly works out for several hours every day before nourishing her body with a protein shake and a healthy breakfast.
Kim Kardashian has a similar routine. She wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and goes for an hour long run before coming home and eating a protein packed breakfast.
This isn’t a modern fad either. Marilyn Monroe said in 1954 that she would warm a cup of milk on a hot plate in her hotel room and then break two raw eggs into the milk, whipping them up with a fork and drinking them. This is just another example of a high-protein breakfast for a high-profile woman.
Audrey Hepburn was also known for never skipping breakfast. Her morning meal of choice was two eggs and a slice of whole wheat toast.
There’s a common theme here, aside from protein and exercise – it’s nourishment. Each of these successful celebrities uses their morning to give their body fuel. If you’re in a rut of eating sugary cereal or worse, not eating at all, you might be stealing your body of valuable energy to start the day. Reconsider what you do for your physical health each morning and in turn, you could see a benefit to your mental health and productivity throughout the rest of the day.
Start Big Before Going Small
Famous author, Mark Twain, once said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” This expression should not be taken literally. Instead, it should be understood that the live frog is something big and hard to swallow on your plate. Do that first and everything else you do that day will make you feel successful.
The late, famous Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, would agree with this mindset. He’s famous for saying, “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” He too put his mornings in perspective by tackling the most important things first. These were the tasks that would push him closer to his bigger goal and the legacy he would eventually leave behind.
You can take a page from these two playbooks by doing the same. Start on whatever task is going to get you furthest to your end goal and then do (or eat) that one first.
What’s Right for You?
As you can see from these examples, there’s no one set pattern that will automatically steer you to success. The first step toward finding your morning routine is to uncover when you’re most productive. Then, schedule in your working hours around those times. If you’re a morning person, work like Hemingway. If you’re a night owl, work like Prime Minister Churchill.
To be productive every day, fine tune your morning routine around you. Then, make your routine known, so everyone you work with can respect your time to produce and your time to unwind.