Start Your Day on Productive Footing

This morning when the alarm went off, what did you do first? Did you reach over, eyes still squeezed tightly shut, and grope for the snooze button? Did you reach groggily for your phone and scan your email to see what awaited you? Did you hop out of the bed, your to-do list running through your mind and overwhelm creeping up your spine as you mustered the energy to start the coffee pot?

How you greet the morning can set the tone for your day. A few simple tweaks to your usual morning routine can bolster your mood and boost your productivity. The real key to making it all work, however, is to implement what best suits your style and needs. Experiment with the following tips and then use the ones that yield the best results.

Wake Up Early

You’ll have no problem finding articles offer a list of highly successful people who get up before sunrise, along with an explanation as to why it’s part of their routine. If you can kick your day off that early, go for it! If not, that’s okay, too. This isn’t so much about when you get up; it’s about how much time you give yourself in the morning. Take an extra half-hour (or more) to greet the day with something you enjoy. Linger over your coffee cup, read a book, go for a walk, or do yoga. Starting the day off with something that creates peace and contentment sends you out into the world ready to conquer it.

Wake Up Gently

Don’t use the snooze button to gift yourself a few moments more of shut eye; but do use it. Those extra 5-10 minutes is your time to ease yourself into wakefulness. Stretch. Meditate. Take in the world slowly. While you’re at it, skip the jarring buzzing alarm clock and select a more soothing tone. Select music that’s upbeat and happy or soothing and calming in place of the standard, nagging buzz.

Don’t Touch Email Just Yet

Are you really going to answer that ‘urgent’ email before your feet hit the floor? Are you going to put out fires while still in your PJs, half-propped up against your favorite pillow?  My guess is the answer is “no.” What you are going to do is worry and fret. Leave the email be until you’re ready to give it your full attention, and you’re equipped with the resources you may need to respond to it.

Eat Breakfast

A 2012 study published in Population Health Management found that employees with an unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to experience productivity loss than their healthy-eating counterparts. Other researchers have found that students who ate breakfast each day scored higher on math tests than their breakfast-skipping cohorts. Note: Your cup of joe doesn’t qualify as a healthy breakfast on its own, by the way.

Be Thankful

Living your life in abundant gratitude can boost your self-esteem, optimism, productivity, focus and ability to make decisions. It can also lower your stress levels. Start your day by writing in (and reading) a gratitude journal. Focus on the positive things in your life. Don’t forget to highlight the lessons learned and progress gained from your challenges, too!

Get Focused

You are now peaceful, well fed and loaded with gratitude. It’s time to get focused and kick off the day with gusto. If you didn’t make yourself a to-do list before you left the office yesterday (you should have, by the way) take a moment to do so now. Make note of priority projects. Then, as you settle into your work day, select a productive, yet easy task that you can knock out of the park right off the bat. That feeling of accomplishment that comes with checking something important (yet manageable) from your list will give you a confidence boost and spark your productivity into full gear.