Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recipe for Early Morning Productivity

An important part of my morning routine.
I require more sleep than the average person. I can do about two days in a row of less than 6 hours, and I am a hot, cranky mess the next two days. I try to hide this from people who don't know me too well ... but unfortunately boyfriend has been on the receiving end of the crankiness a lot.

I am fully aware of the problem and have tried counseling. No such luck.

I'd much rather go to bed at early and get up at 5am (or earlier), than stay up until 1am trying to finish something. It's just not my style. [This is also a public apology to my college roommates for my crazy study habits ... I promise I tried to be quiet when I was showering at 4:30am ...]

Here's my basic recipe for a "good" morning routine:
Get up immediately (snoozing makes me feel lethargic all day), take a shower, put on a little bit of make-up (I like the feeling of being put together), make the bed and pick up the bedroom, make coffee, look at my to-do list and come up with a game plan for the day. This last step also takes some prioritizing skills, like weighing deadlines and estimating how much time each project will take. 

This article from Entrepreneur.com really rang true to me - The Power of Mornings: Why Successful Entrepreneurs Get Up Early.

Author Lisa Evans states, "Tapping into the power of mornings, a time of day when there are less demands, might be the key to increasing your productivity."

Here's why, according to Evans - 

You are less likely to get distracted in the morning.
You have more willpower during the day.
Mornings give you the opportunity to set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Evans also shares four tips for using your mornings better -

1. Keep a time journal to see where your inefficiencies are. (Mine: laying in bed catching up on social media. As a social media manager, it is my job to monitor the happenings all day.)

2. Imagine your perfect morning. Every morning I always "dream up" my ultimate day and all the productive things I will do. Now, my day doesn't always go to plan and that was a hard less on to learn. But it's good to have goals, right?

3. Plan your morning. Come up with a game plan for the day ... priorities, people.

4. Build the habit slowly. The part about making the bed and de-cluttering the bedroom is a fairly new development in my life. Because I work from home, I see the bedroom on my way to the bathroom. If it's a mess, I usually can't focus until it's presentable. I have issues...

But, some days ... my mornings start like this. I once asked boyfriend if he wanted me to put "noodles in a box" aka lasagna to take for lunch. My words were just not working ...
In addition to this planning part of my routine, I also highly recommend good tunes (I like to live stream The Red Dirt Rebel on my computer) and relaxing smells (the Leaves candle from Bath & Body Works is a good one).

Sometimes I get discouraged if my day doesn't go as planned. So, one thing I've been working on is acceptance. Some things are unavoidable and schedules can be rearranged.

I'm interested to hear others' take on early mornings. I know routine is good, but sometimes being flexible is better. How do you adjust if something doesn't work out the way you had it in your head?

Until next time,
Robin

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