Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Some people are most productive in the early morning hours and others find their creative groove late at night — which is TOTALLY fine! Everyone is different and you do not have to think of yourself as an early bird to get up, get going, and set your intentions for the day.
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Whether you consider yourself a morning person or not, establishing a regular routine is a great way to increase your productivity for the entire rest of the day.
Imagine you have to be to class or work at 9:00 a.m., so you set your alarm for 8:45 a.m. with plans of literally jumping out of bed, running out the door, and taking your seat in lecture or clocking in at 8:59 a.m. on the dot.
But you realize - you forgot your purse. Your shirt is on inside out. And you’re supposed to do a presentation today - but you’re feeling a little out of it because you ran out the door without a healthy breakfast (and no coffee).
So you feel frazzled, stressed, overwhelmed - has anyone ever been in this exact spot?
Believe it or not, this situation has the power to set the tone for the entire rest of your day. Because you began the day in a stressful situation, you may feel unmotivated to start any new projects, squeeze in a workout, or even finish that paper you’ve been putting off - even though you only have one page left to write.
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So, what’s my point? A morning routine that prepares you, refreshes you, and gets you excited to take on the day could solve ALL of these problems. Trust me!
How do you start a healthy morning routine, and what should be in it? Here are a few things you can start adding to your morning to boost your productivity. Even if you aren’t the biggest early bird, you can become one.
1. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
So technically, this habit starts BEFORE you begin your morning. But, you will be so surprised at just how big of a difference 30 extra minutes of sleep the night before will make in your energy levels the next day.
2. Lay out all of your clothes (especially gym clothes) the night before
Let's be honest, you are more likely to hit the gym at 6 a.m. when you don't have to dig through your closet in the dark trying to find matching gym clothes. Pull these out the night before and plan to get up and get going the next day.
3. Set your alarm 15 minutes EARLIER than you think you need to get up.
Just in case you feel the urge to hit snooze. But regardless, having those extra 15 minutes as padding in your morning will save you some stress if something ends up taking more time than you allotted for.
4. Get out of bed on the first alarm.
I know, I know. It may SOUND bad; but getting out of bed the first time your alarm goes off will not only give you that extra time to get things ready for the day, but you will feel more alert and energized if you wake up with intention.
5. Take a few deep breaths.
Breathe in, breathe out. Practicing mindfulness from the second you wake up in the morning will help you carry that state forward throughout the day.
6. Begin UNPLUGGED with a digital detox.
It can be so tempting to reach for your phone to hop on Instagram or check emails, but sometimes the overwhelm of notifications and a cluttered inbox can contribute to high stress levels (not the way you want to start your day). Take a few minutes to eat your breakfast, do a few stretches, etc. before plugging in.
7. Wake yourself up with a quick stretch.
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and brain, which means it causes an instant boost of energy in the morning. Try starting your day with a few yoga flows or simple stretches like a forward bend, triangle pose, child's pose, or back extension.
8. Soak up some natural light.
Get your dose of Vitamin D EARLY! Exposure to natural light has been shown to make us happier, calmer, and more productive. Open up those windows the second the sun comes up and soak it all in.
9. Think about the things you are grateful for.
"Be thankful for what you have while working for what you want," is one of my favorite quotes. Try starting your day by taking a moment to think about everything in your life you are grateful for; and see how your perspective changes for the rest of the day.
10. Have the FIRST THING you put in your body be a giant glass of water.
Starting your day with a HUGE glass of water (think around 16 oz.) is a great way to jump-start your metabolism and flush out toxins early in the day. Your body hasn't had any water for the time you were asleep, so chances are you could be slightly dehydrated.
11. Drink your coffee (or tea).
If you need a little extra boost of caffeine to get you up and going, now is the time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea (after you have had your glass of water). My favorite combo is dark roast coffee with a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
12. Eat a healthy breakfast.
There is a reason breakfast has been nick-named "the most important meal of the day." This study (CLICK HERE to read) detailing the science behind breakfast says that eating a nutritionally balanced meal in the morning hours can boost your metabolism and actually help you burn more calories throughout the ENTIRE DAY. Yes, please. CLICK HERE to check out some of my favorite healthy breakfast recipes.
13. Tell yourself you are a morning person.
The mind is a POWERFUL thing! Just by having the mindset that you are a morning person, you will be more likely to have a positive attitude about getting up and around in the early hours.
14. Review/write down your goals - for the day, week, and long term.
Remind yourself of the things you want to accomplish for that day, the week, and your over-arching long term goals. Then, establish 2-3 things you are going to do to take action towards achieving these goals. Check out the full goal setting and productivity checklist below if you are looking for a place to start.
CLICK HERE to read more about this full goal setting and productivity checklist sheet!
15. Ease yourself in to checking social media and emails.
Once you have gone through a relaxing routine and set your intentions for the day - THEN it's time to check your notifications. Ease yourself in to the digital world (after all, you have the whole rest of the day to be plugged in).
16. Think about what you are going to eat for the day.
Planning out where you will be and what you will have access to during meal times can help if you are trying to get better about meal prep or sticking to a specific diet. Sometimes just taking a second to think about what you will be eating that day can help you stay on track and be proactive about prepping healthy options.
17. Pack your meals/snacks.
Now it's time to actually PACK several healthy meal/snack options to take with you to last throughout the day. If you work an 8 hour work day or find yourself on a college campus from morning to night, it can be easy to reach for the nearest food option that may not always be the healthiest choice. By packing several healthy options with you, you will always have access to delicious and nutritious foods to fuel your body. Some of my favorite grab-and-go snacks are Quest Bars, mixed nuts, Justin's nut butters, Eat Fit Go meals, and homemade energy bites (like these Strawberry Cheesecake Bites).
18. Learn one new thing.
This is the perfect time to read a chapter in a book, research a topic you find interesting, open up your favorite news app, etc. and work on building your mind. Try to learn at least one new thing every day; whether it may be from reading, observing, or from other people.
19. Organize your room.
Keeping a clutter-free room can help you keep a clutter-free mind! Simply by organizing your desk and making sure things are neat and picked up, you can reduce your stress levels and increase your productivity at home.
20. Hit the gym.
Working out in the morning can do WONDERS for your mental clarity, physical fitness, and overall outlook on the rest of the day. Studies have shown that exercising in the morning can actually cause you to burn more fat, build muscle more efficiently, and consume less calories throughout the day. Try moving your afternoon workout to the morning hours and see how it affects your energy levels and productivity for the rest of the day - I promise you won't regret it.
21. Read a motivational quote.
One of my favorites: "If you think you can, or you think you can't... You're right." Start your day with a few words of positivity and carry this mindset with you as you take on new challenges and tasks. CLICK HERE for 15 motivational quotes to help you power through any obstacle.
22. Check your to-do list for the day and conquer one task at a time.
Time to get in the ZONE and get going! Take a look at the list of things you want to accomplish for the day and start conquering them one task at a time.
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What’s in YOUR morning routine? I want to hear from you! Head over to my latest Instagram post @samanthabowers_ and tell me what gets you up and going during the early hours of the day.
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