Master the Morning: 3 Tips to Jumpstart Productivity

Mornings are my weakness. There is nothing I would love more than to sleep in until 10 a.m. and lazily move into my day. Unfortunately, life with three young kids does not afford me that luxury, so I’ve had to learn to take control of my mornings and make them work in my favor. I may not fully be a “morning person” yet, but I can say I’ve mastered my morning routine to harness my productivity, and it makes me appreciate the early hours of the day a whole lot more.

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Making the most of your morning takes some adjusting and tweaking, but it’s well worth the effort. Along the way I’ve tried many different things, from drinking a glass of lemon water, to doing jumping jacks, to giving myself an hour of hitting the snooze button to trick myself into thinking I was getting up late (spoiler: it didn’t work at all. It just made me more tired). However, the following three tips have been essential for kicking that groggy feeling to the curb and getting my mornings off to an amazingly productive start. The best part? A strong start in the morning usually helps carry me into a super productive day. It’s a good choice snowball effect.

1. Get your workout on

Starting your morning with a workout gets your blood moving, pulls you out of that groggy post-wakeup phase, and leaves you mentally sharper for the rest of the day. If getting in a regular workout routine is hard for you because your schedule is always shifting, you’re tired after work, or happy hour is just really tempting, moving your workouts to first thing in the morning can help you stick to a routine. I never thought I’d be the kind of person who goes running at 5:45 a.m., but oddly enough, it works for me. I never have to cancel any 5:45 a.m. plans to make my run work.

Studies have also shown that doing an AM workout can impact your decision making for the rest of the day. Want to make choices that are good for you? Knock that workout off your to-do list first thing in the morning.

2. Take a warm shower

Once you’ve worked up a sweat, it’s time to hit the shower. Aside from feeling clean and ready to take on the day, the sensation of warm water falling on your head is scientifically proven to get your brain working. Since my work as a writer relies a lot on creativity and producing new ideas, getting those brain juices flowing is necessary if I want to have a productive workday. Usually my morning shower leads to a bevy of ideas, so I don’t spend the first half hour of my workday staring at a blank page.

3. Front load your day

Once you’ve done your morning workout and shower, your mind should be sharp and ready to get to work. If you’re the type of person who loves to make a to-do list for their day, now is the time. I like to do a “brain dump” first and just put anything and everything that comes into my head down on the page (and there is a lot to sift through). Once I’ve done that, I organize my to-do list and put the big priorities at the top, and start my morning with the hard stuff. Front loading your day helps you tackle big tasks instead of spending all day dreading them (and procrastinating). Plus the extra momentum of crossing out your most pressing to-dos will keep your productivity high.