Some of the most successful people in the world start their day before 4 a.m., including Apple CEO Tim Cook, who wakes at 3:45! Running a multi-billion dollar enterprise is an all-consuming endeavor. However, choosing to wake before dawn is not an attempt to create more working hours. Successful people wake early to begin their morning rituals.
According to Harvard University, we all have a natural limit for daily productivity. Our bodies produce a limited amount of energy that can be dedicated to self-control. Self-control is the most necessary element for maintaining focus throughout the day. A morning ritual can maximize our daily productivity by positively influencing our mood, energy level, and ability to stay focused.
How you spend your first critical waking hours will set the tone for your day. Incorporating healthy morning rituals into your routine will nurture a productive environment, allowing you to achieve your goals faster and with precision.
5 Morning Rituals to Add to Your Routine
1. Rise early.
There are a number of proven benefits to waking early. First, you will make an effort to go to bed earlier and get adequate sleep. This means you will spend less time zoned-out in front of a screen before bed. There are fewer distractions in the predawn hours. Your home and your phone will be silent. You will have time to set your priorities for the day, exercise, meditate, journal, spend quality time with your family, or enjoy breakfast. All positive habits that promote productivity and are worth waking for.
Exercising for just 10 minutes every morning will make you more productive throughout the day. Going on a brief morning walk will release GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and provides you with self-control. As an added benefit, the endorphins your body releases give you a mood boost. Exercising also provides you with more energy throughout the day. All of these benefits are guaranteed to make you more productive.
3. Avoid your inbox.
Email: we can’t live with it and we can’t live without it. Avoid the temptation to check your inbox first thing in the morning at all costs. Turn your phone off or put your device in “airplane mode.” Email is a wonderful tool for communication, but the instant we glance at our inbox we are sucked in to the priorities of others. This is why it is important to determine your own set of tasks for the day before responding to external requests.
4. Set goals and intentions.
Experts suggest creating a task list that consists of three items, such as project milestones or other daily professional goals. Under each of the three items, jot down smaller tasks that you need to complete in order to achieve your goal. In addition to the three goals, set one daily intention for personal growth. This intention can be as simple as “hit the gym” or “spend quality time with the kids.” Success is linked to personal growth. Sometimes we need a concrete reminder to focus on our accomplishments outside of the office.
5. Reset after lunch.
Study after study proves that productivity in the workplace declines after lunch. In addition to making nourishing food choices, take a moment to reset after your meal. Turn off your computer screen, clean off your desktop, and take a moment to pause. This is an ideal time to dedicate 5 minutes to your meditation practice. After you reset your mind, reset your day by reflecting on the remaining items on your task list. Take a moment to re-prioritize if necessary and tackle your afternoon with purpose.
For more tips on healthy habits for the new year, visit AVS Mindfulness at avsmindfulness.com and learn about the upcoming release of our mindfulness meditation app.