What is your morning routine? Are you able to get more done before 8 a.m. than most people are in an entire work day? Or do you struggle to roll out of bed, let alone do anything productive before you drag yourself into work with two-shots-of-espresso coffee in your hand?
The key to a more productive morning routine might lay hidden in the morning rituals of one of the most productive people you know by name.
Loosely following successful public speaker and writer Brain Tracy’s morning routine, here are the steps you can take daily to train your body and mind to have the most productive days possible.
Get up two hours before you have to be somewhere
Hitting that snooze button doesn’t do you any good, especially in terms of productivity. Neither does rolling out of bed less than 30 minutes before you need to be somewhere. Rushing will make you anxious and unable to think clearly. Forcing yourself out of a sleeping state and trying to be productive only makes you more tired and unable to focus on tasks.
Giving yourself two hours to get from that groggy, unbearable state of just waking up to an energetic and alert state of being is the way to go. The article will continue on with ways you can use those two hours to your productive advantage, but the point is, get up and give yourself time to get ready. You don’t know until you experience firsthand how much of a difference those two hours at the start of your day will make.
Spend the first 30 minutes of your day exercising
Don’t just get up and wander aimlessly around your apartment: get moving! Tracy exercises almost immediately after waking up, which gives him the physical energy he needs to keep pushing through the remaining 90 minutes of his morning. There is also a hidden benefit to exercising when you are not yet fully awake: you probably won’t even be fully coherent for the first 15 minutes, which will make your workout go by a whole lot faster.
Early morning exercise can increase your productivity by stimulating your mental and physical energy almost immediately after you wake up. This way, even before you’ve had your morning coffee or shower or whatever helps you wake up before work, you can start feeling energized and ready to take on the day.
Ready your mind
Tracy reads to stimulate his mind, which is a great way to start the morning and keep your brain healthy. It doesn’t really matter what you read: it could be a novel, something spiritual or even the newspaper (refraining from staring at a screen early in the morning is probably best, if possible). Make that time to both wake up and stimulate your brain, so you aren’t still struggling to think clearly by the time you get to the office.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just reading, of course. If you really can’t convince yourself to read so early in the day, trying something else that can help stimulate your brain, such as meditation or journaling. What is most important is that you do what you can to force yourself to start thinking. Mentally preparing for the day before you have to be somewhere will help you jump into your workload much more quickly.
Prepare your body
Now that you have gotten yourself out of bed and have worked out both your body and your mind, it’s time to follow through with the other physical preparations you need to make in order to be ready to move to the first appointment of your day. You can’t show up to a meeting in sweaty workout clothes, suffering from an empty stomach and an unnecessary lack of caffeine, after all.
Spend the rest of the second half hour of the day on getting physically ready to head out and be productive. This includes things like showering, getting dressed, having coffee and eating breakfast. Your body needs to be taken care of, whether that’s through fuel or, let’s be honest, a little bit of quick pampering. If you feel physically good and prepared to conquer the day, you will have a much easier time doing so.
Be ready to get to work
Perhaps you are someone who really struggles with all this. You are constantly snoozing your alarm and waiting until you absolutely cannot stay in bed any longer to get up and get ready to go. You are always on time, but barely, because you can just never seem to be able to get out the door fast enough in the morning. The more time you give yourself in the morning to spend getting ready, the more relaxed you will feel, and the more you will be able to get to where you need to be as early as possible.
Tracy recommends that, each morning, you are ready to head out at least an hour before you are scheduled to be somewhere. This gives you plenty of time to plan out your schedule, triple check that you have everything you need and breathe easy before you walk out the door. It also gives you plenty of time to get to where you are going, especially if you are someone who does not like to be late, even though you often struggle with leaving at the last minute to get somewhere.
You can watch Tracy discuss his morning routine in more detail by watching this video.
You are going to have those mornings when you just do not want to get up and get your day started. Give yourself two hours to prepare, though, and you will notice a world of difference in the productivity of your mornings as well as your full days. Exercise, stimulating your mind and giving yourself time to get ready are all essential and effective methods for making your mornings more productive. Take Brain Tracy’s advice and make the most of each of your mornings, no matter what it takes.