No matter what we want to accomplish, or what our goals are, it goes without saying that the more work we put in the more success we will have. And the quote “the early bird gets the worm” reminds us that the earlier we start, the more effective we will be. This is why the quest to be efficient is often won or lost first thing in the morning. Yet this is also when people struggle the most – getting the day started.
What you can do increase your efficiency in the morning?
No matter what time your work schedule starts we all have to sleep and wake up. So here are six ways you can make the most out of your morning – an ultimately your entire day.
Go to sleep with a schedule in mind! If possible, try to have a schedule where going to sleep and waking up happen at the same times every day, creating a predictable routine. This way you teach your mind and body to shut down regularly every 24 hours. If that is not possible, know exactly the time you need to wake up before going to sleep. Avoid uncertainty and do not change your plan during the time allocated to sleep. If you need to, employ a commitment strategy that forces you to get out of bed — like putting your alarm clock across the room
Do not use the snooze button! One of the ways to waste efficiency is the use of the snooze button. “I will sleep only 10 more minutes” can translate into half hour or more. The worst part about the usage of the snooze button is the impact on your goal. Basically you are telling yourself it is OK to abandon your goal (to wake-up at a certain time) and out of convenience replace it with another goal (10 more minutes of sleep). More importantly, you are creating a pattern of abandoning your commitment to your goal, and yourself. By waking up at the first moment the alarm goes on, you are staying on track, and you are reaching part of your goal.
Stand up as soon as the alarm goes on! Do not linger in bed at all once the alarm wakes you. The more you stay in bed, even seconds, the more you will give time to your mind to find excuses to get up. By standing up immediately the mind will accept you are up, and will be ready to focus on the next task.
Start moving! By focusing on the next tasks the mind and body have to wake up. Pick one or two easy tasks such as using the restroom, brushing your teeth then follow with one a bit more complex such as making the bed, folding laundry, empting the dishwasher, dusting room furniture, preparing the clothes you will wear for the day.
Create Exercise Routine! No matter what your lifestyle is everyone can benefit from exercise. It can be something as simple as several minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, going out for a run, or going to the gym. The exercise will not only get the blood and muscles moving, but will increase endorphin production on your brain giving you a state of well being. And perhaps most importantly, exercise is the physical act of efficiency – doing something meaningful with emphasis on time.
Postpone Reward! Most people eat breakfast or at least have a favorite drink in the morning such as orange juice, coffee, or tea. Postpone having your morning “treat” until after you have finished the exercise, or some other productive activity. Even more, make a commitment to only having your “treat” if you complete your exercise. Using this strategy, you will feel better about consuming the morning calories, and will be an extra motivation to exercise.
Admiral William McRaven, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, seconded the importance of starting the day with efficiency in the commencement address delivered to the 2014 University of Texas graduates. McRaven stated, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
By teaching your mind to stay on course with accomplishing small tasks towards a larger goal, you will not only be more successful at reaching that goal, but it will help you with any other goals.
It all begins with the habits we create – we either create a pattern of efficiency in the morning, or we create a pattern of avoidance, regret, and frustration.
Texas Exes. (2014, May 19). University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70