What does your morning routine look like? Quick shower, rush out the door and grab coffee and donuts on the way?
If so, you aren’t alone. You can tell by the lineup at your local coffee shop that this type of routine seems to be what your average business person does before tackling the day. But, do you want to be average? What if the things you’re doing in the morning are holding you back?
Let’s take a look at some common morning behaviors and how they might be influencing your day.
Hitting the Snooze Button
What’s five more minutes, right? Wrong. Most sleep experts say that snooze buttons are a bad idea. In reality, it’s not just the five or ten minutes you are messing with. You know how that extra ten minutes always feels like the best sleep you’ve had all night? It is because when you fall back asleep, you fall into a much deeper sleep, but at a sleep cycle averaging about 30-60 minutes. You don’t have time to come out of it naturally, and when the alarm goes off 10 minutes later, you wake up groggy instead of refreshed.
Instead of setting up unrealistic goals for waking up, consider adding that ten minutes onto your sleep schedule the night before by heading up to bed early. Another way to avoid the snooze button is to keep a sleep journal. Write down how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel groggy, refreshed, or still dead tired? This will help you pinpoint how much sleep you need and to better plan your sleep schedule.
Checking Your Phone First Thing
Are you in the bad habit of sleeping with your phone right there on the nightstand? Is the first thing you do when you open your eyes checking the latest news or the emails you’ve received during the night? Not the best idea. Even if you do not participate in social media sites—which you probably do—smartphones and email act as a rabbit hole preventing productivity. Why? Surely you need to be informed to be productive right?
The problem is that emails derail your morning by reminding you of everything you have yet to accomplish. Your tasks may now seem insurmountable—not exactly the mindset you should be in to start off your day. Consider leaving your phone in the kitchen. That way you can get to it only after more important parts of your routine are complete.
Skipping the Gym
I know, you have a lot on your plate, and maybe you figure you will have more time to accomplish your goals if you simply sit out the gym for one day. Unfortunately, that is not how humans operate. Exercise helps us remain focused on the task at hand, have more energy in all activities, and have a more positive attitude and outlook. This means exercising first thing in the morning actually leaves you more productive for the entire day.
That Coffee and Donuts Stop
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that because something can be done quickly, it leads you to being more productive. In fact, both the coffee and those donuts have their own way of sabotaging your day.
First, the coffee. Do you drink a cup of coffee while you get ready and organized in the morning? Before you head out the door? Well, scientists have some news for you. Early in the morning is actually the worst time to drink coffee. Turns out, your body naturally produces more cortisol in the morning. When you drink coffee, you are interfering with that production of cortisol—meaning that you produce less of it throughout the day. This can leave you sluggish, tired, and unproductive. Experts say you should wait until after 9:30am to drink that first cup.
Now, onto the donuts. I am not a nutritionist, but I don’t think I need to be to tell you that donuts are not the healthiest choice for breakfast. You do get bonus points for actually consuming breakfast, since most Americans don’t. A healthy breakfast, one full of vitamins and protein, helps with concentration, energy levels, and overall productivity.
My suggestion? Change up a few of these morning activities and see how it affects your productivity for that day. Find what works for you, and jump ahead of the rest!Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.