Are you a green smoothie and yoga before work kind of person? Or a chug a coffee, toothpaste down your shirt sort? While it might seem very ambitious to kick-start your work day earlier, it is the secret ingredient to success, according to the people behind My Morning Routine.
These guys conducted 286 interviews with the world’s most prosperous CEOs and entrepreneurs – from Arianna Huffington to former Navy SEAL Lieutenant Stew Smith – to find out how early they rise and whether they eat eggs or cereal for breakfast.
The insights are fascinating. These power players rise at 6.30am on average, after over seven hours of sleep (no all-nighters here). 78% exercise before work and 64% meditate or practise yoga in the early hours. Many keep their electronic devices outside their bedroom overnight, in order to catch a good-quality kip.
Good news is, some two minute tweaks to your existing routine can make a real difference, without an overly radical overhaul of your days.
“Everyone’s different. What works for one person might not work for you. If getting up at 5am suits your body, great. Maybe you prefer starting at 10am and that’s also great,” Hannah Urbanek from Think Productive, one of the world’s leading time management training providers, told HuffPost UK, when asked about kick-starting your day for success.
For many of us, work and traffic often dictate what time we get up each morning. However it’s good to know that sleeping in might not scupper all of our high-flying ambitions.
Aside from lack of coffee, what are the major barriers that stop most people from being their most productive? “The way we work has changed a lot over the past two decades and more people are feeling overwhelmed,” says Urbanek.
“The average worker will spend around 2.5 each day searching for information required within a mountain of data. 80% of time at work is spent communicating or collaborating – this doesn’t leave a huge amount of time for deep work. When you try to put your head down, you’re interrupted by a colleague, phone call or notifications chirping away.”
We all know that feeling, but could a solid morning routine be the answer to dealing with these daily stumbling blocks? Here’s Urbanek’s two-minute tips for being more productive in the morning.
Wake up earlier
“If you’re not a morning person but want to start waking up earlier, don’t jump from 7am to 5am within a day. Start waking up earlier gradually.” Even setting your alarm for a couple of minutes sooner each day will, inch-by-inch, transform how much extra time you gain.
Don’t start with emails
“Emails don’t have to be replied to straight away. Dedicate a time slot later in your working day to emptying that inbox, but avoid making this your first task when you wake up in the morning.” Two minutes snatched to breathe deeply, set an intention and stretch before you open up your inbox is a good shout.
Prepare the day before
“It might sound like something your mother would say, but make life easy and prepare as much as you can the evening before work. Pack your bag, write a ‘to do’ list for the next day, you could even prepare your breakfast and lunch.” Then everything you do the following morning will take just two minutes.
Sit down and plan out your day
Take two minutes to set it all out. “Be realistic with the tasks you set yourself and the time you have available. Don’t cram too much onto your ‘to do’ list if you know you won’t manage to complete it. It’ll just make you feel worse. Keep the list short and manageable.”
Big thing, first
Got a pesky task that you keep putting off? Get it done first thing in the morning. “Small, troublesome tasks can seem increasingly unmanageable the longer you leave them. Tick it off your list and you’ll spend the rest of the day feeling much more relaxed.”