As an entrepreneur, you understand the importance of productivity. That is why increasing productivity should be a goal of any entrepreneur. Although there are many ways entrepreneurs can increase productivity, one of the easiest ways is to start as soon as you wake up.
Your morning habits dictate how your day is going to be. Highly successful people know the secrets to morning rituals and habits. There are morning habits and rituals that can directly improve your productivity greatly. Studies have proven that your willpower is the most prevalent it will be all day in the morning before you become exhausted. When you adopt morning habits that you stick to, you’ll begin to see dramatic results. As Nir Eyal, a habit-changing expert and author says, “I’ve learned through personal experimentation that sticking to a morning routine improves the work I do and the life I live.”
Whether you are looking to get out of a productivity slump or just looking to boost your output, starting the morning off right can help.
1. Wake Up Earlier Than Usual
There are countless benefits to waking up early and one of them is increasing productivity in many ways. While it may be hard at first, you’ll begin to jump out of bed every morning with the excitement of how much it’s benefiting you. Research has revealed that early risers become more optimistic. They anticipate problems and solve them more efficiently, a gift everyone needs in the business world.
Within the early hours, the world is your oyster and you can pick and choose what helps you make the best of every day. Pencil in things that make you feel good. If you’re in a good mood, it will help attribute to your productivity.
2. Do Something You Enjoy
Claiming the early hours of the day allow you to do some of the things you really enjoy. They are habits that boost your energy because you’re enjoying life and giving yourself essential “me” time. Commit to doing something that makes you want to bounce out of bed in the morning. Spend time with your family or someone you love. Spend time alone. Read the paper, and have your morning coffee outside.
3. Get Yourself Motivated for the Day
Getting yourself motivated for the day is really integral to your productivity. It can actually be fun and inspiring too with little effort. Many of the top CEOs and successful entrepreneurs spend 30 minutes listening to inspirational videos or looking through empowering quotes. You can also skim some of your favorite productivity books to get a boost of motivation.
You’ll be looking at your computer screen, changing the world with a huge grin on your face with your “I’m going to rule the world” attitude. It’s recommended you re-charge your motivation vibe every few hours throughout the day. You need to take breaks to increase productivity anyway.
4. Write Down Anything
There are several unexpected benefits of writing things down in the morning. Along with improving your memory and helping you clarify your goals, writing things down also helps you process your emotions. This can be the emotions you feel about your work, business, or staff. The regulation of these emotions and the clarity of focus that is created can be immensely beneficial for any entrepreneur.
We are all different so what you decide to write is your own choice. It may be strange to write at first if you haven’t made it a habit. You can start by writing out your goals, what you ate for dinner last night, what the weather is like, or what you’re grateful for. It doesn’t actually matter what you write but that you do write.
When you take a pen to paper, you invoke your creativity as well as keep your mind sharp. Psychologists believe that when you write by hand, those thoughts have a longer-lasting effect on your memory. Studies also show that when you handwrite, you activate the motor cortex of the brain which doesn’t occur when you type.
Do a little bit of writing before you start your day to warm up the inner mechanisms of your mind. There have been a number of studies which show that as children develop, those who hand-write have better memory retention,” Seifer says.
5. Map Out Your Day
Take time daily to map out the direction of your day. Time management is the grandfather of productivity and while it may take some initial time and effort, if you make time management a daily habit, your productivity will soar. Review your tasks for the day and make sure you take time for breaks. If you use productivity apps, review those to make sure they are in place to help you take on the day.
- Create a schedule– Break your day into specific time slots and assign specific tasks or activities to each slot. This will help you stay organized and on track throughout the day.
- Use a to-do list-Make a list of the tasks and activities you need to complete for the day, and check them off as you go. This can help you stay focused and motivated.
- Use a calendar– Use a physical or digital calendar to schedule appointments, meetings, and deadlines. This will help you keep track of important events and make sure you don’t double-book yourself.
- Set reminders– Use your phone or computer to set reminders for important tasks or events. This will help you stay on top of things and make sure you don’t forget anything important.
- Prioritize your tasks– Identify the most important tasks on your to-do list and make sure to tackle those first. This is a powerful time matrix that many of the most successful leaders utilize. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you’re making progress on the most important things.
6. Do the Hardest “Thing” Before Breakfast
Do the most difficult work task for the day first. No sense in having a dark cloud looming over your head all day and feeling defeated because you still have to nail that one thing that is posing a challenge. Do the hardest task while your mind is still sharp, preferably before breakfast.
You’ll have a sense of relief when the heavy burden of that difficult task is done early in the day. You will also have expanded your mind making other projects for the day easier to tackle. Accomplishments before breakfast are an excellent way of “feeling” productive.
7. Get Moving
There is plenty of evidence to prove that exercise has insanely good effects on how your brain functions. Sweating it out can improve your ability to learn and remember things and it prevents a loss of cognitive function as you get older. The synergy between what you eat and how you work out can be important to your brain at a cellular level.
Exercise helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, which can improve the quality of your sleep and make it easier to wake up in the morning. Also, exercising in the morning can give you a boost of energy and help to clear your mind. This is important for many entrepreneurs because it can make it easier to focus and be productive throughout the day. Additionally, it can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
8. Sit and Think for a Minute or So
Don’t think of meditation as incense sticks and sitting in the lotus pose. It’s suggested that you calm your mind in order to get back your energy. You can sit outside with a cup of coffee or just take a brief walk in nature. The mission is to give your mind a break by sitting in the moment, it’s a stop and smell the roses exercise if you will. Meditation has been used for centuries as a way of centering a person.
You get rid of all your thoughts and let your mind take a break. The lowdown is that meditation increases your melatonin which your body may be lacking due to stress. If you’re stressed, your productivity is likely less than it should be.
You’re recharging your brain and body as though you just woke up from sleep. Meditation at a cellular level is as beneficial as sleep. It heals the body by boosting growth hormones and reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. Your brain also gets a blast of stimulation in the same way as it would if you were sleeping.
Starting the day with a productive mindset can have a significant impact on one’s overall productivity and the success of your business. By implementing these simple techniques, you can optimize your morning hours and boost your productivity. Remember that it may take some time to get used to your new morning routine. Test and tweak the parts that work well for you and the other parts that do not. Each day will bring a new challenge but you will be more than ready to take them on!
This article was first published in November 2016 but has been updated and expanded