Some days a slow start is okay, like a Sunday morning spent snuggling with your SO and a good book. But on a weekday, when you actually want to get things done, or a day you’re supposed to go out on adventures, it can hurt your productivity badly.
The key to solving this is to have a routine that you do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Sounds exhausting, right? It doesn’t have to be! The secret is to make it so natural that you don’t even think about it -- it’s not a choice, it’s just what you do. It needs to be like riding a bike; your body knows how to do it, even if your brain has checked out and is still dreaming about having mojitos on a warm and sunny beach. (Please excuse me while I spend half an hour researching travel deals -- that sounds awesome.)
Since I'm an introvert (find out if you are one too here!), it's really important that I make sure I have the time to prepare for the day. I generally need an hour to do the things that are the most important for me (like having 10-15 minutes to read or watch a TV-show while eating breakfast) to be prepared and recharged to tackle work.
If you do have the time though (or more self-discipline than I do when I work mornings), here is how you lay the groundwork for a successful, adventurous day!
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1. Leave the bed when your alarm goes off. Don’t snooze, and don’t fall into the trap of checking Facebook or your email! It’s an endless hole that can suck you in for hours. Trust me, I have fallen in more times than I care to admit. Reddit, anyone?
2. Write in your gratitude journal. Starting your day by writing down what you are grateful for, and what would make today great, sets you up for success. By doing this every day you actually rewire your brain to feel, and expect, happiness. In my journal (I have The Five-Minute Journal, read my product review here!) I also write down a daily affirmation and reread my past ones to keep reinforcing these beliefs. Keep your journal on your nightstand, so you don’t have any excuses to not do it. If you don't want to buy one (cause, you know, money), I created a FREE gratitude journal template for you that covers the whole week!
3. Do some exercise. If you actually have time to go to the gym or out for a run before work, that’s awesome! It feels so good to have that achievement checked off so early on, not to talk about the endorphin high you can ride the rest of the day! If you only have so much time though, do a few sun salutations or a quick body-weight workout to get into a healthy mindset. I take my dogs for a walk down to the lake every morning, and it’s a great way to start the day for all of us. They get to exert some of that energy they always seem to have, and I get my much needed dose of nature.
4. Eat breakfast. I don’t know about you, but I get extremely hangry when my blood sugar gets low, and I am not a nice person to be around then. (Seriously. Stay away.) So, along with always having healthy snacks on hand (you never know what you might end up doing, or for how long), I make sure to have a kick-ass breakfast.
To make it easy when I don’t have time to lallygag (and just to make every morning as easy as possible), I always have the same: three fried eggs, two slices of bacon, and a pineapple banana smoothie with a handful of spinach thrown in. I have eaten this pretty much every morning for more than three years now, and I still look forward to it every morning. Which is the key! Find something healthy that you actually want to eat. This won't work if you try to force yourself to eat soggy plain oatmeal every day. Incorporate protein and fruits and berries!
(Update: I slightly tweaked my portion sizes, and lost 7 lbs! Read more about it here!)
Photo by Jannis Brandt
5. Clean up the kitchen. This is not the most fun one, but taking those five minutes to handwash your blender and wiping down the counter and stove is so important. No matter how tight my morning schedule is, I always make sure that at least the dishes are taken care of. Trying to clean off dried-in smoothie from a blender is near impossible and coming home after work to a dirty kitchen when you’re starving is a sure recipe to end up with takeout on the couch. (We usually eat on the couch anyway, but since it’s a home-cooked meal we can still pretend that we’re adults.)
6. Get dressed for the day. Put on real clothes, even if you are working from home. Just putting on jeans makes me feel more put together, and if I actually try to tame my hair into obedience, or even put on some mascara? I’m practically ready to meet the Queen. Seriously though, making yourself feel dressed up and pretty boosts your self-confidence and will have you taking on your workday like a boss.
Photo by Hust Wilson
So there you have it! Of course you need to find what works for you and your life, but this is what I have found to be the best for me. If you want to try to build these habits into your morning routine, I recommend starting with the gratitude journal. It doesn’t come with the dread of exercising or the work of cooking, but the benefits are huge. It will create a snowball effect and suddenly you will find yourself doing all these things naturally, just because they make you feel good!
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Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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