Doing something useful when you feel least like doing anything almost guarantees a productive day.
5 min read
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What do successful people do differently? For one thing, they typically wake up very early. Long before they hit the office, they’ve been up and active, performing tasks that will set them up for success throughout the day.
By waking up early, you can get an edge on the day ahead. You’ll clear your mind and schedule so that you can focus on your work, which can help you reach your goals faster. Curious about how to make the most of your morning? Here are 6 things successful people do before 9 am, and how you can incorporate them into your routine.
1. Get physical
You’ve probably heard the phrase “healthy body, healthy mind.” It’s important to take care of yourself physically. For most people, early on in the day is the best time to exercise, before the responsibilities of the day kick in. Whether it’s a brisk walk with your dog, an early run or a bike ride, get your body moving. Not only will it make you feel good, but studies have shown that exercise can improve brain function, so it might even make you smarter at work.
2. Eat something
If you’re a busy person, chances are that eating a healthy breakfast is the last thing on your mind. But in terms of the day’s productivity, skipping breakfast can be a huge mistake. If you don’t eat something, chances are you’ll be hitting a vending machine or gorging on donuts at 10:30 am. How productive will you be, and how clearly will you be thinking at work, after that? If you want to be thinking and working at your best, make time to eat a balanced meal in the morning.
3. Take care of the necessary stuff.
Picking up the dry cleaning. Walking the dog. Packing school lunches. Everyone has things that they have to do. To get a leg up on the day, get these things out of the way early. When you wake up early, you have time to attend to these quotidian tasks that can take up valuable mind space during the workday. If you get them out of the way, then you can focus solely on work, and your day will be far more effective. It’s a small change that can have a massive impact on your career.
4. Cross off the most annoying to-do list item.
Everyone procrastinates on one thing or another. Start the day right and get at least one of those hard to tackle tasks off of your to-do list. In the morning, you’re at your most energized and refreshed, and best prepared to take on a difficult task or project. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter it makes you feel for the rest of the day. Not only will you have the sense of accomplishment at having completed that task, but it won’t be looming ahead and causing stress all day.
5. Learn something
To truly be successful in the long run, you must make a lifelong commitment to learning. There is never a point at which you’ve learned “enough”. Learning keeps the mind elastic and allows you to remain nimble in your work. This is important, as the landscape of every business will change over time.
Every day, make a point of spending some early AM time learning something. This might be by reading the newspaper, learning a new skill, or it might be by listening to podcasts relevant to your work. It might be a self-imposed study routine on a certain sector of your business. There are many ways to continue educating yourself. You never know what might give you your next great idea.
6. Make a plan.
The best time to map out your day is in the early morning, before the distractions of the day set in. This is a time to consider your goals for the day and how to prioritize tasks to realize them.
Be realistic in mapping out your day: don’t set a mile-long to-do list that you’ll never be able to complete, or schedule yourself in such a way that you’ll be running from thing to thing and getting stressed out. Leave some room for breaks. Consider this plan like a road map, as if you’re on a cross-country trip. You have the freedom to veer off course if needed, but the structure of a general plan will help keep your journey on the right path.