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January 31, 2018

Waking up is easy. We do it every day, there is no effort needed. Getting up, on the other hand, and specifically getting up on time can be a trying task for a lot of us. The mornings can be a whirlwind. Shower, coffee, choke down a half-frozen Eggo and you are out the door.

How you choose to start your morning can have a lasting impact through the rest of the day. From the food you eat to the music you listen to, getting out of bed and getting on with the day should be something you enjoy. Here are five ways you can make sure you start your day off right.

Ignore the Inbox and Make a List

Break the habit of checking your email before you have even wiped the dust from your eyes. The morning is your time to get your mind right and ready for the day ahead. A great majority of the time, even the most important emails in your inbox can wait until you get to the office.

Rather than typing out important replies when you are still half asleep – try this instead. Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of things you want to accomplish today. Don’t type it into your phone or on your laptop. Get out the pen and paper and make it official. The list could be one thing; it could be three to five things. These items should be specific to the day ahead. Not life goals or dreams and aspirations. These should be serviceable, attainable tasks you can accomplish that day.

By taking the time to focus on a specific task for the day ahead, you will be able to better prioritize your time and efforts. Then, review the list at the end of the day to see what tasks you were able to complete, and start the next day all over again.

Turn On Your Most Inspiring Playlist

Is there anything more inspiring than music?

There’s a reason why nearly every action/sports movie ever has a great montage set to music. Take a hint from these movies and make every morning your own montage. It doesn’t matter what you prefer to listen to, only that it helps you start your day the way you want. Maybe it’s Beyoncé or Jack White, or maybe it’s the newest This American Life podcast. You needn’t rely on yourself to awake and inspire, you can leave that to the pros. While you are ironing, getting your lunch together and planning the day ahead, let the music guide and inspire you.

You want to listen to something that will get your blood pumping and your brain humming. For me, I like to listen to music similar to the music that helps me get through a challenging workout. I challenge you to play “Eye of the Tiger” or “Everyday we Hustlin” while you are getting ready for the day and not get pumped up.  What you listen to can be a great way to make your own montage every morning, set your playlist and get in the zone. Make yourself the star of your own movie and get motivated to cease the day. Here’s a playlist we put together that we enjoy on the regular.

We call it the Hustle Playlist (expected eh?)

Bust a Move By Staying Active

Before you caffeinate, try clearing the pre-dawn cobwebs with a workout. You don’t have to bust out your chin up bar, drive to the gym or put P90X into the DVD player. Save money on a personal trainer, all you need is a quick 10-15 minutes of cardio or yoga will get your blood moving and get the wheels turning. Kick out some push-ups, jumping jacks or body weight squats and get a little sweat working. By getting your work out in early, you will set your mind for the rest of the day.

A brisk morning walk has the same effect. In fact, Stanford researchers have found that going for a walk can increase creative output by upwards of 60%.See? There’s real science behind this, and it’s too good to ignore. Yes, the workout will require getting up earlier, but the benefits are worth it. Not only will it have the creativity-boosting effects, you will also feel a lot better and more alert at work. Much better than a donut and latte combination that will have you wanting to crawl back to bed or nodding off in a meeting.

Combine the work out with some music and you will come out of the gates at full speed ready to take on whatever comes your way.

Temper Your Road Rage

You managed to get a quick workout in. You are feeling great, everything is going well, until you get stuck in a traffic jam on your morning commute. You can plan your morning out perfectly and even still, a wrench can get thrown in. Traffic can be stressful and frustrating. You need to cast those negative thoughts aside.

The key is to plan ahead, expect the jam and act accordingly. Firstly, you must get your mind right. There is nothing you can do about it. Secondly, what can you do to be proactive? Cursing and honking won’t help anyone that will only exacerbate the problem.

Use your Bluetooth or hands-free option on your phone to start making some calls. Refer to the list you wrote out this morning. Is there anything you can do right now at the moment to cross one of those items off? With technology nowadays, most of what you need is in your car or in your pocket. The only thing the traffic did is make your office mobile. Take the traffic jam and make it work for you. By the time you hit the office, you’ll be ahead of schedule. If anyone honks at you, just let it go. Maybe they’re already behind.

Find What Works – And Keep It Consistent

As the saying goes, there are different strokes for different folks. Some people like a cup of coffee in the morning, some like three or four, others want to kick the caffeine habit and we really don’t have time for those kinds of people. You can take inspiration from some of the great minds out there, but you don’t have to follow it to a T. Just because someone you idolize had a six-egg omelet every morning or ran ten miles before dawn, it doesn’t mean the same will work for you.

Your routine should be tailored to you specifically since that’s who will be running through it every morning. It should be simple, easy to do every day and most importantly, fun. The ultimate way to start your day off on the right foot is to do something you enjoy. With that to look forward to, there’s never any need to hit the snooze button. Unless you just absolutely need those five extra minutes of sleep.

A routine doesn’t necessarily mean a rut. If something isn’t working or isn’t fun anymore, change it up. Enjoyment and productivity need to be consistent.

You can even start your day off right the day before. By ensuring you get to sleep on time and not passing out in front of the TV, you are one step closer to being bright and alert first thing in the morning.

You have the ability to determine what kind of day you are going to have as soon as you wake up. It seems that good habits can be easy to break, but are hard to build, whereas bad habits seem easy to build and hard to break. By building the good habits, you can simultaneously break the bad habits like sleeping in or hitting the drive-thru for breakfast. Starting the day off on the right foot will have continuous benefits throughout the whole day.

What do you usually do to start your day? Do you start it with a pen & paper? Do you start by getting to inbox zero? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!

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