Did you know the hours between waking up and eating lunch represent your best chance for getting stuff done? You might claim to be a night owl, but studies have shown that we’re at our most creative early in the morning. Of course, we all burn the midnight oil every now and then, but it’s really the a.m. hours where we bring our best and brightest ideas to the table.
If you’re the type of person who needs 3 cups of coffee just to assemble complete sentences, this could be a problem. Getting up and motivated in the morning isn’t easy, especially if you’re out of practice. Recently time management expert Laura Vanderkam published a short list of tips for making the most of your mornings. If you’d like to turn the pre-noon hours into super productive work time, these tactics could help get you on your way to building morning habits that stick.
1. Track Your Time
Vanderkam says the key to using your time more wisely is knowing how you’re spending it now. Write down what you’re doing as often as you can throughout the entire day. You may notice that you’re pushing certain things to the end of the day that would be better accomplished at the top of the list.
2. Picture the Perfect Morning
“After you know how you’re spending your time, ask yourself what a great morning would look like,” advises Vanderkam. Kicking off the morning with a few activities that enrich both personal and professional growth will set the tone for a positive, energized day. Go for a run, read that article you’ve been meaning to get to. Strategize, dream. Allow yourself to have big ideas while your mind is still fresh.
3. Think Through the Logistics
If you fill the morning hours with important activities you’ll crowd out things that are more time intensive than they need to be, writes Vanderkam. Think about mapping out a morning schedule that will give you time for personal and professional development. As for the mornings themselves, what would make your ritual easier? Do you need to set your easel next to your bed? Can you find a more cheerful alarm clock or one you can’t turn off so easily?
4. Build The Habit
According to Vanderkam, this is the most important step. She advises choosing one new habit at a time to introduce and using external treats and rewards to keep yourself motivated until the habits stick.
5. Tune Up as Necessary
Mornings are a gift. They come around once every 24 hours offering us a clean slate, a chance to do better than we did the day before. “The hopeful hours before most people eat breakfast are too precious to be blown on semiconscious activities,” writes Vanderkam. “You can do a lot with those hours. Whenever I’m tempted to say I don’t have time for something, I remind myself that if I wanted to get up early, I could. These hours are available to all of us if we choose to use them.”
What tactics help you get the most out of your mornings? Share them in a comment!
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