8 Things You Can Do This Morning to Be More Productive

by Carrie Smith 5 Minutes

StreamlineWe all have the same amount of hours in the day, but we’re becoming increasingly busy. As technology advances, so do our responsibilities.

Most successful entrepreneurs and business owners talk about achieving work-life balance, but very few attain this ever-elusive goal.

So how can you maximize each day’s tasks without feeling overwhelmed and overworked? Here are seven things to do each morning to get the most out of your work day.

1. Make a List the Night Before and Review it

Put a notebook and pen beside your bed so you can dump all of your ideas for the next day onto it. This will ensure you don’t forget anything while keeping your mind clear of racing thoughts during sleep.

In the morning, review this list and add any other tasks that need to be done. You want to start your day with a game plan so you can be as efficient as possible.

Parkinson’s law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Essentially this means, that if you give your projects an all-day window to be completed, they will take all day. However, if you give yourself two hours, they’ll be finished in two hours.

2. Drink a Full Glass of Water

Your mind and body are groggy when you first wake up, so in order to jumpstart your energy try drinking a full glass of water (16 ounces is recommended). This will fire up your metabolism, hydrate your body and flush out toxins, all of which make your brain more alert.

Our brains are 75% water, so if you’re not hydrated your brain won’t function properly. You’ll become sluggish and fatigued, which is not conducive to being productive early in the morning.

3. Focus on Individual Tasks (stop multitasking)

Don’t be fooled! The benefits of multitasking are a myth. Some research has shown that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. Switching from one task to another (which is all you’re doing) can slow your progress and hinder you from really getting into a good workflow.

The next time you find yourself trying to multitask, I dare you to stop, assess the various things you can accomplish, and tackle them one at a time. You might be surprised at how much more productive you can be.

4. Exercise for Seven Minutes

Can seven minutes of exercise really make a difference? According to the 7 Minute Workout App, yes, it can! In just seven minutes you will have worked all the major muscle groups and it’s a short enough time-frame to not interrupt your morning ritual much.

7-minute-workout-app

I mean, if you don’t have time for seven minutes of quick exercise then you should seriously consider how you manage your time. Just download the app from iTunes, or use their website, to hit the timer and start working out. The kind of workout and how many reps will be displayed immediately after hitting the START button.

Working out first thing in the morning will make you more alert and have energy that lasts throughout the day. So don’t skimp on this tip if you want to get more work done.

5. Fuel Up with Breakfast

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it may have some benefits you don’t know about. Along with jumpstarting your metabolism, making you feel more energized and happy, it’s been tested to improve your concentration and performance at work.

Eating a healthy breakfast each morning will give you better physical coordination, problem-solving skills and put you in a better mood. All of these things will come in handy when you’re handling client calls or working on big projects.

6. Create a Hit List of Three Tasks

Remember that list you made last night? Pull your top 3 things that need to be done, and will make your day a success if you complete them by day’s end. Then make them your number one priority. If you get nothing else done all day, you’ll feel accomplished when you check these 3 things off the list.

While you may not consider this an epic win, the forward momentum will keep you motivated and feeling positive about your productivity — even on days when you feel like you haven’t made any progress.

7. Take a Power Break

Whether it’s a power nap or a power coffee break, block out 10-20 minutes of time to recharge. Get away from the computer, put down your phone, and re-evaluate how the day is going. Did you get off track, or distracted? Do you need to change course and put out some fires?

Use this time to find out if you’re behind schedule and how you got here in the first place. Some of the benefits of taking a power nap or break, include:

  • A system reset
  • Increased motor skills and concentration
  • More alert and focused
  • Higher level of creativity
  • Boost of energy

Don’t sucuumb to the mid-afternoon crash of feeling tired and unmotivated. A morning (or after lunch) power nap will allow you to regain a productive work rhythm that you can maintain all day.

8. Listen to the Right Music

One of my secret productivity weapons is the Focus@Will music library. This music service is backed by science to help you focus more, reduce distractions, and retain more information while you’re working, studying or reading.

A fun feature they offer is a timer that dings when time is up. But there’s no pause button, so you’re forced to complete the task before the timer goes off, or else risk being distracted and starting over.

focus@will

Each piece of music in their library is specifically chosen to influence how your brain works, and focuses on musicality, intensity, arrangement, speed, recording style and more, to determine the correct balance you need for optimum productivity.

And the best part is it’s free! I started using their service over a year ago and I liked it so much that I’ve upgraded to their premium version.

How to Maximize Your Productivity in the Morning

If you’re tired of being behind on your work and not accomplishing as much as you’d like, use these eight steps to start your morning off right.

You’ll feel more energized, positive and have time to focus on more important things besides just working all the time.

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by Carrie Smith
Carrie Smith is a financial artist and founder of The Client Connection, a matchmaking service for clients and freelancers who want to avoid job boards and instead build quality businesses. In 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job and now works as a full-time business consultant and writer. Find her on Twitter (@carefulcents).