While I’ve gradually befriended mornings, I am a night owl at heart. Or maybe at brain… Regardless of where my inner owl lies, I’ve recently flown the coop to begin experimenting the world of early bird-ing. I’ve found that I am infinitely more productive when I work in an empty house. So, to create good work and keep my sanity, I must loosely adapt to my partner’s 9 to 5 schedule.
Even though I enjoy my slow-and-steady morning routine, I’m a sucker for the snooze button. But why is it so easy to feel guilt-ridden when a few more minutes are required before starting the day? Does the early bird really get the worm?
I’m willing to bet you don’t normally think of the snooze button as a way to be productive, but it’s time to change that. You’ve been using it wrong.
Here’s the key: when you hit snooze, don’t go back to sleep. And don’t even think about pulling the old “I’m resting my eyes” excuse. We both know that, by some evil magic, those elusive 9 minutes inevitably float away as soon as you close your eyes.
Instead, with your eyes open, use your snooze as a productivity tool to slowly and mindfully ease into your day.
Set up your productive day in 9 minutes:
Take a few deep breaths. This will make your mind become more alert and also gives you something to focus on while you struggle to keep your eyes open.
Stretch. Small movements continue to wake up both your body and mind. Try to tense and relax different muscles as you move up or down your body. Then finish with a full body stretch.
Sit up now and drink a cold glass of water. This will boost your metabolism and is sure to widen your eyes! A cold glass of water is one of the simplest, healthiest things you can add to your morning routine.
Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I need to do today?” Oftentimes, when we often ask ourselves what we need to do, we’re overwhelmed by a wide variety of tasks – whether large projects or small errands. So place the first things first: focus on what’s most important.
Begin to mentally prepare yourself for the most important thing you’ll do today. Are you giving a presentation at work? Do you have an important meeting to attend? Do you have a theme or focus for certain days? (If you’re still disoriented from sleep, be sure to check what day of the week it is.)
If you don’t have a daily theme, think of one or two keywords to provide focus to your day. If you’re giving a presentation: communication. Important meeting? Engagement. Writing a blog post? Creativity, conversation, hilarity. I suggest keeping a pen and paper nearby for your morning brainstorm session (as writing them in my phone tends to invite distraction).
Minutes 6 – 7:
Plan specific ways to center your day on your keyword(s). For example, my theme for Tuesdays is Writing. Unfortunately, brilliance doesn’t pour out of me as soon as I sit down to write, so I plan first. On Tuesday morning, I know I have to gear my mind to be creative and introspective. So, on that specific day, I incorporate silence, meditation, and journaling into my morning routine.
Plan your route. Before breakfast, I will sit and meditate in silence for five minutes (and not think about breakfast). After meditating, I will make breakfast and eat at the table with only a pen and paper. After breakfast, I will journal for 5 minutes about something unrelated to work. After journaling, then I turn on my computer.
Time to get out of bed and put your plan into action. Carpe diem! This short wake-up routine will help you establish a mindful action plan and path toward your top priority task or goal for the day.
For those of you who use your phone as your alarm, here is a background to use when you wake up in the morning. Just save the photo and make it your wallpaper on your device. (If you don’t use your phone, feel free to simply write down the steps and keep them beside your bed.)
With each step in front of you, you can create your supercharged morning routine in no time! (Well… in 9 minutes.) So there you have it. You snooze… you win!
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