Earlier this week I wrote about the importance of momentum in work. How taking action early in the day it makes you more productive later in the day.
It’s not a new idea–people have been talking about the benefits of morning routines for ages–but it is easy to forget in our day to day lives. It is easy to stop thinking about how important our small decisions are each day, and develop habits like checking social media first thing in the morning.
Taking control of your morning is the best way to ensure that you consistently produce and feel good during the day.
Over the past three years I’ve experimented with a ton of different morning activities, but here are three quick time investments that consistently set me up for productive days.
Meditating in the morning creates a feeling of space between you and your day. If you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate, it can feel like the day is on top of you when you wake up in the morning. As a result, it is easy to get lost in emails or non-urgent tasks that come up and draw your attention away from your most important work.
Taking 5, 10, or 15 minutes to sit and meditate makes the day feel immediately more manageable. It allows you some space to approach it, instead of feeling the pressure right away.
If you work at a computer there is a good chance you have tension on your back and body. It might be in your upper back, maybe in your neck, or maybe in your legs. But you likely feel tense and uncomfortable during parts of the day. This tension is a distraction and an influence on our emotional experience of the day. Taking a few minutes to stretch in the morning is not only physically relaxing, it is mentally relaxing as well. It helps you work with ease throughout the entire day, and feel less stressed during moments of intensity later on.
Stretching is also a great use of small break time during the day. In physical labor, taking breaks to sit down an relax make sense. But when you work at a desk the opposite is true. Instead of using your break to physically relax, you should use it to be physically active. This will get you out of your head and into a more relaxed and productive state of mind.
Momentum is key to having consistently productive days. I have not found a better way to consistently and reliably build productive momentum for my days than writing a blog post. Some days I have urgent morning tasks that prevent me from writing until the evening, but I’ve found that increase in productivity in my first few hours of the day quickly balance out the time needed to blog. Even when I’ve got lots to do, taking 15 or 20 minutes to write out an idea, gets me on a roll and ready to cross items off of my to-do list.