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5 steps to set yourself up for success every day

A women lays in a bed. Her face is covered by a white blanket, both of her pale arms are in the air. Her right hand is giving a peace sign, her left hand is holding a white mug with coffee inside.

Some folks are born as “morning people”. The kind of people who naturally wake up before 8 am with a smile on their face and a skip in their step. I, however, am not one of those lucky people. I cherish those brief moments between snoozed alarms. If the sun doesn’t want to be up yet, I definitely do not want to be up yet. I can still do mornings, but it takes more effort for me to fake it.

Our society is designed for morning people. From 9-5’s being the status quo and the stigmatization of sleeping in, we have this built-in mindset that morning people get more done. I’m sure my fellow night owls have also heard the condescending “oh, you’re JUST waking up now?” from someone in our lives. Despite your accomplishments, it feels like it only counts between the hours of 6 am- 6 pm.

Studies show that morning people do have an overall elevated level of physical and mental well-being. We’ve all heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm”. In an effort to increase my well-being and the amount of time I can see the sun each day, I have adapted to the early-bird life of a 9-5 employee.

Through years of trial and error, I’ve figured out a few ways to make mornings work for me.

1. Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning

I know this can be incredibly hard to do. It’s almost routine to check your phone right away. You want to know what’s happening, what you might have missed, and what time it is. However, by checking your phone when you wake up, you are setting your mind into reactive mode. You are instantly responding to what has happened instead of focusing on what will happen. Here are a few solutions. You might need to set your phone on “do not disturb” for the first 20-60 minutes of your day. You may even have to get a physical alarm clock (so old school) to tell the time and wake you up effectively.

If you want to learn more about how checking your phone is affecting your mood, and how to overcome it, this course can help!

"A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don't do: when I wake up, I don't start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I'm awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day." - Arianna Huffington

2. Write down a to-do list

Instead of starting your day in reactive mode, go proactive and plan your “must do’s” of the day. What are the three things you can do today to make you feel more accomplished? Write them down and create a plan to accomplish them. That way, no matter what comes your way, you know your goals. When non-urgent tasks come up, you’ll be ready to prioritize accordingly.

3. Drink water

Sorry coffee lovers, this isn’t a personal attack. Hydration is incredibly important for your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s hard to feel productive when you wake up dehydrated. How much water should you drink in a day? Around 3 litres is recommended. Plus, water won’t give you the jitters as coffee does. Drink a full glass of water before having your morning coffee to keep yourself hydrated. Once you make an effort to drink

4. Take advantage of focus mode

I mentioned this above, I really take advantage of focus mode. Most smartphones have introduced focus mode to increase digital wellness and disconnecting. I have it set on a schedule to not send me notifications after 9 pm. If it is urgent, the sender can select to notify me anyways. I find this helps me to disconnect from my phone in the evening hours to help me get a good sleep. During the day, I have focus mode set during work hours. I allow notifications from colleagues and work-related apps and have the rest silenced. This simple change helps me set my mindset to working mode each morning.

5. Make a feel-good playlist

You know those songs. The ones that feel like sunshine the second they start. The pump-up songs you play to get yourself excited. The ones that remind you of the good times. According to Time, studies show that music can increase your mood, improve blood flow, lower your level of stress hormones, and ease pain. Put together a playlist of all your favourite songs to get yourself going in the right direction. You are the DJ of your own destiny, my friends. Put in your headphones and find that early morning energy.

Heather’s Pick: Wouldn’t It Be Nice by The Beach Boys

It’s important to start each day ready to succeed. Using these five steps, you can take your day into your own hands. Use these steps in your morning routine to help get the juices flowing. These tips work for me, but please feel free to adopt whichever techniques fit your needs. Remember, it is okay to have off days every now and then. Productivity comes in cycles, so don’t beat yourself up over a single sleepy morning.

What are your tips for a successful morning routine? Let us know in the comments!


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