By Katie Faulkner
Organization is key to a less stressful existence, which in turn leads to increased productivity and happiness. And the cycle usually continues along this positive trajectory. What do the experts proclaim as most helpful in keeping organized? Your morning routine! And rightfully so, because it sets the tone for success (or lack thereof) every single day. Check out these steps and tips for seizing the day, every day.
Steps to Getting Organized
Determine Your Goals
The first step to organizing your morning routine is to decide what your goals are. Are they personal? Professional? Both? If you want your morning to be more about getting a jump on the day’s work, then plan tasks that can be completed at home and will benefit the rest of your day. Or even if you’re just hoping to use the time to get focused, work out, have a healthy breakfast, or spend some quality time with your spouse, it’s still helpful to list everything you’d like to accomplish prior to leaving the house.
Give Yourself Time
Now that you know what you want to do, consider these new morning tasks and assign each item an amount of time. Work backwards to a reasonable time to wake up. Set your alarm and allow yourself a grace period. Training your body to get up earlier than it’s used to can take some time. Eventually, you’ll naturally hit the sack a little earlier and even learn some tasks you can complete in the evenings that will help your mornings flow more smoothly.
Follow a Schedule
Once you know when to schedule your wake-up call, go ahead and put your activities in the most conducive order. Obviously, you don’t want to shower before your workout, and there’s no point in meditating once it’s time to get the kids ready. Put your tasks in order and follow the same schedule every day. This makes it easier to follow, look forward to, and get the most out of each step.
Tips to Increase Productivity
Make the Most of Your Evenings
Go ahead and organize your to-do list, pack your bag and your lunch, and plan your breakfast and outfit the night before. If you plan to work out, lay out those clothes and shoes. You’re much more likely to make it through your morning checklist if all the mundane maintenance tasks are done.
Get Active & Hydrate
Setting aside just 10 or 15 minutes in the morning to move around, stretch, or get your heart rate up a little can increase blood flow, happy hormones, and shed some morning mental fog. Also, make sure to get that first eight-ounce glass of water in the tank. Your body has been asleep for (hopefully) about eight hours, and it’s thirsty! Giving your body the kick-start it craves can increase productivity.
When possible, avoid making decisions first thing in the morning. These tend to drain your mental energy rather than to help you feel more alert. Instead, save the decisions for later in the day.
Eat Your Frog
This phrase, based off a Mark Twain quote, just means you should tackle your least desirable task first thing. It may be huge and important or simply unpleasant to deal with. But if you go ahead and get it off your plate, everything else on your list will pale in comparison. You’ll also feel a sense of relief and accomplishment, sending your day in a positive direction. That’s much better than letting the dread and looming fear of this “frog” interrupt your productivity all day long.
Take it week by week and add in tasks slowly. By organizing your morning, you’re sure to get the most out of this valuable time and subsequently your whole day! HS