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10 Tips for a Productive Morning Routine

August 11, 2022

8 min read

Highly successful people are known for having intricate productive morning routines. From Naomi Osaka to Jeff Bezos, the most successful people on earth maintain good morning habits.

A productive morning routine can help you optimize your day for success. How you start your morning impacts your productivity throughout the day. But developing healthy morning habits are easier said than done. 

Are you exhausted from the quality of sleep or feeling overloaded with work? Maybe your current morning routine is scrolling through social media and then hurrying to your laptop in your pajamas. 

If this is your case, don’t despair. Let’s look at ten tips to help you figure out how to improve work performance with a morning routine that boosts productivity.

1. Strive for a good night’s sleep

A productive morning routine starts the night before. A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that sleep massively impacts productivity. Compared to those who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, those getting 5 to 6 experience a 19% productivity loss. People sleeping less than 5 hours report a 29% productivity loss compared to those getting enough sleep. 

If you’re a night owl, don’t worry. You do not need to be an early bird to increase your productivity. You need to respect your sleep pattern. If you are not productive at 8 am and need to sleep in later, you can still have a productive morning. 

Try moving your work schedule by starting work at 10 or 11 am to just make sure you are getting 7 hours of sleep. Alternatively, you could put less creative or challenging work in your morning task list and move to more challenging tasks as the day progresses.

However, you might find that becoming an early bird could improve your overall quality of life and productivity. The 5AM Club’s bestselling author Robin Sharma told Forbes about the five ways business leaders wake up early. If waking up early is one of your goals, let’s look at some tips directly from the horse’s mouth. 

Productive Morning Routine List: How to Wake Up Earlier 

  • Make it a habit. Sharma argues that you must make waking up early a habit and then “allow neuroplasticity to work its magic”.
  • Community. Taking on this challenge with others is helpful, particularly someone living with you. Think of it as having an accountability partner.
  • Log victories. Keep a visual log where you check off your daily goal of waking up early. One day it will become natural to check it off as it becomes part of your routine.
  • Failure is natural. Do not beat yourself up for failing on a particular day. Instead, pick up where you finished the next day.
  • Old-school clock. Carry an old-school analog clock and set it ahead to trick your brain into thinking it’s a different time. By putting it an hour forward, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn it’s earlier in the day.

2. Take your time in the morning

Have you heard of the miracle morning? Developed by Hal Elrod, this method has helped many successful business owners maximize productivity. The method includes six steps called S.A.V.E.R.S: silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing (writing). 

But waking up at 5 am and taking on these six challenges might not fit your lifestyle. Maybe you are a single parent working from home and don’t have the time. Still, the main takeaway of the miracle morning is taking time to yourself before the work day starts. 

Go for a walk or read a book, but do not start your day immediately with work. Whether you conquer a challenge or meditate to find some peace, it will make productivity and staying organized at work a much easier task. 

3. Implement mindfulness in your morning routines

Forbes reports that just 10 minutes of daily mindfulness practice can improve one’s productivity.  

Mindfulness entails focusing on the present. Being mindful is having acceptance, curiosity, and openness toward thoughts and feelings rather than judgment. You can implement this in practice through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises or positive affirmations.

Implementing mindfulness is key to a productive morning routine as it fights what psychologists call negativity bias. Negativity bias refers to how as humans, people focus on things of a more negative nature rather than positives. Even if there are two possible outcomes of equal intensity: a positive and a negative, we focus on the negative. 

Mindfulness is helpful in a work environment where possible outcomes could entail the success or failure of a project or task. Recondition negative default thinking into a more positive one with breathing, meditation and positive affirmation practices. With a positive attitude, you are likely to be more productive. 

It is true that mindfulness has become a buzzword in recent years. If you have ventured out into the world of meditation, you will find that it can be challenging at first. While traditional meditation increases productivity, it’s not the only way to practice mindfulness. 

Morning Mindfulness Practices

Here are some mindfulness practices to add to your morning routine list:

  • Mindful shower: While taking a shower, focus on the smell of your body wash or the warmth of the water. Take deep breaths and imagine the water washing away your stress. 
  • Mindful walk: Take a 10-minute walk where you focus on your feet touching the ground as you take each step. Pay attention to the noises around you. 
  • Mindful affirmations: Stand in front of the mirror and say positive affirmations, such as “I am productive” and “I am calm.” You can write these down on paper and place them on your mirror. Read them every morning while you brush your teeth. 
  • Any activity: You can make any activity a part of mindful practice. From coloring to washing the dishes and making breakfast, focus your full attention on these activities. Whenever your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to the present moment. 

4. Fuel is key in a productive morning routine

An essential part of a healthy morning routine is a balanced breakfast. A study with 20,000 American employees found that those with an unhealthy diet were more likely to experience a loss in productivity. 

What breakfast should you be eating to increase productivity? Certified health coach Isadora Baum told Bustle that a breakfast “filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals can boost productivity.” Here are some ingredients to include in your breakfast to sharpen the brain:

  • Cottage cheese 
  • Berries
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Salmon
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds

Also, never forget to drink water in the morning. Even mild dehydration can cause tiredness due to insufficient electrolytes and fluid, leading to unproductiveness. 

Productive morning routine breakfast

5. Set yourself up for a productive morning by preparing the day before

Preparation is vital if you’re wondering how to have a productive morning. Create a task list the day before; your future self will thank you. It’s known that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do. 

Maybe pick tasks from a weekly to do list template, or check your backlog for urgent work that still needs to be completed or upcoming deadlines. 

Psychologist Dr. David Cohen told the Guardian that to-do lists help increase productivity. A structured to-do list offers a plan you can stick to and provides proof of complete achievements. Is there anything more satisfying than ticking a task out of your to-do list? 

Starting the day with a set of tasks organized will also decrease your anxiety about getting work done. 

productive morning routine to do list

6. Get more out of mornings with fewer meetings

What if we told you reducing work meetings increases productivity? An MIT study found that by eliminating meetings, companies increased productivity by up to 73%. Worker stress fell by 57%. 

To foster a productive morning routine, try to reduce meetings before lunch. We recommend having fewer meetings altogether. Many just lead to wasted time which employees could have spent on more critical tasks.

If you decide a meeting is necessary, take a look at our set of best practices for virtual meetings. 

7. Work asynchronously by default, synchronous when really needed

Asynchronous work is more relevant than ever in a remote environment. This way of work allows employees to organize their tasks in alignment with their schedules. Communication does not have to be immediate, reducing the pressure of a fast-paced environment. 

This practice allows employees to focus on the task at hand without the constant interruptions of the traditional synchronous methodology. You are not regularly distracted by co-workers with questions and meetings.

By reducing the noise around you, you feel no pressure to address these immediately and can focus on your tasks. This work methodology fosters flexibility where employees do not have to follow rigid schedules and set office hours. Asynchronous work thus allows you to work when you feel most productive. 

Are you a night owl who gets the most work done at night? You might be looking at how to create a morning routine, but maybe you need to sleep late. Asynchronous work permits this. 

productive morning routine with tasks

8. Reattach to work

As work life and home life become blurred, we strive to detach from work at the end of the day. The moment the clock hits 5 o’clock, you’re supposed to forget all about work. Only when you start the first task of the day are you allowed to “reattach.” 

What if we told you that a UC Berkeley study found that completely detaching from work worsens productivity? People who have mentally prepared and thought about the upcoming workday are more productive. By “reattaching” to work, they can start their day more aligned with their goals. 

This doesn’t mean you are more productive if you obsess about projects and send emails after work, that just nurtures a toxic work culture. Instead, you are more energized to focus by taking the time to reattach to work before the day starts.

Take 5 minutes before you start your tasks to “reattach” to work. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Why does this work matter to me? Why is it meaningful?
  • What will I focus on today?
  • What will I accomplish today?

9. Set realistic goals

We’re bombarded with morning routines consisting of perfectly foamed matcha lattes, HIIT workouts, and 40-minute meditations on social media. Your healthy morning routine does not need to look a certain way to be effective. It will never feel like a productive morning routine if you set unrealistic goals. 

Did you know that most New Year’s resolutions fail because we set unattainable goals? While goal-setting is essential for self-motivation, failing to complete unattainable ones can lead to self-criticism and negative thinking. 

Therefore, the most important thing is that your morning routine is realistic. Only then you will stick to it and make it a habit. 

10. Don’t be too hard on yourself

So you woke up feeling drained, and your brain can’t seem to focus. Unlike what society tells us, this is not a failure on your part. You won’t have a highly productive morning every single day. This is part of being human. 

While productivity is important in the workplace, it is not an indicator of your self-worth. If you become too caught up in this negative thinking, your mental well-being is bound to suffer. This is where your productivity could take a hit in the long term. 

Do yourself a favor and tweak your schedule to match your productivity levels. Maybe take on more straightforward tasks in the morning and address the challenging ones later in the day. Burning yourself out won’t help improve productivity in an organization.

Reducing the noise with Rock

While building healthy morning habits comes down to you, Rock can facilitate your morning productivity in a remote setting. As an all-in-one tool that promotes an asynchronous way of working, Rock allows you to focus on the essential tasks. No more distractions such as unnecessary messages, calls, and meetings. 

Organizing your tasks beforehand helps you have a productive morning. To make your task management time-efficient, use the Set Aside feature on Rock. It keeps tasks, messages, and other objects that you need to work on at hand by putting these in a to-do list panel. It maintains your to-do list organized and allows you to prioritize the most urgent tasks. If you get a message from a co-worker which you want to come back to later, you can slide it to the list. 

As such a task-focused tool, Rock makes messaging and communication more intentional. Team members can easily manage their work without having to set an unnecessary morning meeting. The Tasks mini-app allows you to replace unnecessary meetings with tasks. You can also adopt all-in-one communication strategies through built-in messaging. 

With audio messages, files, and notes accessible to all, you can nurture a productive environment. These features allow teams to work without depending on others too much. Employees can communicate through updates without needing a direct response straight away. This leaves more space for deep work and enhances productivity.

productive morning routines with rock messaging tasks

Productive remote mornings

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many found building a solid morning routine critical to their overall well-being and productivity. A lot of us had to adapt our morning routines instead of sticking to old traditions. 

Whether you biked to work or grabbed coffee with colleagues, remote work required a shift in our morning habits. Implementing these tips can be useful if you want to make sure you’re achieving company goals and objectives set for you.

However, despite its challenges, remote work gives employees the flexibility to focus on their morning routine rather than having to commute to work. With the right remote work tools, such as Rock, your morning routine is even more efficient remotely.

A productive morning routine is the cornerstone of a successful day. It allows us to invest in ourselves by taking time to unwind before a busy day. With an energized and clear mind, you are more likely to maximize the quality of your work.

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