A commonly shared trait of successful people is their AM routines. These go far beyond the advice your mother gave you, “don’t skip breakfast.” But really, don’t skip breakfast. Instead of hitting the snooze button, try incorporating one (or a few) of these activities to fuel your day and wake up your mind before you walk into the office.
1. Get moving
Whether it’s a run, yoga class or simple stretching, exercise will get your blood flowing and put you in a better mood throughout the day. The endorphins from exercise will give you the boost and confidence to take on daily challenges. Instead of logging into your email right away, try taking a walk to clear your mind. Before your first cup of coffee, do a few shoulder and hip opening stretches to destress. It can be 10 minutes or an hour, whatever you need to get on track. You also won’t have that evening workout session hanging over your head all day if you get it out of the way early.
2. Make the Bed (and Organize Your Home)
Leaving your home in a rush means you’ll come home in the evening to an unorganized space, which could cause unneeded stress throughout the day. Simple thoughts like dishes piled up in the sink or an overflowing laundry basket can have you feeling unorganized in other parts of your life. Start by making the bed daily, and straightening up your space before you start your commute, so when you return home, you don’t have to face several more piles of work.
3. Try a Power Shake
For those non-breakfast fans, whip up something quick that you can sip during your commute. Incorporate some walnuts or flax seeds for brain healthy Omega-3’s, antioxidant rich fruits such as blueberries, potassium filled foods like kale, avocados and bananas, and protein-packed yogurt or nut butter. There are unlimited resources on Pinterest and blogs such as Nutrition Stripped, so you won’t get bored with your breakfast. These will have you feeling energized throughout the morning as opposed to a muffin or donut that will have you crashing by 10 AM.
4. Read or Do a Brain Puzzle
Tuning into non-work related material can help stretch other muscles of your brain and also give you knowledge and talking points that can be useful in client meetings and lunches. Read the news or a magazine with your morning coffee. Dive into the book you put off every night because you’re too tired. Even working on a crossword puzzle or brain teaser will help wake up your brain and improve your focus, creating long-term benefits.
Several noteworthy people claim meditation is the key to their success, such as Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Russell Simmons. You can start small, at a few minutes per day and even use phone apps like Headspace to give you a boost. Meditation flexes your brain muscles, increasing productivity, mental health, and happiness and decreasing pain, anxiety and stress. Getting started is the hard part, but if you let go of the stereotypical thoughts in your head about meditation and try it, it could change how you handle many matters in your life.
6. Meet Someone
You may be one of those “don’t talk to me before I’ve had my coffee” persons, but try spending your first hours of that day talking to people. Have coffee with your significant other, grab breakfast with an old friend, or just take the time to talk to people throughout your commute. Communicating with people outside of work is a great way to gain perspective on your day-to-day challenges and to learn about theirs. You can bounce ideas off of someone trustworthy before bringing them to the boardroom. Also, learning to listen is a great skill to build -- inside and outside of business.
7. Get Creative
Waking up early could benefit you in a lot of ways, especially if you have a side project. You’ll likely put these off throughout the day and may be too exhausted to come back to them in the evening. Block off time before the daily grind to spend some time on that painting, poem, or piece you’ve been wanting to create. Have a few small home projects been sitting on the back burner? Morning is the time to check those off your list. If you’re learning photography, the morning light is the perfect moment to get outside and snap away. Using your creative juices outside of your 9-5 will help you become well-rounded and feel fulfilled.
Just a week or so of incorporating a new routine into your schedule will create healthy, productive habits, so give these a try. In no time, you won’t even think twice about performing these daily tasks.