What do Benjamin Franklin and Anna Wintour have in common? No, it’s not their personal style. They’re both (or for Ben, was) early risers.
Productive people know that mornings are a great time for getting things done. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, notes morning is the perfect time to be creative, to exercise and perhaps most importantly, to have some time to oneself before the rest of the world wakes up. Science shows that willpower is greatest in the morning. So take advantage of it and do the things that require self-discipline, like going to the gym or doing your taxes, early in the day.
How we spend our mornings sets the tone for the rest of the day. A calm and productive morning is very different from a frantic one.
What can you do to make your mornings more productive and less hectic?
1. Planning is priceless. Prepare the night before. Watch the weather. Choose your outfit. Keep your keys, cellphone, etc., always in the same place, preferably by the door.
2. Use a Jawbone instead of an alarm clock to wake you up. It gently vibrates on your wrist rather than violently jarring you awake.
3. Make your bed. The physical movement is good for you. Think of it as stretching. Plus, it’s so much better to come home to a tidy bedroom.
4. Exercise. Just 20 minutes of a moderate activity will boost your mood and give you energy all day long.
5. Make priorities simple and easy. If you want to run in the morning, place your sneakers with your iPod and running clothes by your bed. If you want to spend more quality time with your kids, turn the television off and put down the newspaper.
6. Be Mindful. Brush your teeth with your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa. It reminds you to pay attention and be in the moment.
7. Spend a few minutes outside taking in the fresh air and daylight. Natural light and environments are important for well-being.
8. Eat well. Some fruit, some oatmeal. Something. And skip the juice or the smoothie. Is it that much trouble to chew something?
9. Grace Period. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments so you can arrive with grace and dignity.
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy and wise.” — Benjamin Franklin