Why a morning routine might just be the productivity hack you’re looking for

A week hardly goes by that we don’t read about the world’s most successful people and the (sometimes outrageous) ‘non-negotiable’ morning routines they claim have been paramount in shaping their productivity, writes Renae Smith.

While each routine seems to be totally different, it’s interesting to note that they’ve all been designed to maximise the individual’s energy, productivity and creativity for approaching the day.

If battling the alarm clock for a few extra minutes in bed before rushing into the day is the way you prefer to do things, it’s interesting to note that not a single successful person interviewed has ever said they start their day this way, in fact, they all have a set time to wake up and a plan of what happens after they do.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, wakes up at 3.45am to get a head start on his emails, while Elon Musk gets out of bed at 7am to check emails before taking his kids to school.

On the flip side, Richard Branson starts with exercise at 5.45am, focusing on himself first, and work second.

Whatever works for your specific circumstances, having a regular morning routine is an essential step for success.


Understand your ‘why’


If you struggle to find the motivation to get started in the mornings, consider this: why do you wake up?

What is the reason that you get out of the bed and go to work each day? Is it to provide for your family? Is it to save up enough to get something you’ve always wanted? Is it to make a difference in someone’s life? Is it to do something that makes you feel happy?

In his book, Find Your Why, Simon Sinek notes: ‘Fulfilment is a right and not a privilege.

‘Every single one of us is entitled to feel fulfilled by the work we do, to wake up feeling inspired to go to work, to feel safe when we’re there and to return home with a sense that we contributed to something larger than ourselves.’

Understanding the core of why you do what you do will help you gain that little extra motivation when getting out of bed seems a little harder than usual.

Keep a note of your ‘why’ next to your bed and if you’re really struggling, take a moment to focus on it and find that little extra boost to get you going.


Personalise and prioritise


Once you understand why you do what you do, you need to prioritise tasks that are pushing you towards that success.

How your morning routine looks will depend on your personal circumstances and personality type. It all depends on what works best for you.

To stay focused, some highly successful people remove all non-essential decisions from their mornings. From eating the same thing for breakfast to wearing the same outfit to work each day, many find that the more automatic their morning is, the better.

Others find that immediately checking emails allows them to feel like they’re getting on top of things, whereas others say this leads them down a path of ‘aimless scrolling’.

One thing is for sure; there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to morning routines. But what is important, is that your daily routine starts with intentional activities that set you up with the best chance of success.


Don’t forget you


While activities that focus on your professional success are an important part of every morning, taking the time to focus on your own wellbeing is also important.

Like a lot of leading businesspeople, John Paul DeJoria, the cofounder of Patron tequila and Paul Mitchell hair products, notes that his non-negotiable morning routine includes five minutes of quiet reflection where he tries to “be truly present” and to be grateful for what he has, also known as mindfulness.

Although mindfulness has gained status of a bit of a buzzword lately, the word simply means having an awareness of ourselves and the world around us.

Thankfully, practicing mindfulness each morning can include something as simple as sitting quietly and enjoying a coffee, listing to a pre-recorded meditation on your phone or even walking your dog.

The small practice of being present, even for five minutes before we start the day, has been credited with improvements to mental wellbeing and reduction of stress and anxiety levels.

While a solid morning routine can take some time to master and will usually involve a little trial and error until you get it right, one thing is for sure: taking the time to create a non-negotiable morning routine is regularly credited as one of the best ways to start your day and to give you an outstanding professional and personal edge.

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