Your health habits in the morning can make or break your workday

Think of each dawn as a rebirth. Every day, people get a fresh chance to start anew. And making the right choices during the earliest hours of each day determines how productive the rest of the day becomes.

Creating healthy morning habits helps people live their best lives. Yet many fail to take advantage of the power of starting the day on a positive note. Here’s how to make like the early bird and get that worm by making the most of each workday morning.

Make a List

The old saying about failing to plan meaning planning to fail holds true when it comes to our AM hours. The most important thing to do at the start of each work day involves prioritizing what tasks take precedence.

Begin by brainstorming a list of all the things you hope to accomplish this day. Then, rank your to-do list items rating those items that absolutely must get accomplished this particular day at the top with the least time-sensitive items at the bottom of the list. Then, begin tackling tasks from the top down.

Making a list of priorities mentally focuses brainpower on the most critical tasks. In addition, the human brain works most productively after a period of rest, making the first hours after waking particularly powerful. And tackling the toughest task first thing frees up the rest of the day to work on more pleasant, or at least less intense, activities.

Fuel the Machine

Eating a good breakfast fuels our bodies for the day ahead. Research indicates that those who regularly skip breakfast run a higher risk of developing obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease. Those who skip their morning meal eat more later in the day to make up for the lack, leading to weight gain.

Ideally, aim to eat within the first hour after awakening. Strive to consume about 300 – 500 calories, or about a quarter of daily total intake. Select high protein foods such as eggs which keep you fuller longer and add a whole grain boost such as a piece of lightly buttered multigrain toast for an added fiber bonus as well.

Streamline Your Prep Practice

Those who find themselves fretting over what to wear do well to switch to a more Einstein-inspired wardrobe. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying a duplicate outfit for each day of the week, but building a wardrobe around a few base pieces in neutral colors and saving playfulness for accent pieces such as scarves or jewelry.

Ideally, pulling your outfit for the next day together the night before saves valuable morning minutes. Alternately, when doing Sunday laundry, select five outfits for the upcoming work week.

Do Deep Work

Today’s flexible workplace rules make getting started early on important tasks possible. Instead of getting up and sipping coffee while surfing social media during the morning, create a distraction-free space free from interruption and dedicate the first 90 minutes of each day tackling the most important to-do on your list.

Why start so early? The human brain works best when well-rested and never is it more refreshed than in the early hours after waking. While the occasional Monday morning meeting may inevitably occur, whenever possible, attempt to schedule client meetings and team meetings in the afternoons when productivity typically drops due to fatigue and interacting with others boosts energy levels.

Work It Out

As Henry Rollins once said, “I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts.” Medical science supports this theory, as those who exercise regularly enjoy greater productivity levels than more sedentary individuals.

Why? One reason exercise boosts productivity stems from the release of endorphins which act as natural mood boosters. In addition, fit individuals possess larger blood oxygen stores which means more oxygen nourishing brain cells.

Turn All the Way Off

Finally, the most productive individuals know that constant connection leads to burnout. While technology now allows people to work more remotely than ever before, getting work-related alerts on our cell phones and computer at all hours can lead to a sense of constantly being on the clock.

Take at least five minutes at the end of each workday to reflect on accomplishments. Then, commit to putting work-related thoughts aside and focusing on home and family. When work-related thoughts threaten to intrude on personal time, remember that leisure time boosts creativity and matters as much as time on the clock.

Up and at ‘Em!

Starting the day in a productive way establishes a healthy work pattern that allows for greater creativity and productivity. By maximizing one’s morning, the rest of the day which follows should involve nothing but the smoothest sailing!

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