We all have good days and bad days when it comes to productivity—even the most organized and motivated people have off days. While it’s, of course, okay to have an off day once in a while, it’s extremely important for freelancers (read: people who don’t get paid time off) to set up a work environment and schedule that allows them to do their best work.
One thing that has made a huge impact on my productivity and overall mood is having a morning routine. Although I often struggle to remove myself from the warmth and comfort of my bed in the morning (don’t we all?), I also accomplish a lot more on the days I fight the urge to hit snooze.
My current morning routine consists of the following tasks (plus teeth brushing and other personal care stuff) and begins at about 7:30 a.m.:
- Make my bed (which, along with looking nice, makes me less likely to crawl back into it)
- Open the blinds in each room (the natural light really elevates my mood)
- Be grateful (I think of three things that I’m grateful for in my life and write them down on a piece of paper)
- Meditate (for about ten to fifteen minutes or so; more on that in another post!)
- Drink one liter of lemon water (I aim for three per day) followed by my favorite protein coffee drink (thanks, Kara!)
- Quickly recheck my calendar, read my e-mail, and, if I’m being really good, update my social media pages (I have some room for growth there).
All this takes me only about thirty minutes but really kick-starts my day. You could also add/substitute a short workout, depending on how much time you have. Many people, especially "busy" people or those who work late, choose to work out in the morning to get it out of the way. I normally take a midday walk or a yoga class in the evening. The important thing is to do what works for you and be consistent!
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.
Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start out by making your bed.*
When you accomplish a few small tasks in the morning, you are setting the tone for a productive day. Getting up just a bit earlier to enjoy your morning routine (yes, enjoy!) will help you get organized and ensure that you are starting the morning off on the right foot. Have fun with it, and be sure to try out different things until you see and feel a difference.
Do you have a morning routine? Let us know in the comments section below!
* Quote from Naval Admiral William H. McRaven's commencement speech at University of Texas–Austin, May 2014.