Laura and Kate share 8 tips (plus a bonus) on how to set up a solid routine that helps you maximize your morning so you accomplish more the whole day – at work and at home.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain
About this lab
Ever notice how a rough morning makes the entire day a drag? We have too, and we’ve learned from trial and error how to maximize the morning so you start the day off well.
No matter if you’re a morning lark like Laura – who wakes up at 5:00 am! – a night owl like Kate who hates her alarm clock, or a hummingbird, you’ll learn tips to help you organize, feel less stressed, and have more energy and productivity throughout the day. As usual, in addition to sharing plenty of personal experiences, we’ll discuss the science behind our suggestions, too.
What type are you?
- Half of people are hummingbirds, ready for action at almost any time. They can easily rise a couple of hours early or sleep a couple of hours later. The remaining half is split between owls and larks.
- Night owls enjoy staying up past midnight.
- Morning larks like to be up by 6 am at the latest.
Tip #1: Prepare everything possible the night before
- If mornings are rushed, remove anything that takes time, wastes time, or distracts you by taking care of it the night before
- Shower in the evening
- Plan your outfit(s)
- Pack lunches, water bottles, supplements
- Clean and set coffee maker
- Do as many household chores as possible, e.g. emptying dishwasher, washing clothes, making a shopping list
Night owls like Kate may want to do some of these simpler tasks first thing in the morning when their brains aren’t too switched on!
Tip #2: Set a standing bedtime
- Calculate 7 to 8 hours from your morning alarm and get to bed on time. Adequate sleep improves cognition, stress levels and weight loss efforts according to many studies.
- Don’t let your sleep be dictated by TV.
- Have an evening routine to wind down: blackout shades, read in bed (but not on screens), set phone on airplane mode, use a sleep hood and blue light shields, Use a software like flux to change the color display on your devices according to the time of day.
Tip #3: Set an extra early morning alarm
- Allowing time to wake up gradually and linger in bed shifts your mindset—other wise you feel rushed immediately and begin the day stressed
- Listen to news, music, nature sounds, or check email to wake up gently
- Try alarm lights that work with your circadian rhythms or special lighting that creates a sunrise effect, like Philips Hue
- Learn how you sleep with an app like SleepBot, Sleep Cycle, Pillow, or FitBit
Tip #4: Leverage waking brain wave state
- Learn the brain states:
beta = conscious, awake, alert
alpha = relaxed, calm, not thinking
theta = deep relaxation, mental imagery
delta = deep dreamless sleep
- Theta state, between waking and deep sleep, is the perfect creative time to imagine solutions to problems and get inspiration
- Visualize the day while in theta state
- Set your #1 priority for the day — The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results book is helpful for this
- Have gratitude for something new each day
Tip #5: Hydrate earlier rather than later
- Drink a large glass of fluids (non-caffeinated) after you wake up and before your coffee
- Keep your body from confusing thirst with hunger
- Herbal tea is better on your adrenals than having caffeine first thing in the morning
- Better to drink water earlier in the day so you don’t have to get up at night
Tip #6: Simplify your beauty routine
- Men can shave in the shower
- Wash your hair less and experiment with dry shampoo like Shampure from Aveda
- Combine beauty products, e.g. BB cream, which combines foundation makeup, SPF and lotion
Tip #7: Spend quality time with family
- Start the day positively with a little family time over breakfast, even if it’s short
- Structure the day and tasks with family in mind – it will motivate you to get things done so you can carve out time with them
Tip #8: Do what’s difficult early
- As Mark Twain said: Eat the frog first! Willpower tends to get spent as the day wears on, so do difficult tasks earlier in the day rather than later
- Exercise before work if that’s an activity you are less motivated to do in the evening
Bonus Tip to Maximize Your Morning: Use a stand up desk
- Experiment with working on your feet. It burns calories and gives you more energy
- Learn about Laura’s state-of-the-art setup with a Varidesk and a gel mat…
- …and Kate’s low-tech strategy with a laptop on the kitchen counter
Your Richer Life lab homework for this week is to add something new to your routine in the evening or morning and see how it plays out in your energy level, productivity, mood, and relationships throughout the day.
We want to hear about what’s working for you! Let us know if you try something we suggested in the show or have other recommendations that we can share with listeners in a future show.
Send us a Lab Report to firstname.lastname@example.org or record a voice message with your questions or comments.
A big thanks to our Richer Life Lab sponsors
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