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WORK-LIFE BALANCE

7 Ways to Start a Great Day

The first hour of your day can make or break it. Here are seven surefire positive day starters.
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Some people find mornings filled with optimism, while others would just as soon stay in bed until the clock passes the noon hour.  For most, however, the workday beckons and the morning is a mad rush to get everyone ready and out the door. By the time you reach the office, you've probably already dealt with the stress of family, weather, traffic and other distractions. Unless everything goes perfectly, you'll carry all that stress into your office and share it throughout the day with your employees and colleagues.

Fear not,  it is possible to get the day started right, no matter what comes your way.  Try one of these tips each day of the week or combine them. Either way, you'll start out on your terms and be prepared to make it a great day.

1. Plan the night before. Why start your day unorganized? If you organize your to-do-list, breakfast menu and your clothes the night before, you'll wake up feeling in control and relaxed. Taking 20 minutes to lay out everything can save you a 30-minute fashion crisis or search for the car keys. With a little efficiency, you'll save the frustration and scrambling, leaving you ready to tackle more important issues.

2. Try 15 minutes of meditation. Some might be afraid that a meditation session early in the morning could just put you back to sleep. But genuine meditation actually stimulates the brain in a deep and thoughtful way. It allows you to clear distractions from your mind and purge negative energy. Center yourself with thoughtful introspection or prayer and be open to the positive energy the world brings your way.

3.  Begin with inspirational reading. Part of my morning ritual easily allows for reading first thing. Many read the news, which can be a sad way to start the day. Buy a few books that are uplifting, inspiring, or even humorous for your first brain stimulus. This will give you positive, fun thoughts to keep you energized throughout the day.

4. Open your eyes to fresh flowers. If the first thing you see when you wake up is a dingy wall or barren winter yard, you can certainly improve those critical few minutes with a pleasing splash of color. Research suggests that exposure to bright colors in the early morning raises your spirits and energy. So pick up a pleasant bouquet every few days and set it right in your view.

5. Trade coffee for green tea. Coffee is a great stimulant, but sometimes it can over-stimulate and the acid can make your stomach uncomfortable. Try a soothing cup of green tea to start instead. You'll still get the caffeine you crave (just a bit less), plus healthy antioxidants. It's cheaper and healthier than a double caramel mochaccino, too. You can still get the java mid-morning if you want it, but you may find you don't even need it since the crash won't be as severe.

6. Do some yoga. Exercise is a great stimulant to wake you up, and make you feel good. It's good for the body and pumping those endorphins makes your mind happy and alert.  Cardio is great, but for the whole body approach, add a little yoga into your routine. You'll control your breath, stretch your muscles and generate energy. Your body and mind will be one and ready to conquer the world.

7. Schedule a hopeful appointment. I never feel more energized getting out of bed than when I have an important meeting about an exciting opportunity. The prospect of a fun and productive encounter usually wakes me with a smile and often without an alarm clock. I purposefully schedule as many meetings like this as possible. That way I get as many great days as I want.

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IMAGE: Kevin Morris / Flickr.com
Last updated: Jan 6, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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