Whether or not you're a morning person, morning rituals set the tone for the rest of the day. You can either stumble out of bed and rush at the Keurig like your life depends on it, or you can take this time to prepare for a productive, less stressful day. "Sleep hygiene" doesn't end when you doze off--how you start your mornings restarts the cycle and gives you a genuine opportunity to begin fresh.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be a master at prioritizing. You have to revere drive over multitasking. The pressure of making money from scratch day after day is a lot of responsibility to shoulder. Try out these morning tips to optimize your productivity--and help keep you sane when the pressure starts to mount.
1. Skip the coffee (for now)
Before you go on that tangent about how you can't possibly live without your coffee, hear me out. You don't have to give up coffee for good, but try reaching for something else first. A cup of lukewarm water with freshly squeezed lemon gives you a more natural "kick" in the morning. Plus, it has many health benefits such as shifting your metabolism into higher gear, clearing your skin, providing a nonaddictive form of energy, and keeping your mouth healthy. To optimize the benefits, wait at least an hour before eating or drinking anything else.
2. Don't reach for your phone
Many Americans report that they grab their phone as soon as they wake up. They browse through Facebook feeds (which studies show just make you feel worse about yourself). They groan at the influx of client requests already piling up. They scan through their favorite news app and see heartbreaking coverage of diseases and breaking wars, photos of celebrities in feuds, and other stressful scenarios. Instead, adopt a healthier "first thing in the morning" habit such as light stretching, dancing in front of a mirror, or making the bed (you'll feel better for it).
3. Adopt a good hygiene ritual
Whether you like to shower first thing or wait until after your morning workout session, a good hygiene ritual is crucial--even if it's just for your face. This is pampering time, and an easy way to continue looking your best while running a successful business. Entrepreneurs who work from home are especially vulnerable to getting into slob mode. At the very least, care for your face, which isn't just a beautifying move but also refreshing.
4. Create a triage to-do list
Most entrepreneurs have a smorgasbord of requests to fulfill every day. This can easily be overwhelming, but don't delve into multitasking. Research shows that nobody is good at it, and when you're not giving 100 percent to any project, it'll come back to bite you. Have an evolving task list each day that you check off. It'll help keep you on track and ensure none of the minor details are missed. Start the business portion of each day updating your list and gauging where you stand.
5. Claim your space
A productive workspace is critical whether you call your home an office or you have to commute. Ideally you neaten up your work area each evening--but if that didn't happen, do it in the morning. A sharp, clear mind demands a clear space. If you're into feng shui (or are willing to give it a shot), find out how to better organize your office area. You might be surprised by the results.
Your mornings set the stage for the entire day. Choose wisely, take your time, and don't forget to prioritize yourself along with your business.