Your day has just started. Your productivity may or may not have kicked in. Which steps do morning people follow for more morning success?
If you are a business person, entrepreneur or just a busy professional, you tend to work on optimizing your schedule to get most stuff done in a timely matter.
This pursue of schedule optimizations comes not only out of necessity to meet deadlines, but also to keep your work-life balance you desperately need.
Depending on your personal preferences (or your biorhythm), there is more than one way to go about improving your morning routine.
So, if you’re an early bird, you might as well wake up early and get all stuff done by 7.
On the other side, if your creative and productive juices go off at night, you would probably like to use your mornings for learning, socializing and filling yourself up with good energy.
Either way, your mornings matter.
What type of morning types of people are there? Here is an exhaustive analysis of 7 different types, with living examples that these routines – work!
1. The morning runners
Many people start their days with exercising, to give them a boost of energy and sharpen their focus.
Jason Schaffer, the CEO of Blue Coda explains why he chose this routine: “To date, I have logged 5 ½ years of running 2+ miles a day, rain, snow or shine. After getting the blood flowing and eating my daily oatmeal, my commute is spent silently brainstorming approaches to looming challenges. When I at last sit at my desk, I’m ready to attack the day in earnest.”
Others use exercising as a way of getting that sense of accomplishment early in the day. Sticking to your morning exercise gives your brain the discipline it needs to stick through those tough times
Paul Brown from Red Jam Jar is a firm believer in this strategy. “I like to wake early around 5 am and use this time to win a few goals before the day begins – followed by some stretching and bodyweight exercises. By the time work begins I feel like I’ve already achieved and this sets me up for the day ahead.”
2. The Planners
The strongest weapon in your daily planning arsenal is by far a task list. You need to plan out your day even before it has started, to get a clear picture of what needs to be achieved.
For planners, it means a clear focus on the day, and the exact steps to attack it the best way possible.
“Wake up with a plan on how to attack your work day and try to stick to it as much as possible. Figure out what your most important tasks of the day are and then work your way down the list.” – a reassuring advice by Maciej Fita, the CEO of Brandignity.
On the other hand, when you add the element of being a parent on top of your entrepreneurial endeavors, you must become a Planner to even start your day (let alone have success).
With children, your task is to keep everybody on schedule. Hence, putting up a task list as a part of your morning routine is of critical importance.
A parent of two and business person Eric Hodgson from Ingeniux tell his morning routine: “I wake up about 6:00 to get a little alone time. Get the kids ready for school, then at my desk by 8:00. Attack the flagged tasks, then the rest of my day is pretty well scheduled. If I miss parts of the morning routine, it feels like I am chasing the rest of the day.”
3. The Meditators
The peace and tranquility of the mornings are for many the perfect time to focus on themselves.
For those who do not know how to start meditating, there are many tools online that can help.
Adam Himoff from Xemplar Skilled Workforce Solutions has shared what helps him in the mornings: “I use an application called “Insight Timer,” which has both guided meditations and a timer with ambient environmental sounds. Whether I am at home or traveling, those few peaceful minutes allow me to get my head into the right space for the coming day. Not only do I feel great, but my daily stresses now feel like a breeze, when they once felt like a storm.”
Paired with affirmations, meditation becomes a very potent tool to help you stay on track with your long term and short term goals.
”My day always starts with meditation and affirmation. Restating my goals out loud after visualizing what I want to accomplish”, says J. Andrew Keeler from Search Solutions LLC.
4. The commuters
For those who work in offices or coworking spaces, the time spent to get to their desks is the perfect part of your morning routine to improve. These 30-60 minutes can be used very productively, regardless of the transportation means.
If you are driving, you can use it to listen to great podcasts or audiobooks.
If you are on foot, the options are even greater. One interesting example is how Vadim from Easy Projects uses his commutes for team meetings.
“It takes me about 30 minutes to get to work. I use this time to talk to our European team, which is seven hours ahead of us. By the time I get to the office I am already updated on the latest development changes or sprint planning results.”
5. The project managers
This morning type uses their mornings for planning – not only planning their own days but the days of others, as well. This personality type is, thus, an upgraded version of the Planner!
In practice, it looks like this: “I start creating tasks in Jira for all departments, and quickly answer all emails that require 5 minutes or less.
Everything else gets to be a Jira task for the day.
I review every task, I prioritize 3 of them and proceed to do the work. “ Iulian Nechifor, Co-founder of Teamfluent shares and adds:”I try to stick to this pattern, it works wonders.
Even though sometimes I get derailed from the flow, it’s reassuring to know that, when things get out of hand, I can always turn to this strategy.”
6. The latest news readers
If you don’t feel like jumping out of your bed, exercising or making a huge breakfast minutes after opening your sleepy eyes, you are probably among the readers.
The Readers need their daily dose of news to wake them up.
To many, this tactic may seem like wasting time at your most important part of the day. So how to use this habit productively?
Joe Rizzo, from MarketingIO shares: “I take my coffee, open up Spotify and cuddle up to my Feedly where I scan over 1500 articles from the past 24 hours to select the 30-40 most pertinent MarTech articles to the B2B Marketer.
I’ll carefully review each one, toss more than half ( a topic already covered, light on facts, too basic, etc.), then summarize each remaining article into my Scoop.it account while sharing it over social media.
The end result after 90 minutes: I’ve grown my gray matter while helping my readers keep abreast of MarTech changes and insights.”
7. Evening before
Waking up early is good, but if you plan out your activities the evening before – you are already winning the morning game.
It requires discipline but also gives you time in the morning for other activities, such as family breakfast.
That’s, at least, how Ciaran Connolly, the owner of Profile Tree sums it up: ”At the end of every day I plan what I need to do tomorrow – so I hit the ground running.
When I wake up, I have breakfast with the family and when I start work, I review my To Do plan for the day and start at the top.“
Bonus: How do the remote workers manage their morning routines?
Routine and discipline are equally important for digital nomads and remote workers.
Especially when you are not on strict office hours, your days may stretch out and you find yourself in the evenings, having to catch up with the day frantically.
This is where the morning routine kicks in, as an important factor in many remote success stories.
- Mental prep – do not roll out of bed and open up your work emails. Exercise, drink coffee, eat breakfast (you get the idea).
- Get dressed (yes, professionally)
- Have a designated ‘office’ area which you enter when your day begins, leave for lunch, and exit at day’s end.
Follow the routine, catch the worm
Regardless of your morning routine choice, getting your game from the early morning is essential for an optimal start into your day.
As seen above, your routine doesn’t have to follow strict rules, as everybody is different.
What is important is to find the type of morning routine that fits your schedule, work and personality best.
Use your start of the day wisely – and reap the benefits along the way!
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.