Over and over again we hear that our mornings set the pace for the rest of our day and by way of deductive logic, the productivity of our overall lives. Yikes. Doesn't sound like good news for those of us (right here!) who aren't morning people. Even if you're a bright, cheery little bird come 6:00 a.m., without a morning routine to go by, even the best of us can get sunk. Is there a way to set up perfect days? To start off on the right side of the bed every day or at least more often than not? There is, actually. While it may take a bit of concentration and effort, you can set up a method that gets your gears going in the right direction and keeps your mood elevated as well as your productivity. I think we all know how important a healthy breakfast is, but here are seven ideas you may not have thought of to start your day right.
Alarm Buzzer Too Jarring? There's An App for That
Who likes to get woken up by an obnoxious, loud, buzzing sound that knocks us out of our subconscious reveries? No one, that's who. You may not even realize the way you've been waking up every day is affecting your Zen. Try an app like Sleep Cycle that gives you the choice of gentler sounds to arouse you. Sleep Cycle claims to go off during your lightest sleep cycle in the morning for the easiest way possible to get up and going. While this claim hasn't been proven by Sleep Cycle or science, it's definitely better than the noise you get from the standard iPhone options.
Too Cozy to Move? Talk Yourself Awake
Winter is an especially annoying time of year to get out of bed. You're just so cozy and the sun has yet to come up and get through your shades. How will you ever drag yourself out? By talking out your day — with yourself. If you've got a partner, you may want to do this one in your head. Start with a visualization of how you want your day or your life to go. Imagine yourself successful. What would you say to Oprah interviewing you for a special all about your success? Think of something you're grateful for (this really gets yourself in the right mindset). Even if all you can think of is the gratitude you have for your comfy bed, engaging your brain in a friendly, positive thought process helps you wake up gently, ready to take on the day.
Feel Overwhelmed? Write It Down and Give Yourself "You" Time
We're all so used to typing everything we want to say from texting to e-mails. Don't be part of the problem. Do yourself a favor by writing a list first thing with pen and paper. You'll be surprised how satisfying physically crossing an item off a list (as opposed to a finger swipe on a screen) becomes. After you've got your day planned, give yourself some time just for you. Whether you can spare 15 minutes or 60, think of logging a journal entry, enjoying a cup of tea or watching something on Netflix. Resist the urge to log on; it'll help you feel in control and put you in a better state of mind.
What to Wear? Hone Your Instant Outfit Skills
If you know your go-to outfits ahead of time, or commit to sticking with basics and adding a personal touch with accessories, you'll make getting ready that much easier. An office-appropriate dress, tights and simple heels gives you an instant outfit you don't need to overthink.
Afraid You'll Forget Your Keys Again? Pack Up Beforehand
This is advice is priceless and too easily overlooked. We hear it, we think it's a good idea and we don't do it. Pack your purse the night before (this may also have you pre-planning your entire look) with everything you need in it for the day. When it's time to jet, all you have to do is grab it without the stress of wondering if you've forgotten anything.
Stressed About That One Thing? Do What You Dread First
While productivity experts extoll varying routines for morning success, they mostly agree that when you sit down to start working, doing the thing you're the least happy about doing first is the way to a happier day. You'll often realize it wasn't as bad as you made it out to be, and you'll be relieving yourself of an entire day of procrastination and stress that mounts with every hour.
Still Not Satisfied? Try Different Routines Until One Works for You
There may be one gem of a suggestion on this list that works for you. There may even be two or three. You might find adopting all of them is life-changing — or not. The key to any endeavor is not to give up. Monitor how you feel in the mornings — stressed, groggy, pissed off? Whatever emotion is bothering you, there's an answer to counteracting it, which is the key to great mornings and days. So, don't be afraid to experiment with your routine until you find the right hour, the right cup of coffee and the right thoughts to bring about your own perfect days.