A stressful morning can ruin my day. Whether it’s transportation delays or a late alarm clock, anytime I have to rush to the office, I start the workday with a less-than-clear head, and it takes a lot of willpower to change my mind-set and calm myself down. But when I wake up early and make the time to exercise and meditate, I know that I’m in a better position to tackle everything that comes up that day. Even if something goes wrong, it becomes much easier to step back, reflect, and decide on a rational course of action.
There’s a reason why so many successful people are intentional about how they start their day (and why so many of you are interested in reading about it). On the final episode of season 2 of Secrets of the Most Productive People, we talk to Benjamin Spall–coauthor of My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired–about what successful people have in common when it comes to how they spend their mornings. What is ideal for one person might not work for another, but the one thing that sets many successful people apart is that they use that time to take control of their day, rather than letting the day control them. Whether that means meditating, spending some quality time with their spouse or kids, or exercising before the crack of dawn, they set aside time to do the things that are important to them as they begin their day.
Here are some common principles that successful people follow when they design their morning routine:
- Start the night before. A good night’s sleep makes a huge difference to how you feel when you wake up. For starters, getting out of bed is less painful when you’re well-rested, and that usually means it becomes easier to do everything else in your morning routine.
- Find (and commit) to a practice that puts you in a positive mind-set. Some people swear by meditation, whereas others find that exercise fulfill this function. Others, like Fast Company contributor Daniel Dowling, don’t get out of bed until he finds something to be grateful for. Whatever works for you, commit to it and make it nonnegotiable. This can help you tackle any curveballs that you’ll definitely get hit with at some point in the day.
- Plan and prioritize. The mornings are a great time to reflect on your to-do’s so you can move through the day with intention, rather than putting out whatever fires come your way. Of course, there are days when you’ll have to do that, but understanding what’s important makes it easier to navigate those volatile days.
You can find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, RadioPublic, or wherever you get your podcasts. What does your morning routine look like? Tell us about it with the hashtag #FCMostProductive. This is the last episode for season 2 of Secrets of the Most Productive People, but please stay subscribed as we’ll be back for season 3 soon with more productivity and career-related content.