You really need to stop looking at your social media accounts the minute you wake up. Yeah, I’m looking at you. They’re still there. Nothing that important happened between the time you went to bed and woke up. It just didn’t.
Whew. Now that’s out of the way…
Let’s try starting our day with a few things that matter. They say your heart is where your treasure is (yeah seriously, they really say it). Where’s your treasure? Is it with social media? I think a good indicator is where your mind drifts as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Most people, if they were to list the five most important things in their lives, wouldn’t list social media. Yet, it’s such a struggle to stay off it. And we wonder why it’s so difficult to disconnect when we decide to go on vacation or take a day off.
A good morning routine can set the tone for the rest of the day, and it can also create healthy habits that lead to productivity. Here are five things productive people do when they wake up in the morning.
1. Pray or meditate
Because, science. Research shows that prayer and meditation not only reduces stress, but also changes the brain. It turns out that people who meditated, when compared against a control group, “… had more gray matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and executive decision making.”
I also hear it’s good for your heart, too.
There’s no right way to do it. I prefer staying off devices in the morning so I go the pen and paper route. Reflect on yesterday, orient yourself for today, or write yourself through an issue—it’s all helpful.
Regular journaling has been shown to have all sorts of benefits from helping to relieve stress to enhancing creativity. It makes sense, too, that someone who has been writing down their thoughts would become more articulate.
3. Eat Breakfast
Because, food—who needs an excuse to eat? But I get it—it’s easier to grab that cup of coffee and hit the road. But your stomach, metabolism, and mood will thank you after eating something more substantial.
After coming off the eight hour fast that is sleep, your cortisol levels—the main stress hormone—are high because they help keep your blood sugar in check. A good breakfast keeps your blood sugar in check allowing your body to pump its cortisol breaks.
You know what also increases cortisol levels? Caffeine. So drinking coffee and skipping breakfast is like a double-whammy on your stress levels.
Is anyone really surprised by this? To be honest I like saving exercise for the afternoon when I need the energy boost. But if you have trouble getting motivated to work out in the afternoon, knock it out in the morning.
5. Prioritize the Day
Ask yourself a few questions to get down to what’s important and what’s not. When we start our day with social media and email, we become reactive to the demands others our placing on our day. Take control of your day asking yourself the following questions:
- What are the most important things I need to do today?
- Why are they important?
Then start your day with your biggest tasks while you have the most motivation.