They say the best way to win the day is to win the morning. With the right start to your morning, you can achieve more throughout the rest of the day.
As a business owner, I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective at achieving my goals, and today I want to share with you what I’ve been learning about making the most of every morning.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Why your sleep pattern dictates when you do your best work.
- Why making your bed is the most important thing to do in the morning.
- The worst time of the day to open emails.
- How to create the best business-minded morning routine for you.
Step 1: Discover What Work You Do Best in the Morning
If you want to create the best morning routine for you, it pays to know what type of work you should be doing first thing.
Our daily work tasks fall into two categories, logical work and insight work.
Logical work involves organizing, clarifying and analyzing. It’s performed using the left side of the brain.
Insight work involves the creative tasks that use the right side of your brain. Knowing the time of day you’re best suited to each type of task will increase your productivity.
As Dan Pink writes in his book, When, your Circadian Rhythm actually dictates what type of work you do best in the mornings. For most of us, mornings are best for our logical work.
If you’re an author, like most of my readers, this could include tasks like:
- Structuring the sections of the book you’re writing
- Evaluating potential keywords and categories
- Performing research for books and articles
- Editing and proofreading
I say “most of us” because around 25% of us have what’s called a Late Chronotype. That means you’re a bit of a night owl. If you’re in that 25%, complete your creative work in the mornings instead.
The goal is simply to identify the times when you’re best at a task and do it at those times. For example, if you write faster in the mornings, write in the mornings. Make sense?
Step 2: Plan out Consistent Wake-Up and Bed Times
Usually, when starting a new morning routine, sleep is the first thing sacrificed. But going without enough sleep is a major detriment to your energy levels and productivity. Sure, you may be able to work solidly for an hour or so in the morning, but it doesn’t count if you’re too tired to achieve anything after 2 pm.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night to cover all the stages of a regular sleep cycle. Anything less and you’ll suffer the impact of sleep deprivation the next day.
Lack of sleep leads to:
- Lack of motivation
- Impaired concentration and memory problems
- A lack of creativity and problem-solving skills
- Added difficulty making decisions
- Inability to properly manage emotions
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain
Whether you’re launching a business or writing a book, those aren’t problems you want in your life as a go-getter.
To make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night, plan a set time to go to sleep and wake up every morning. Keeping your sleep times consistent will ensure that you’re on a consistent schedule. Avoid using phones (or any screen) for the hour prior to your bedtime. A good way to achieve that? Sleep with your phone in another room to make sure you’re not tempted to check your Instagram one last time before bed.
Obviously, events come up and you’ll have to disrupt your sleep schedule once in a while. That’s okay. You don’t need to say, “Sorry, I’d love to come to your wedding, but I have a strict 9:30 pm bedtime.” Just try to stick to the schedule as often as you can.
Step 3: Identify Your Most Important Work
Does this sound familiar? You sit down at 7 am to start work but decide to check your emails. There are a few messages you need to respond to. Some responses are quick, but some take a little bit of time–especially if they’re asking you to do something. There’s an email about your new Facebook ad campaign too, better check and see how it’s going… maybe make those couple of tweaks to the advertising copy.
Next thing you know, you’ve spent nearly two hours on emails and small jobs that would’ve been better left for later in the day.
When the first item on your morning agenda is opening and responding to emails, you’re starting your day on someone else’s terms. Rather than being proactive, you’re constantly putting out fires.
In their book, The One Thing, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan talk about finding your most important task and making that your priority. The book suggests that you shouldn’t work on anything else until you’ve successfully completed your ‘one thing.’
I love this mindset. Getting your most important task out of the way early means that no matter what curveballs are thrown your way in the afternoon, your biggest task has been finished.
Step 4: Create Your Full-Morning Routine
One thing that you’ll need when starting your morning routine is willpower. You’ll need the willpower to wake up early, to not hit snooze, to get on that most important ‘one thing’ for the day.
In their book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, Roy Baumeister and John Tierney discuss that humans have a limited supply of willpower. When you wake up in the morning, you start off with a full-battery of willpower; every decision you make throughout the day slowly uses part of that battery.
Too much mental exhaustion and you’ll deplete your willpower quickly. The book uses a range of studies to prove its point, including one that showed the longer test subjects spent on solving difficult math problems, the more candy they ate afterward.
Every decision you make throughout the day chips away at your willpower. Have you ever wondered why Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Barack Obama wear the same clothes every day? As Zuckerberg has said before, it’s to make sure he can focus on the important decisions he has to make throughout the day.
One strategy that helps preserve willpower is to create a routine. The reason routines work is you do them on auto-pilot; you don’t need to make decisions. Imagine if we had to remember to breathe! We’d never get anything done because we’d constantly be reminding ourselves not to pass out. Our bodies do that on auto-pilot, which is the ultimate goal for our morning routine.
To create the perfect routine, go into detail and make it easy for yourself. You want to create a series of triggers and reactions. An example of a trigger would be waking up and seeing your gym clothes laid out. The reaction would then be that you need to do your short morning workout to start your day.
Your initial trigger can be something as simple as making your bed first thing in the morning. High-achieving Navy SEAL commander Admiral William H. McRaven spoke about the importance of starting every day by making your bed in his 2014 commencement speech to graduating students from the University of Texas.
Plan your morning routine around the things that give you the most energy. If you know you’re not the type who enjoys morning workouts and that you’d prefer to sit down and get started right away, structure your day around that.
Do what most naturally meets your daily rhythms. When you have a morning routine you like, stick to it. It’ll seem hard at the start, but within a few months, you’ll be doing it automatically and saving yourself headaches throughout the day. Once you’re on auto-pilot, you can use that much-needed willpower and decision making for important tasks, making you a more efficient entrepreneur.To create the perfect routine, go into detail and make it easy for yourself. You want to create a series of triggers and reactions. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Dave Chesson is a digital marketer, book marketing Jedi, and Tennessee family man. His passion is serving the author community through Kindlepreneur.com. His specialty is in-depth, unbiased information, such as his recent Guide to Grammarly. When he’s not constantly improving KDP Rocket, Dave can be found learning EDM production from DeadMau5.