5 Morning Habits for Better Productivity

Productivity isn't just about creating a to do list, career development, or time management.

By: Bailey Gerber & Jake Hreha

Productivity isn't just about creating a to do list, career development, or time management. Truly productive people understand that productivity habits allow them to accomplish their goals and find peace and rhythms in each day.

If you’re not a morning person, starting the day can be a challenge – and you might prefer to sleep in until the last possible moment. However, data from a global market research firm proves that people who maintain a morning routine are more likely to consider themselves successful than people who don’t keep a routine. By looking at productive people we can get a sense of what important tasks make up their morning routine.

If you want to increase your productivity during the day, follow these five simple morning habits.

1. Avoid the snooze button.

It’s tempting to use the snooze feature to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning. But according to expert neurologists, that extra sleep doesn’t actually give you more energy. If you hit snooze and fall back into a deep sleep, you’ll be more tired when the alarm wakes you up again. Oversleeping can also disrupt your body’s internal clock. To break your habit of hitting snooze, try these steps:

  • Set your alarm for the time you want to get up. (Don’t give into the temptation to set your alarm a little earlier and give yourself time to snooze. Instead, get the maximum amount of sleep and then get up with your alarm.)
  • Turn on your light when your alarm goes off. Light tells your body it’s time to wake up.
  • Move your alarm clock or phone across the room. If you have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm, you’re more likely to get your day started.

2. Give yourself time before work.

Waking up and rushing into your day isn’t good for you. Instead, try waking up earlier than you need to so you can set a more consistent routine. One study found that starting your day just one hour earlier is associated with a 23% lower rate of depression.

Most research indicates that successful entrepreneurs, executives, and influencers get up well before their work starts – usually between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Rather than jumping into your workday as soon as you wake up, try leaving yourself enough time to enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book, or even set a plan for your day.

Waking up between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. may sound daunting. Start by going to bed earlier than normal to boost your own productivity. A few extra hours of sleep will help you reach peak productivity levels. Productive people prioritize sleep so they can work mentally refreshed and with a renewed sense of excitement for each day.

3. Drink a glass of water.

If you need energy in the morning, your go-to drink may be coffee or tea. While the caffeine is great for a boost, water is even more important. When you wake up every morning, you’ve likely gone several hours without water – and dehydration can severely impact your daily functions. Just one task may become difficult if you aren't properly hydrated.

Drinking less than four cups of water per day is associated with reduced cognitive function, which can involve fatigue, mood swings, and lack of focus. Starting your day with a glass of water helps you ensure you’re consuming enough liquids to stay healthy. (Medical experts recommend that men drink about 15.5 cups of water per day and women drink about 9.5 cups.)

4. Eat a healthy breakfast.

When you choose to sleep in, breakfast might be the first thing you sacrifice. It’s easier to grab a granola bar or skip breakfast entirely – but it’s not healthier. Breakfast is crucial for replenishing your supply of glucose in the morning so you can be more energized and alert. Luckily, your morning meal doesn’t have to be a five-course affair. There are plenty of recipes you can find to make a quick, healthy breakfast. Some popular ideas are:

  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Muffins (which you can make ahead of time)
  • Egg sandwich with veggies
  • Smoothie with assorted ingredients

5. Do a short workout.

Getting some exercise in the morning is a good way to clear your head and start your day with a blank slate. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that people who stay active are more relaxed and in better moods than people who don’t prioritize regular activity. You don’t have to go out and run a 5K every morning; doing a short workout for 15-20 minutes is enough to make a positive impact. Consider activities like:

  • Walking around your block
  • Doing a morning yoga meditation
  • Riding a stationary bike or elliptical while watching morning news or listening to a podcast

As an added bonus, exercise won’t just make you more productive – it will also promote better sleep and reduce your need to hit snooze in the morning! Incorporating healthy habits into your routine will help you avoid making mistakes and make you a more confident worker. No matter how busy work may be, it's important to prioritize your health and wellness.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of sleeping late, rolling out of bed at the last minute, and skipping a typical routine. But your morning habits will influence your entire day. Consider incorporating these productivity tips into your daily routine. Soon you will be telling people how productive people spend their hours and what the most efficient workers know about developing productivity habits. Make sure you’re setting the right tone from the moment you wake up. Want more tips for being productive and effective? Check out our blog on maintaining your motivation.

Bailey Gerber

Content Creator, IWU-National and Global

Bailey Gerber is a vocabulary geek and grammar enthusiast at IWU – National and Global, so she spends most of her time writing and reviewing webpages, video scripts, flyers, and – of course – blog articles. She loves all things involving words, and in her spare time you’ll find her buried in a book (probably with a cup of coffee in hand).

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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