Morning Hacks to Start Your Day
Your alarm goes off. While you might want to lay in bed and scroll on your phone for an hour, you need to get to work. What you also need is a solid morning routine — a sure-fire way to begin the day on the right foot so you’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the minute you walk through your office doors.
But how do you create a routine that works for you (especially so early in the morning)? You begin by committing to being consistent and holding yourself accountable. Then you check out these morning hacks that you can use to inform your own morning routine and start the day right.
Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep
Your morning routine won’t work if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Getting anything less than seven hours of shut-eye is asking for trouble. There simply isn't a hack to get around the need for solid sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults (age 26-64) need at least seven to nine hours of sleep to function properly. When you don’t hit those magic numbers every night, you can develop cognitive issues, impair your memory and make your immune system suffer.
Don’t Hit the Snooze Button
After getting the recommended amount of sleep, you may not even need an alarm to help wake you up. If that’s the case, congrats! If not, don’t worry. Just promise not to hit the snooze button after the alarm goes off.
Adam Tishman, sleep expert and co-founder of Helix mattress company, told The Thirty, “When you let yourself fall back asleep, you're tricking your body into thinking it's going back into sleep mode. When your alarm goes off again, your body and brain are confused, resulting in that foggy feeling called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia can stay with you throughout the day, making you actually feel more tired throughout the day."
To avoid hitting the snooze button, it’s imperative that you get enough sleep and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even during weekends. Soon enough, your body will become accustomed to the routine and will eventually learn to wake up on its own.
Meditate When You Wake Up
Instead of jumping out of bed to check your email, take a moment for yourself and meditate for five minutes. Peter Bregman, author of “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done,” told Travel + Leisure that it’s best to “[w]ake up 15 minutes earlier, and for the first five minutes, just meditate or pray. Breathe and find yourself awake in the world."
But if for some reason you don’t have the time to do a breathing exercise, give your body a good stretch to help wake it up. Bregman says stretching "will literally change the mood of your whole morning."
Put Your Phone in Another Room
To avoid the “morning scroll,” here's am easy hack: place your phone in another room the night before. You’ll have a better chance of creating a new relationship with your phone by not using it the minute you wake up.
Take baby steps to get there. Use a timer in the morning to signal when you need to get off your phone or turn the power off for the night, so you don’t have easy access to your social media apps right when you wake up. Whatever you decide to do, find a system that works for you and make it a habit.
Drink a Full Glass of Water
Coffee might be the nectar of the gods, but water will fuel your soul and a much smarter morning hack to start your day. And after eight hours of sleep, your body is probably a little dehydrated.
“You haven’t had fluids for roughly eight hours, so drinking a couple of glasses when you first wake up will help rehydrate the body, allow for good digestion and just get you going for the day, ” Paula Simpson, RNCP, told Well + Good.
How much water should you have in the morning? According to Simpson, 16 ounces is preferred. But as long as you’re consuming at least a glass of water you’re doing just fine.
Do Something You Love
It’s hard to be in a bad mood in the morning when you choose to begin the day by doing something you love. For instance, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, plays tennis before she goes to work. You don’t have to play tennis, of course. But you could read a chapter of your favorite book, watch a comedy clip on YouTube or take a bath to relax. Just make sure it makes you happy.
Switch it up if this morning hack ever feels like it's becoming a chore.
Take a Cold Shower
While no one in their right mind enjoys taking a freezing-cold shower, a lot of people do it as a morning hack for the health benefits. Cold showers can make you alert and lower stress levels. Adding this hack to your morning routine can help wake up your body after a long, deep slumber.
Schedule Your Coffee to Brew
Program your coffee machine the night prior to brew 15 minutes before you wake up. Not only will this automate some of your schedule and give you more time in the morning, but your brain will get an instant lift from the aroma.
The Journal of Environmental Psychology conducted a study where a 100 business grads were split into two groups to take a test. The students who were in a room filled with coffee scents scored higher on the test than the students who weren’t. While the scent didn’t include caffeine, the study showed that the aroma made the students more alert and increased their cognitive skills.
Eat Breakfast at the Same Time
Just like how you should have a sleep schedule, it’s also a good idea to have a breakfast routine. According to neuroscientist Tara Swart, eating breakfast at the same time every day is a morning hack that helps regulate your digestion and circadian rhythm.
However, this doesn’t mean you should eat chocolate-covered doughnuts or Lucky Charms. Consume healthy fats and proteins to sustain brain functioning, such as avocados, eggs, chia seeds, nuts and berries.
Don’t Look at Your Email Until You’re at the Office
Checking your email the minute you wake up can cause stress. You may get distracted thinking about the issues you need to address, which can start your day on the wrong foot.
Even though checking your email may seem productive, some experts believe it to be the opposite. Carson Tate, author of "Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style," told Business Insider, "You are sacrificing one of the most productive periods of your day, the start, when you are fresh, alert, and not yet mentally fatigued to react to what everyone else wants from you versus using your focused energy to advance your goals."
Listen to a Podcast During Your Commute
If your mind is still feeling a little groggy put on a podcast that can help you learn. According to a study, when you learn something new, the chemistry in your brain changes, which can help you learn faster and better.
Perhaps you can listen to how entrepreneurs got their start, or to podcasts on topics relevant to your business. Or you can listen to the news. Anneke Jong, Vice President of Operations and Strategy at Reserve, listens to a podcast to help begin her day. In an article on Refinery29, she said, "I never start a day without listening to Morning Edition on NPR. I stream it from my phone in the bathroom while I'm showering and getting ready for the day."
Network With Your Co-Workers When You Get to the Office
Before you begin your workday, take a mini detour to your co-workers’ desks to catch up and network. According to LinkedIn Career Expert Blair Decembrele, "If you’re one of the 95 percent of professionals who think it’s a good idea to be friends with your co-workers, pay them an a.m. visit to start your day. Since 70 percent of professionals get hired at a company where they have a connection, spending time developing your professional relationships could land you your next job — you never know where your #WorkBFF might end up next!"
Troubleshoot Your Biggest Issues With Your Co-Workers
While experts recommend working on your most-pressing issue first to get a head start on the day, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone. Decembrele says “[B]efore diving into your to-dos (and the inevitable stress that comes with), make it a point to connect with your work friends to boost your confidence, or to troubleshoot any issues you think might arise that day.”
She adds: “New LinkedIn data reveals that 75 percent of professionals feel that having work friends offers a feeling of being in it together and 58 percent think they make things easier when challenges arise, so tap into those relationships and an in-it-together mindset to get you going in the morning,”
Don’t Give up on Your Morning Routine
Whether you already consider yourself a morning person or you want to give your a.m. routine a major facelift, remember to be kind to yourself when you’re making these adjustments. It might take time to figure out how to hack your morning routine and to make it work for you, but that doesn’t mean you should give up right away when a hack doesn’t click.
Benjamin Spall, the co-founder of My Morning Routine and co-author of “My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired,” told Forbes you should bring a new thing into your routine for a while to see if it’s a fit for you and your lifestyle.
“Give each new element you bring into your morning routine a fair shot,” said Spall. “Trying something for just a couple of days before giving up isn’t enough. And keep things short! Don’t go all-in on a two-hour workout or creative writing session on your first morning.”
Summary: Morning Hacks to Start Your Day
Morning Hacks to Start Your Day Right
- Get seven hours of sleep
- Avoid the snooze button
- Pet your phone away
- Drink some water
- Do something you love
- Take a cold shower
- Schedule your coffee to brew
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Skip email for a while
- Try a podcast during your commute
- Network with colleagues when you first start work
- Be kind to yourself