Many believe that mornings at work are the least productive time of day. People have barely woken up. They’re still reeling from their commute. They’re not in the headspace to work.
But it doesn’t have to be like this—your morning can be productive and fruitful, motivating you to do your best for the rest of the day.
We have found eight ways that you can boost your productivity in the morning.
Prepare the Day Before
People tend to prepare for the day every morning that tasks need to be planned and executed, but this has an adverse effect on productivity.
Trying to plan your work while doing it is an inefficient use of time—you are more likely to end up prioritizing planning the day overdoing any actual work, which will diminish productivity.
You will have a fair idea of which tasks need to be completed and prioritized the next day. Make a note of this before you leave work today.
Make it a habit to write down any tasks that crop up during the day—on sticky notes or a notepad.
You can also send emails to yourself with notes that you can consolidate into a comprehensive plan.
Preparing your day beforehand will make you more productive in the morning—you won’t be scrambling to remember what to do. You can immediately begin working.
Drink Water, Not Just Coffee
Almost everyone in the working environment starts their morning off with a big cup of black coffee. Most people can’t get through the day without one!
And that is fine—a cup of coffee in the morning certainly does perk up the mind and makes you more productive.
However, relying solely on coffee isn’t a good idea. If you really want to be productive in the morning, start by drinking a cold glass of water.
For one, water will rehydrate your body—remember, for 6-8 hours, your system has had no nutrients or hydration.
Drinking water will help your system kick into high gear in the morning so that you are in a better frame of mind to concentrate and work.
Having a routine every morning before you get to work, and once you reach work, is imperative to being productive.
While at home, try some light exercise before you have breakfast or look at your phone. This will help your mind become more alert and ready to take on the day.
Alternately, meditating for 15-30 minutes may be just what you need to wake up your mind.
Of course, if you do want to meditate, ensure that you do it away from your bed, or otherwise you could risk falling back to sleep.
Once you are at work, engage in a work warmup routine, such as clearing your desk, or checking off action items in your emails.
A regular routine is not only a good way to improve your work culture, but also gets you into a productive frame of mind first thing in the morning.
Engage Your Mind
A major productivity killer is doing something mind-numbing in the morning. Reading something passively or scrolling through social media will only make you feel more tired.
In fact, avoiding screen time as much as possible before you eat breakfast is advisable.
Instead, start the morning off by listening to or recording a podcast—this will help to focus your mind, making you more alert.
Logging into your elearning platform is another way to be productive. Learning engages the mind, wakes you up, and helps you work better in the morning.
Set Daily Goals
Setting goals is a good way to keep yourself motivated and on track.
You will have done a fair amount of planning for the day the evening before, now you are well-placed to set yourself goals.
Defining concrete goals for yourself will help motivate you to work better, but they will also give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when you tick items off your list.
This process will, in turn, improve your productivity.
Get the Work Done
You know the best way to be productive in the morning? Not procrastinating. You have work to do so get it done.
This is where the goal setting we discussed earlier comes in—by setting goals for yourself, you will know exactly what you need to tackle first thing in the morning.
However, this is easier said than done—when you are facing a difficult task, you are more likely to find other things to do or to procrastinate.
While that is understandable, if you don’t finish the pending work, it will keep hanging over your head and diminishing your productivity.
There is a term that is often thrown around—eating the frog—and this is the philosophy that should guide you in the morning.
Eat the frog—do the most difficult or painful task—first thing in the morning, and the rest of your day will be much better.
Don’t put off the most difficult items on your task list—tackle them when you get to work and you will be at your most productive throughout the day.
Multi-tasking is one of those things that people are constantly discussing in professional spheres.
But while some people do believe that multi-tasking allows people to accomplish more in less time, anyone who has actually practiced it knows that that is not how it works out.
Instead of being more efficient and fruitful, multi-tasking tends to have the opposite effect—it takes your focus away from completing one thing at one time.
You may think that running two or three projects at the same time will make you achieve your goals faster.
But more often than not, one project gets left by the wayside, and everything slows down.
Multi-tasking isn’t a facilitator of productivity—it is a productivity killer. Avoid it as much as possible.
The better way to complete tasks is by focusing on one at a time—if you are concerned about spending too much time on one item, use time tracking apps to keep you focused.
Only Do What You Can
Another aspect of the professional world that can harm your productivity, especially in the morning, is taking on too much.
We all know that mornings can be a bit overwhelming—clients, partners, and colleagues are sending you emails. Managers are asking for meetings, updates, and adding to your task list.
With so much input, it can be convenient to just agree to everything—to say ‘yes’ to everyone, just so that you can actually get on with your work.
You should not do this—don’t keep agreeing to requests or demands because you will end up with too much on your plate, with little time to finish your tasks.
As a result, your productivity will take a massive hit, not only during that morning but possibly for the rest of the week.
It’s imperative that you reject any tasks that you will have trouble accomplishing.
Overworking employees is one of the most serious ethical issues at work, so you must always know your limits and make them obvious to your colleagues and managers.
Mornings are often dismissed as the least productive times of the day, but by following the above methods, you can make the most of your mornings before and during work.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, an infographic maker and design platform. She enjoys writing about content marketing, productivity, design, the digital world, as well as pop culture, and diversity.