Why Your Morning Routine Might Be Hindering Your Productivity

TSP • @myTSPnet


Slide out of bed. Hobble to the bathroom. Brush your teeth. Start the coffee maker. Does this sound anything like your morning? Some start their morning with a cup of coffee, others 2-mile run or an extra tap of the snooze button. Whatever your schedule may be, this emphasis on structure only in the morning interrupts your productivity.

The problem with morning routines is their inability for flexibility. With a set schedule and routine allocated to each morning, conflict will arise. Every morning involves a new email from a client, a crisis in the workplace or an emergency that needs your presence. Your morning routine must be flexible to change for the needs of your business and its clients. In order to be best prepared and productive in the morning, here are a few tips to upgrade your routine.

There’s a common misconception that waking up early furthers your ability to be productive. In fact, there is zero difference in socio-economic standing between individuals who wake up before the sun rises and those who wake after the morning traffic has settled. Instead, your ability to capitalize and be intentional with your morning routine is the key differentiator.

Your morning routine must start the evening before. In order to improve your performance throughout the day, you can’t sacrifice sleep. If you set your alarm at 5:00am to jumpstart your morning, you must also change your bedtime to accommodate the early wakeup. Research shows that adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night in order to feel refreshed, healthy and ready to start your day. When this doesn’t happen, it hinders your ability to be effective both in and out of the office.

When you don’t unplug from technology, you’re limiting your levels of productivity. An episode of your favorite TV show before bed quickly turns into a binge-watch and just like that, your morning routine has been disrupted. More than 95% of individuals report that they're on an electronic screen before they go to bed. The temptation to find out what happens next in our shows or explore what is trending on Twitter enables our compliance to sacrifice sleep. Whether it’s writing a comment on a friend’s Instagram, surfing Netflix for a new series or sending a text message, technology consumes us, and it plays a role in our ability to sleep.

Your brain is easily deceived from your bright screen light. This light effects healthy levels of melatonin, a key component for a good night’s sleep. As your eyes adjust to the lights on your screen, your brain and body will believe it’s daytime, increasing your risk of sleep deprivation. Instead of watching TV before bed, choose activities that positively stimulate your brain. For example, read a book for 30 minutes like Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, does. Or wind down like Oprah Winfrey, by meditating before bed. When you’re well-rested, you’ll put your best foot forward.

Your morning will only be productive if you use your time wisely. Start by hacking your routine by writing a tomorrow list every night catered towards your morning goals. When you reflect on your list of to-do’s, you’re planning and prioritizing the best ways to effectively succeed throughout the day. These lists are proof of accomplishments fueling your energy as you cross off each task. In fact, the simple action of writing these lists and planning what needs to be done will free feelings of anxiety. Doing this right before you go to bed is another great way to unplug and ease tensions, further generating a relaxed night’s sleep.

Taking just 15 minutes to jot down your schedule creates organization and reflects on your ability to manage your time wisely. These lists will prohibit you from forgetting important things that must be done before you leave home to start your day. Write down “grab lunch from the fridge” and you won’t feel your wallet weighing you down when you’re forced to eat out. You won’t leave the house in a rush and you will capitalize on your productivity early in the morning.

Ultimately, tailor your routine to your needs — but remember — the emphasis isn’t only on the morning. Engage in activities the night before that calm your body down, allowing you to have proper sleep. Unplug and unwind and you’ll allow yourself to be your best self every morning and most importantly, be productive.