Good morning! What all have you accomplished within the first hour of your day so far?
Maybe you answered some emails over coffee or headed to the gym to work out and get caught up on the news. You might have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast la Alice from Alice in Wonderland and journaled ideas for new products or services you’d like to create next. Or you put on a pair of pants and considered that to be today’s adulting win. But did you do all of the right things in order to be the most productive version of you possible?
I’ll admit that this is kind of a trick question. Productivity listicles advise doing a bit of everything from 20 deep squats while brushing your teeth to gradually waking up earlier and earlier to get the most out of your mornings. Does the act of doing more truly make us more productive or does setting up a mindset to view each morning as a race to win before 6 AM actually push us closer to burning out? If you’re ready to wake up and greet the day with focus rather than panic and feel like you’re running behind, I recommend doing these simple activities.
1. Make your bed
According to Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestseller The Happiness Project, making your bed is what is known as a keystone habit. It’s a feel-good activity that spills over into allowing us to take on other healthy habits like exercise and cooking. When you find yourself beginning to flourish within these habits, you’ll gradually notice how it begins to affect your life. For example, if you used to order takeout frequently but are learning how to cook and enjoying the process of making your own meals, you’ll be less inclined to revert back to that past behavior.
Rubin notes in her book that when it comes to inspiring happiness, people repeatedly bring up making the bed as the number one impactful change you can make in your life. As far as morning activities go, this one also isn’t time-consuming no matter what size your bed might be. And if you’ve had a tough day, the added bonus is being able to go home and sink into a freshly made bed.
2. Think before you drink
Coffee is a $20 billion dollar industry and one that many of us arguably *cant* live without. However, it’s also a habit that can add up (if you tend to frequent coffeehouses daily) with caffeine affecting your body and overall health. Take a moment to pause and consider what you’re drinking and how it affects your physical and mental state each day. If you’re looking for an alternative to the morning java that keeps you perky for the next eight hours, consider sipping on any of these beverages.
Water: If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, kick starting your mornings with plenty of water will keep you hydrated and energized all day long. Remember eight glasses or bust. If plain water doesn’t do it for you, add a little lemon. This improves your stomachs nutrient absorption and lemons load you up with all-natural benefits including antioxidants and vitamins.
Apple cider vinegar with green tea: Green tea is another antioxidant-rich drink that has also been proven to improve how your brain functions and offers up a stable kind of energy as opposed to coffees jittery side effects. Add in a few splashes of apple cider vinegar as your not-so-secret ingredient. When you sip a bit of apple cider vinegar each day, it helps detox your body and acts as a natural antibiotic for your skin and stomach to better aid with digestion and your overall immune systems health.
Kombucha or Chai: In need of an afternoon pick-me-up? Pour yourself a mug of the fermented tea drink Kombucha for an extra burst of energy or rejuvenate the senses with a hot and spicy Chai tea to sip on.
3. Practice an attitude of gratitude
Each morning, I think before I do anything. I practice a daily attitude of gratitude where I reflect on all of the things I am grateful for in my life. It helps me to set the tone for the day to come and to recognize that even when times are tough, I am truly lucky and thankful to be where I’m at.
Take a couple of minutes after you wake up to breathe and focus on those obvious and not-so-obvious things to be grateful about. For entrepreneurs, obvious areas might be your family, friends, and business. Less than obvious blessings can be having a stocked fridge, the neighborhood you work out of, or the umbrella that shields you from a sudden downpour on the day of a big meeting.
When you practice gratitude actively, you’ll discover that your mindset will gradually shift in the process. You might find yourself less focused on cramming in a million things early into the day and more renewed at the prospect that there is always this afternoon, evening, and tomorrow to keep working and discovering new things about yourself and the world to which you’ll feel grateful as well as productive.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.