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Own your morning and set yourself up for success!

Updated: Jul 13, 2023


 


I do believe that every successful morning starts the night before.

When you have a good routine implemented and set expectations for the following day, things will go a bit smoother than they used to be.


I realised that if I spend a little time in the previous night setting up my workstation, preparing my clothes, tidying up my surroundings, I get up much happier and being more productive throughout the day.

I've put my top tips together for you, which I highly recommend; however, do not try to implement all of them into your routine at the same time.

Pick one or two; when those are working and rock solid, you can add more. But, like in every area of your life - consistency is critical.


First and most important, what is your "WHY?"

Why you'd like to have a productive morning, and why do you need time for yourself? Are you struggling with time management? Do you lack productivity? Is your "To-do list" only getting longer, and you never feel you are completing your goals? Are you not spending enough time with yourself? Do you think you wake up to work and have no energy to pursue your dreams when you finish? Do you ask yourself every day, "When I will have time for this?" Do you constantly say, "I am busy"? Do you have aspirations and big dreams, but you don't have time for them? It's time to change your routine and put yourself first!

I mean, first in the morning is the best, while everyone else is sleeping, so you have no distractions!

Set your day a night before

Who doesn't like to wake up in a clean, well put together, organised house? So I picked up the habit of cleaning down the kitchen after dinner. Even if I am tired, I wash up dishes, clean down the countertop, turn on the dishwasher, and I prepare our shakers with the pre-workout supplement and vitamins we take in the morning. If you haven't read James Clear's "Atomic Habits" book, I highly recommend doing so to understand how small changes in your daily habits will bring you significant breakthroughs! Then, make habits to stick by making them prominent, attractive, easy and satisfying!


* Clean down the kitchen after dinner and put everything away

* Prepare your workout clothes next to your bed.

* Pack your bag (if you are going to work or the gym physically outside of your house), prepare things you'll need - keys, lip balm, sunglasses, travel card, access card, charger, tissues, hand sanitiser, mask, whatever it is - This also helps to reduce conflicts if you don't live alone!

* Open windows for fresh air an hour before bedtime

* Do NOT scroll your phone an hour before bedtime. Read! No distraction, no social media, just you and a good book (or kindle, of course)

* Ditch the light and play some soft music


Wake up on time - the same time every day

Find the time to wake up that best suits you and your schedule, and stick to it! I know it's hard to wake up early when it is dark, but if you find your "why", it will be easier! With today's technology, we now have great apps to wake you up at the right time: Sleep Cycle's alarm clock wakes you up while you're in "light sleep" and is a natural way to start your day.

The sunrise simulation lamp also gives you the natural light to wake up effortlessly when pitching dark outside. I love mine so much!


You snooze, you lose!

Yep, no snoozing! Did you know you'll feel worse when you hit the snooze button? When your body goes back to the sleep cycle and disturbs this by waking up again 5-10 minutes later, makes things even harder? I use Mel Robbins "5-second rule" to wake up. Simple, but not easy: You hear the alarm, start counting back from five: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and move your body. Turn off the alarm and sit up; get off the bed! With practice, you'll get there, trust me! Leave the phone in the other room, go to the bathroom; start your new day! Wash your face with cold water, toss down a big jar of water, do your skincare routine, take a shower etc. but, don't even go near your bed and fall into its sweet calling of soft, warm hugs!! You have some dreams to work on, my dear!


Gratitude

As soon as I get to my conscious mind, I say and feel grateful for things I already have - with this; you'll attract more things/events in your life you can be thankful for. Would you please make a list of people or objects/experiences you already have and feel grateful and happy that you have them? I look around and see how many things I have in my life I can be thankful for. We usually take things for granted, like our vision, legs to walk, our hands to work with, our food in the kitchen, the comfortable bed we slept in, or the fresh air we can breathe in. "You don't appreciate things until you no longer have them," saying says, and it is very true. I did not appreciate my legs until I couldn't walk for four months or the clean clothes and water until we visited some countries where having these things are luxury.


Sometimes I do my gratefulness exercise at my desk and even write them down - my top 3 things today. Did you see my "Thank you jar" post on LinkedIn? Such a nice feeling to read all notes at the end of a year. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes; that's how happy I feel for them. So many positive moments gets forgotten during the year, so I write them down to remember. Sometimes I also make notes of those events/learnings which I've messed up, what I learned from it and make sure I remember how to deal with them in the future.


Meditation and journaling

I know, I know. I can't sit quietly; there are so many thoughts in my head, I don't have time for it; I have no clue how to do it. Yeah. I hear you. I was the same. However, I did realise that you need to give it time and practice! If you are a beginner, I would advise you to use a mediation app or youtube and relax your body. Headspace or Calm is pretty good. You must clear your mind from all that crap piled in there and make some space for new thoughts. You need to clear your mind from negative thoughts and plant positive ones. It would help if you let it go and focus on now, your breath and focus inside. Only a few minutes a day can improve your mood and mental state magnificently.


I love to write. I practice some journaling in the morning, so I write everything out. Every thought, things to do, something I worry about, I regret doing or not doing; things bother me. I just through everything on paper, and I clear out the "trash". Highly recommended "The Five-Minute Journal"!


Make your bed

Some people suggest making your bed immediately as it makes you feel you've accomplished the very first task of your day - which I agree with, however! I would argue against doing it right after you got out of it!

I believe it's not the brightest idea to cover the bed you've slept in it instantly; I would suggest opening up the windows and let your mattress breathe and dry.

I usually make my bed after exercise and shower, when dressing up, by then it's been open for a good 1-1.5 hours, and my husband is not being found in there either 😆

(There is an extraordinary book "Make your bed" by William H. McRaven if you want to learn more)


Hydrate

I know it's obvious, but your body didn't get any fluids for some time during your sleep; it's time to re-hydrate! Drink water with lemon or lime to activate your body!

I sometimes like to play with flavours and add lime, mint and cucumber to my water. Cucumber has electrolytes so good for your body. I know, I know, some of you cannot wake up without coffee, but please make sure you drink water before or after as coffee is drying you out also. Instead of coffee, have you tried green tea perhaps? 🧐😊


Don't touch your phone!

I know we use our phones as an alarm, but turn it off and put it down!

You can leave your phone in the other room - so you have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm or have it further away from your bed where you literally can not reach it!

Most important is that you don't start scrolling through social media! Trust me; this is not something you want to see first thing in the morning or read some bad news about killing, murdering or stabbing somewhere in the world. Don't check everyone else's - beautiful, perfect life/holidays, food and body! You are aware of those filters, right? It's all fake!

You need to focus on yourself first before you let others into your head! Stop comparing yourself with the life of others; concentrate on YOU first thing in the morning. Now it's your time; use it wisely!

Also, stop checking work emails very early in the morning or while you are still in bed! Whatever is there, I am sure it can wait for one more hour.

I always think of it this way: I am not a doctor; luckily, no human - or animal - life depends on me to take this hour for myself before the craziness hits. For this very reason, I have decided to delete all work-related apps from my personal phone. Therefore, I cannot check work emails, chats, or systems before sitting down at my desk and opening my laptop. It's crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance for me.


Exercise & Shower

Move your body every day. If it's walk, cycle, yoga, gym, run - move it. If it's the morning or evening for you, do it! Your body will thank you for it!

There are myriad options on Youtube to watch - You can stretch, do HIIT training, walk on a treadmill watching great walking videos in nature, you can dance, do Zumba, or do boxing. Depends on personal preference, even if you have a small room, there is so much you can do for your body with or without any equipment. If you can invest in a home gym purchase some multifunctional items, you don't need many things!


Just. Move. Your. Body.


After exercise, I usually shower with the 30-second cold, 30-second hot alternate shower method. This method has several positive benefits to your body:


- Improves Circulation

- Lymph Flow

- Relieves Depression

- Stress Reduction

- Healthy Skin

- Athletic Recovery

- Strengthens Immunity

- Increases Energy


I feel my skin is buzzing! I finish the shower with the cold water to help me get out and get dressed without freezing to death. Since I use this method, I feel I have improved my body temperature or adopting to cold better. Since I have some circulation issues, I am the kind of person who is constantly feeling cold and would sleep in socks even in summer!

Just saying ☺️


YOUR time

After I got ready, I sit down at my desk and begin the day. It can be 15-30 minutes or 1 hour, depends on how much time you have. But you must have time allocated for YOU every day.

What are your aspirations? What is your dream goal? Could you write it down? Then, break this dream into smaller chunks, so you feel they are more achievable. Set your plan, and then work backwards. What do you need to do to achieve this? If you dream of a promotion, see what knowledge or experience you need to get that promotion.

If you'd like to launch your business, think about what you'll need to do/have, and every day, do something about it. Allocate this time to do research. Read an article about it. Talk to someone who has done it before, or ask for help signing up as a mentee. Do something to get one step closer to your dream. One step every day will take you far.


Examine your daily and weekly plan

In the morning, I put down my top 3 things I want to achieve that day.

The three main elements I need to keep in my mind. My "big rocks". Then I start completing them one by one.

I do not believe in multitasking; I don't think you can entirely focus on more than one thing simultaneously. So I get those three main items prioritised regarding their urgency - which one I need to fulfil first, then second and third.

I have "focus time" blocked out in my calendar, and I switch off all distractions around me to fully allocate my time, energy and resources to complete that task. You can use apps for this or just put my phone into "Airplane mode" and put it into the drawer.

I usually create my weekly plan on Friday afternoon or Sunday for the following week. I use the "big rock" method. I block time off while I am the most productive to focus on my big projects, the things I would like to complete that week - the things that have the most significant impact!

When you put your primary focus items into your calendar, you won't let the small "less important" things fill up your schedule.


Just accept it and do what's best for YOU!

You need to accept that not everyone wants to do this routine with you, or they are instead, evening owls. Just take the fact that others might be on a different schedule, which is also okay.

I have my "me time" in the morning as this is when I am the most productive, and my husband stays up late until midnight or 1AM to read-plan-study when I already fall asleep hours ago so that he can enjoy his own time. Therefore we always spend time together before and after dinner; then, we do our things separately. We are all different, so stop arguing with others to stick to your plan, as it won't work.

Trust me, I've tried. 😅


Remember: "We are 1% better every day!"




Disclaimer: All images & content © 2021 Heidi Kalmar


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