Taylor Brown

5 Ways to Hack Your Mornings

Feeling stressed, tired, and grumpy? Your morning routine could be to blame. Depending on how you spend those first waking moments, you could be secretly sabotaging your mood, or worse, your entire day. Studies have shown that mornings can greatly affect productivity, the quality of your work, how you articulate, and how you interact with others. 

 
Whether you work from home or in-office, starting your day off on the right foot can be crucial for task management and job performance. While mornings are not always ideal, there are ways to make them easier to manage. With that being said, these quick and simple hacks will help you to wake up calm, happy, and focused!

 

 

Prepare the Night Before

 
Packing your essentials the night before is a great way to minimize your to-do list. Try laying out your clothes in advance, covering everything from top to bottom (yes, this includes your undergarments, accessories, and shoes). Ensuring that your outfit is ready-to-wear will not only save time, but allow you to dress for the job you want. Heading to the park or gym? This same logic applies for exercise clothes and workout gear.
 

Avoid Hitting “Snooze”

 
While it may be tempting to hit that snooze button, this can actually disrupt your circadian rhythm (your internal clock or sleep cycles). By unintentionally drifting off, it is more likely that you will wake groggy, rather than well-rested. Rather than ignoring your alarm clock, turn it off as soon as it sounds. Notably, this will require some effort and willpower.
 
To reduce the urge to sleep a little longer, try placing your alarm clock or phone out of reach. Alternatively, you can disable the snooze function. This usually does the trick, however, be sure not to set multiple (different) alarms. Both methods are effective, as they will force you to physically shake your slumber.
 

Soak in Some Sunlight


Aside from brightening our moods, the sun (symbolically and actually) allows us to start each day. Indeed, there are real biological and physiological needs for sunlight in the morning. Sunlight triggers our brains to release neurotransmitters (hormones), such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and histamine. Simply put, sunlight makes us feel good!
 
The exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays, provided by direct sunlight, has many health benefits too.  Just 10-30 minutes of exposure can result in stronger bones, healthier blood levels, increased immunity, greater alertness, and improved mood. Studies also suggest that sunlight can help to prevent stress, depression, and inflammation.
 

Skip the Phone Scroll

 
As mobile phones tend to bombard us with messages, emails, and social media updates, it may be wise to avoid checking your screen first thing in the morning. By doing this, you immediately place yourself into an anxiety-inducing situation. You’ll not only be overwhelmed, you’ll be stressed.
 
This particular distraction can negatively affect your time, attention, productivity, and the ability to prioritize tasks. Prolonged use could also lead to sleep disturbances, blurred vision, neck syndrome, and weight gain.
 
Alternatively, try to kickstart your day with activities such as exercise and meditation. In choosing healthier habits, you can keep a calm mind and a calm morning.
 

Keep a Journal

 
Journaling after waking can clear your mind, inspire new ideas, increase your creativity, and build confidence. Also known as Morning Pages, this journaling technique consists of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing. You can jot down anything and everything that comes to mind, including chores, worries, dreams, and goals. There are no wrong ways of doing this exercise, so feel free to organize your thoughts in any manner. The key is to keep writing!
 
Morning Pages are especially beneficial for mental health, as they allow you to reflect, process emotions or events, be self-expressive, and most importantly, prioritize the day. Make sure to write without distractions. After all, these pages are meant to bring you clarity, focus, and direction.
 

The Takeaway

 
While everyone’s needs, schedules, and lifestyles may differ, mornings are crucial for success. They enable you to plan events, prioritize tasks, and set goals. In my experience, a good morning routine has allowed me to prepare for the day ahead, while putting me into an accomplishment state-of-mind.
 
Using many of these hacks, I have not only simplified my mornings, but I have made them more enjoyable. For those of you looking to revamp your current routine, increase your productivity, and maintain your focus, these hacks are definitely worth trying!

 

References

Abrahamsen, S. (2020). What Are Morning Pages? How One New Habit Changed My Life. Little Coffee Fox.
Abramson, A. (2020). In Praise of Morning Light. Medium.
Cameron, J. (2021). Morning Pages. Julia Cameron Live.
Dill, K. (2016). Hack Your Morning: 7 Ways To Get The Day Off To A Great Start. Forbes.
Isip, R. (n.d.). 15 Ways to Simplify Your Morning Routine And Have A Great Morning. Lifehack.
Phelamei, S. (2019). What happens to your body when you look at your phone first thing in the morning? Health News.
Sleep Advisor (2020). The Importance of Morning Sunlight for Better Sleep.
The Everygirl (2020). 12 Morning Routine Hacks For a Calmer Day.
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