For good or for bad, your mornings set the tone for your day, and your habits determine the quality of your life.
According to psychologist Ron Friedman, the first three hours of your day are the most important for productivity and focus. Friedman told Harvard Business Review that during this three-hour window, we could make some strong contributions in terms of planning, thinking, and speaking well.
If we start our mornings with intention, we can better focus on what is in front of us, where to prioritize our time, and, ultimately, increase our productivity. Productivity is not always about how much we are getting done but can also refer to the level of quality and intention we give to tasks.
Sticking to a daily morning routine can be challenging, so you need to know why you’re doing it. Make sure to define your “why” clearly. If you don’t know why you’re working hard to develop a morning routine, it’s more likely that you’ll get stressed, burn out, and give up. However, things become much more manageable if you’re passionate about your why. Think about what you hope to get from a productive morning routine, then ask yourself why you want these things.
When developing new habits, it’s best to start slow and take gradual steps over time. For example, if you usually wake up at 9:00 AM, don’t shock your system by setting your alarm clock for 5:00 AM. Instead, change gradually but consistently. Try setting your alarm for 8:30 AM, then once you’re consistent, move it to 8:00 AM and so on. After a few consistent wins, you can try increasing the challenge by setting your alarm back an hour instead of 30 minutes.
There is often the assumption that you have to wake up at 4:00 AM to have a productive morning routine. Productivity professionals suggest listening to yourself because you know what is realistic for you to do and maintain. Nothing will work unless you’re consistent. As Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” If you want to create a productive morning routine that can change your life, you need to be in it for the long haul, so commit.
By sticking to an effective morning routine for at least the first hour of your day, you’ll set yourself up for success and live a more balanced, fulfilled life.