In the last year I have made a real conscious effort to make a better use of my mornings.
Before you judge, I want to stress I am not a morning person. I never have been and I doubt I ever will be. Getting up early is hard, I love my sleep. But once I’m out of bed I do see huge benefits to adding extra time to my day.
The main change I’ve made in the last year is to start going to the gym first thing to get exercise done and off my list.
But once I’m back in the door there is always the temptation to open the computer immediately. Then I inevitably get bogged down in emails and whatever the internet wants to throw at me. Suddenly all that precious time full of potential has disappeared.
So after I’ve showered off the gym I now try to use the time as wisely as possible, doing a few of the things on the list below to really set me up for the day.
Disclaimer: I am in a privileged position! I don’t have children or a commute, so I understand I have more time than many before firing up the computer at the start of a day. I’m not saying I do all 10 of these things every morning. That would be crazy. I manage 3-4 and that’s on a good day.
However whatever your circumstances, I would argue you could try squeezing in at least one of these activities before you press the ‘ON’ button.
Why not give it a go and see what difference it makes?
1. Write a to-do list
This is the simplest of all. Before you open your computer, do you actually know what you want to achieve today?
Grab a notepad and a pen and write down what needs to get done. I always advocate doing it on paper because there is something extremely satisfying about crossing things off a physical list, rather than just letting them disappear off a screen.
2. Write 3 things you’re grateful for
Having a gratitude practise has become very trendy lately. I gave it a go for 4 months and really saw the benefits of writing down things I was grateful for each day which in turn helped me to see more positivity throughout my day.
There are absolutely no hard and fast rules about having a gratitude practise. You could write 3 things, 5 things or 20 things. And it doesn’t have to be done every day!
If you can give yourself just 2 minutes before you start the computer this simple exercise will rewire your brain to see more great things in your life.
3. Listen to a podcast
I am obsessed with podcasts and I always start my morning listening to something that will inspire me. I usually have it on while I get dressed and put my make-up on and even while I’m making my breakfast.
4. Eat your breakfast without distractions
When you eat your breakfast, how often are you doing something else? Probably reading your emails, right?
I did that for years. But I’ve really tried to cut back. Your gut will thank you for it: focusing on just eating mindfully, really tasting your food and feeling appreciative for the meal you’ve been served sets you up for a more relaxed start to the day.
Want some breakfast inspiration? Check out my recipes.
5. Plan your next meal
Nothing makes me happier than eating one meal and planning the next! If you are like me and hit 13.30 without even realising, starving hungry, use a tiny window of time in the morning to set yourself up for lunch.
Even though I work from home I often get a meal I’ve pre-prepared out of the freezer, or at least glance through the fridge to assess what I can make come lunch time. Taking just 30 seconds to set myself up means I can fuel myself for the afternoon too.
6. Write in a journal
Sometimes are minds are crazy busy already in the morning before we even open the computer and deal with the onslaught. If there are thoughts rushing around in there, why not pick up a pen and get them out? Just writing a few lines about how you’re feeling or what’s in your head might help clear things out.
7. Read a page of a book
Always say you want to read more but never get around to it? Why not read just a page of a book before you open up your screen? You might get sucked in to reading more than one page if it’s a great book, but would that be such a bad thing?
8. Tidy your workspace
I realising tidying isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I honestly believe a tidy space is a tidy mind. If you know during the day you often feel overwhelmed and unable to prioritise with everything your inbox throws at you, having a clear desk can make all the difference. I’m not saying it’ll get your to-do list done, but it will help you keep a sense of calm when it all feels a bit much.
I moved these slightly woo-woo suggestions to the end of the list so I didn’t put you off. But honestly, they’re game changers if you can commit the time.
Meditation is amazing for the brain and can positively impact stress, focus, mood and self-compassion. If you want to get started I’d highly recommend an app like Headspace or Calm to begin with guided meditations rather than sitting alone with your thoughts.
If you can’t manage a meditation, then have you thought about incorporating mindfulness into your day? Read my blog post on why you need to take it seriously.
10. Listen to and repeat some affirmations
Affirmations are sentences aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind. The amazing thing about your thoughts is you’re in control of them.
You can find affirmations online and places like Pinterest (I have a whole board of Affirmations). But the best ones are statements that really resonate with you and counteract the negative little nelly in your brain. If they make you buzz with excitement and send a little surge of energy through you when you read or say them, they’re the right ones for you.
What do you think? What do you do before starting your computer in the morning to set you up for the day? I’d love to hear your suggestions!
If you like these ideas pin them to Pinterest so you remember them!