Every morning is a blank sheet. It’s an opportunity to change one day for the better. And that’s what makes up our lives. If you want to achieve your goals, ask yourself: what do you do after awakening and how do you feel?
1 Don’t use the “snooze” button
We usually hate the sound of the alarm clock, so we press the snooze button or pause the alarm: I don’t want to get out of a warm bed, leave me alone. Although after 10 extra minutes of sleep we feel worse.
When we wake up, our body starts to produce dopamine, a chemical that overpowers our sleepiness. Its action is comparable to a cup of coffee or energy. When we sleep, serotonin, a hormone of pleasure, is produced.
When we reset the alarm, two hormones with the opposite effect are produced at the same time. Because of this load on the body, we wake up disoriented and inhibited.
2 Consider not only the award
To motivate ourselves for a certain action, for example, to wake up early in the morning and take a shower, we use rewards. But as Charles Duhigg, author of “The Strength of Habit”, says, a reward alone isn’t enough to make a habit stick.
We need to identify the signal that leads to unwanted behavior and replace it. For example, instead of pressing the off button on the alarm clock and falling asleep again, you can reward yourself with a cup of coffee. This can be signaled by the smell of coffee in the room. If you live with someone, ask them to make you a cup each time you wake up.
3 Follow a suitable strategy
On average, an adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep, but for some, 6 hours is enough, while others need more than 10 hours. One person needs a shower and another one just needs a cup of coffee to cheer them up. Determine which category of people you belong to, and it will be easier for you to develop your own strategy and understand what advice to follow.
Gretchen Rubin in her book “Better than before” writes that all people can be divided into four groups depending on how they are motivated by the award:
- Adherents of rules and procedures: they always follow the rules, both external (established by the superiors) and internal (which they invent themselves).
- Bound by a promise: they only work well under pressure from authority and when they feel a valid commitment to others.
- Those who seek common sense in everything: they need inner motivation for each job, some sense for themselves, if they find it, they do the job.
- Insurgents: Any task makes them want to do the opposite.
4 Wake up from natural light
In one experiment, a group of adults suffering from insomnia was sent on a hiking trip for a week. In a few days without artificial lighting, the participants of the experiment not only fell asleep faster but also got up easily in the morning. Sleep inertia was almost completely gone.
The study’s organizer, Kenneth Wright, came to the following conclusion: to sleep well at night and wake up easily in the early morning, you have to wake up with the sun.
It’s quite possible to do this in a city environment: sleep in a room with a window or better put a bed closer to the window to get the maximum amount of light in the morning.
Meditation suits everyone. At the same time, everyone should have their own way of doing it. There are dozens of its varieties, conscious, transcendental, yogic. But no specialist can say for sure which one suits you.
But the benefits of meditation are quite obvious: the level of anxiety decreases, productivity increases, memory improves.
For example, with the help of MRI, scientists have found a decrease in the activity of beta waves in the brain after a 20-minute meditation. This means that during meditation, the brain stops processing distracting information, so we calm down.
6 Minimize the decision-making
We’re all tired of making decisions. This process takes away our strength, so it becomes increasingly difficult for us to make choices in the future.
“As you can see, I only wear gray and blue suits. That’s how I try to make fewer decisions. I don’t want to waste my energy thinking about what I’m going to eat or wear. Because I have too many other things to do.” Barack Obama
To simplify the process, Obama uses special notes, which are divided into three stacks on his desk: “agree”, “disagree” and “let’s discuss”. This method speeds up the feedback cycle several times, which means that things are getting done faster.
To spend your morning more productively, think about the decisions you can make every day automatically. Here are a few simple steps to take to help you: choose your outfit before going to bed, eat the same thing for breakfast, get up early to avoid traffic jams.
7 Eat that frog
Psychologist Brian Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” writes that each of us has our own frog, the biggest and most important task we will scribble over.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Mark Twain
So the first thing you need to do in the morning is to eat your biggest frog, even if you don’t want to. Our willpower reserves are limited, so you have to start the day with an important task while you still have strength.
Besides, the level of creativity is higher in the morning. This is confirmed by research: after awakening, people have increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for creativity.
8 Do one important thing
Psychologist Kevin Kruse studying the habits of millionaires, Olympic champions, and entrepreneurs found that none of them mentioned to-do lists.
There are several disadvantages of to-do lists:
- Time is not taken into account. When a person sees a long list of things to do, he or she starts with tasks that will take less time. That’s why the tasks that require a consistent, long time to complete remain unfinished (about 41% of the list, according to iDoneThis).
- There is no difference between urgent and important tasks. Again, in response to the impulse, we rush to do what is urgent and ignore what is important.
- The level of stress increases. The to-do list provokes the psychologically known Zeigarnik effect: unfinished tasks lead to annoying, uncontrollable thoughts in the head. That’s why we feel tired all day, and at night, we hardly fall asleep.
Instead of a to-do list, choose only one thing you have to finish today. Once it’s done, you will feel satisfied and will easily deal with the remaining smaller tasks.
Get ready in the evening
How well you feel when you wake up and throughout the day will depend on how well you have slept.
Numerous studies have shown that electronic devices contribute to disrupting sleep cycles. If you have regular problems, try to turn off all devices 2-3 hours before going to bed (this applies to e-books as well).
In the evening, it’s necessary not only to sleep but also to decide how to spend tomorrow.
Greg McKeown, author of “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”, recommends that before planning your next day, you first write down in your diary how your day went. If you don’t figure out what you’ve done right and wrong today, you won’t be able to make a productive plan of action for tomorrow.
How to plan things? We have already mentioned that successful people rarely use to-do lists. However, Cruz noticed that almost all of them use the calendar.
The method of scheduling tasks in the calendar doesn’t have all those disadvantages of to-do lists:
- you can manage your time;
- you can schedule the most important things to do at the beginning of the day when you still have willpower reserves;
- you will avoid overstretching as you can include scheduled breaks in your calendar.
10 Take a shower to wake up
Misogi, or wake-up showers, are a ritual practiced by Japanese samurai. Every morning, they poured a bucket of cold water on their bodies.
The domestic analog of the misogi is a contrast shower when we alternate streams of hot and cold water.
If you decide to experience a contrast shower on yourself, follow this order:
- First, wash in the shower at a normal temperature. Then, turn the faucet so that the water becomes very cold. Stand under a cold shower for 30 seconds.
- Now, turn the faucet to make the water very hot. Under this shower, the capillaries open, and the blood circulation improves. Stand under it for 30 seconds.
- Switch back to cold water, stand for another 30 seconds.
It seems very simple, but at first, you may experience a real shock.
Every morning, Benjamin Franklin would ask himself, “What good could I do today?” Before you go to work, you have to regain your strength and prepare for a new day. This is the only way you can do something meaningful.
Everyone will have a perfect start in the morning. Someone likes to listen to music in the morning, read, and check the schedule. Make the perfect schedule for yourself. We hope our recommendations will help you do that.
Author Bio: Roy is a literary enthusiast, a loving father of twins, a programmer in a custom software company, editor in chief of DishwasherFAQ.com, a greedy reader, and a gardener.