Getting moving and starting to be productive in the morning is something I’ve struggled with anyway but at the time of writing the whole world is in the midst of pandemic panic with Covid-19 and a lot of us are self-isolating and staying at home. It’s even more important right now to hold on to a routine and feel productive in some way. It’s important for our mental health to feel like we achieve things – even small things – and not to just sit around and do nothing. So in this blog post I’m sharing some ways that you can boost your morning productivity and set your positive mindset for the day.
If you’re struggling to keep on top of your mental health right now take a look at my blog post on using your journal for mental health.
Plan the Night Before
My first tip is to take 5 minutes before you go to sleep and make a little plan or schedule of the next day.
This can help ease the anxiety some people feel over how they’re going to fill their day. For someone who’s struggling with their mental health it can actually be quite a daunting task to have to fill an entire day if they don’t have specific plans.
When I sit down and make a little plan of how I’m going to fill my time I find that not only do I wake up with a more formed plan of how I’m going to use my time I don’t find the day so daunting and I often feel better if I’m productive in the morning.
Don’t Press Snooze
I’m very guilty of this. My alarm goes off at 7:15 but I often don’t get out of bed until after 8am. I’m a serial snoozer and it makes me feel more tired when I finally do get up. It’s now got the point where it’s a fully formed habit that I know I have to break. Awake Sarah will sternly tell herself that tomorrow she ‘will get up straight away at 7am’ but unfortunately Sleepy Groggy Sarah doesn’t feel the same and she goes for the snooze button every time.
One way I’m going to try and rectify this is to just give in to Groggy Sarah a bit and set a later alarm and just get up straight away. Another slightly more brutal way to combat this is to invest in an ‘annoying’ alarm clock. I’ve previously used Alarmy which is a horrible but effective alarm app that will get you jumping out of bed.
Another thing I’m guilty of is waking up and staying in bed to scroll through Instagram or getting up but then plonking myself in front of the morning news to sip my tea for a good half an hour. I may as well have just stayed in bed. I find I’m most productive when I get up and make myself breakfast straight away and eat it NOT in front of the TV. This is the time I might get my journal out to look over my day and fill in my habit trackers to help me feel a little more with it. It’s a relaxing task and it sets your intentions for your morning productivity spurt.
A lot of people also recommend physical exercise. Personally I’d find it really hard to go for a run straight away but I am able to do gentle yoga practices – even while I’m still in my pyjamas! I literally roll out of bed onto my yoga mat and follow a video that I’ve selected the night before. There you’ve already done some light exercise and set positive intentions for the day. I highly recommend the wonderful Yoga with Adriene for all types of yoga videos. I’ve followed her videos for over a year and a half daily and I can testify that they make a big difference to your daily life and sense of productivity.
Make Your Bed
It’s a little thing that always helps me feel like I have my life a little bit more together. It doesn’t take long and it looks tidy. I see so many quotes about this – some say it’s the marker of a successful person. I just think its an easy habit to build and then even if you get nothing else done that day – you did make your bed. It’s also the most effective way for me to stop myself getting back into it and being lazy which is a sure way to kill any prospect of morning productivity.
Sometime I can still be productive in pyjamas, but not often. For those days when you’re feeling really fed up just go for it and do your hair and makeup if you want to! Even if you’re not going out put on that nice outfit. Maybe even experiment. But wear something that helps you feel put together and confident if you need a boost. You might decide you still want to be comfortable but even so change it to other comfy clothes – don’t just stay in your pyjamas. At least then you can say you did technically ‘get dressed’.
Plan Breaks and Turbo Your Tasks
Rather than trying to slog out a really long working session give yourself a break and work in shorter bursts of productivity. Don’t punish yourself if your productivity starts to wane, in the end that’s usually a downward spiral into feeling like an unproductive mess. Just have a break for half an hour!
When I’m struggling to complete a task I often walk away for a little bit, get myself a coffee and get myself set up ready to attack that one task full on. I tell myself not to start exploring other little tidbit tasks that can wait. Then I set a timer or even film a time lapse of myself working until the timer goes off or I finish the task.