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26 May 2017
The best and more important way to make sure you have the best start to the day is to make sure you get enough sleep in the first place. You’ll wake up refreshed - not groggy and exhausted. But, it’s not just about how long you’re asleep for, or even the quality of your sleep, that can make a difference. Waking up to a screaming alarm in the middle of your deepest stage of sleep is a sure-fire way to get your day off to a bad start.
Apps like SleepCycle monitor your sleep so you wake up when you’re in the lightest stage of sleep, and so you’re much more refreshed. Set the time you want to be awake by and the app will wake you upany time in a half hour window when you’re sleeping the lightest. So, you don’t just wake up refreshed, you’ll also find yourself with some extra time in your morning. Bonus!
It might sound counterproductive, but people who exercise in the morning are happier and more energised throughout the day than those who don’t. Set your alarm a bit earlier in the morning and squeeze in a workout before anyone else is even out of bed. It’s a great feeling to tick something off your to-do list before you even get to work!
In the morning, an extra few minutes in bed usually takes priority over everything else - hurrah for the snooze button, right?! In reality, getting up earlier in the morning to allow for some quiet time can be much more beneficial. Meditation may sound overwhelming, so try setting a timer for just 5 minutes and use that time to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. The benefits are overwhelming, from improved concentration and memory to improved happiness. And who doesn’t want that?
We live in a world of overwhelming choices. Gone are the days of 10-track CDs – we have thousands, millions, of songs at our finger tips. We can have almost anything we want for dinner thanks to the range of food in supermarkets and delivery options. We can even find articles on any topic online.
It’s exhausting, isn’t it?
While we crave choice, it’s often debilitating. Research has found we only have a certain amount of decision making power per day, and using it on minor choices like what to wear or what to make for breakfast, it leaves us with less brain power for bigger decisions we may need to make later in the day.
Take getting dressed. Ever noticed that Barack Obama always wears a grey or blue suit? Or Mark Zuckerberg always wears a grey tshirt? Both have been cited to say that they have so many decisions to make per day, deciding what to wear isn’t one of them.
While we’re not suggesting you wear the same thing every day, planning your outfits at the start of the week, and meal planning for the week gives you fewer decisions to make for the rest of the day.
As soon as your alarm goes off put your feet on the floor. Do it. Do it straight away. Don’t question it. Just put your feet on the floor. Once you’ve done that, everything will be just a little bit easier.
Our brains love routine, so set yourself a plan each day that you can stick to. It doesn’t have to mean getting up two hours earlier every day to practice yoga; it can be as simple as taking five minutes in the morning to meditate. How about making time to have a proper breakfast and a cup of tea? It can make your morning less frazzled which sets a much more positive tone for the day.
If you can, try to keep this routine at the weekends to avoid Monday mornings being a struggle every week!
Along with a better morning routine, it’s essential to create a better bedtime routine, too. If you’re going to start getting up earlier, you need to go to bed earlier, too, so you don’t end up burning out! Turn off your phone an hour before bed, make yourself a hot drink and do something relaxing before bed.
It’s easy to get up earlier in the morning and then spend that extra time scrolling through social media! If you know you can’t help yourself from falling down the rabbit hole, keep your phone on airplane mode and don’t check it until you’ve done everything else you need to do in the morning.
We don’t always feel inspired first thing in the morning, so this is a great time to watch, listen or read something that’s going to motivate you for the rest of your day. Watch a TED talk during breakfast, listen to a podcast as you get ready or even read the summary of that book you’ve never had time to read. It’s a great way to start your day on a positive note.
If you travel by bus, you can get your day off to a great start before you even reach the office. Use the on-bus WiFi to check your emails so you can jump straight into your daily tasks when you get to your desk. Use your commute to get focused and ready for the day ahead (and then you can use your commute home to catch up with the latest TV series!).