We all have a love-hate relationship with mornings.
While we embrace those post-sunrise moments during the weekends and holidays, we curse those similar time-stamped hours when work needs to be completed.
I may write ‘all’, but the truth is no longer this. And I know I am not the only one who does not mind taking on a new day with zest and valour. In the end, it is all the same.
It took me a while to reframe how I looked at mornings. There were ample times when I came home as soon as many of us blue and white-collar workers poured in their first coffee, ready to make a difference. Punch a hole in the day and leave a mark.
I left my marks at one of the many bars and clubs, all for the sake of hammering down more alcohol and securing business deals. My playing grounds were the well-known and lesser-known regions of downtown Bangkok.
A shower, a cup of six of that magic black brew called coffee before 9 am. I was off to be productive for another couple of hours. Or at least, I made an attempt. The longer I splashed out from dawn to dusk, the less productive I became.
And with the physical and mental side effects, you may not even want to wish on your worst enemy.
Mornings must be considered non-negotiable. Ideally, 7 days a week to stay on top of your game. Just to max out your performance and energy levels. But as we do not live in an ideal world, I uphold the Pareto Principle still as my to-aim formula.
If it works, why change it?
And so far, I haven’t noticed any ill side effects when I am taken off-guard from my morning routine in one way or the other.
Doubt that I have to point out how some of this world has etched their morning routines into the world wide web. Like a military regime, these actors and entrepreneurs soldier on from when many still enjoy the last stages of REM sleep. Not for the faint-hearted, but again, it works for them.
So why change it?
All come with solutions and must-dos to explode from the starting blocks on a coming day. Entrench this, make sure you do that, and to alleviate that afternoon dip, kick this off your list before hugging the coffee machine and indulging in the sweet/salty/savoury world of snacking.
It evolves around what you must do to give yourself that little advance. But they hardly tell you what NOT to do.
We all want to get better in our morning routes. The savaging effects of inconsistency are irregularly adding and subtracting what one feels must be done. Or rather not be done because we ease into comfort mode or find excuses to procrastinate a bit more on what we had to do the day before.
That last part is crucial. Your following day starts the evening before. And here lies a massive caveat why one must avoid doing specific tasks in the appropriate time slot.
Don’t plan your day in the morning
Do it the evening before. Or plan one week in advance. I can guarantee you, you will sleep better. By dumping all that you have accumulated the day before on paper, you give your mind the chance to get rid of what it does not want to take into dreamland. You give your tasks a permanent spot outside your mind, and that’s what your mind really likes.
What it does as well is that it relieves you from some stress and anxiety. Wasting time in the morning – as you rush to get out of bed and get ready for whatever the day brings – is not what you want.
Don’t make a plan in the morning. Have a plan for the evening before.
Don’t make unimportant decisions
We are creatures of habits, and our habits define us. There is more time to spend on preparing your decisions to do the day before in order of importance, urgency, and when your energy levels are peaking.
The riff-raff of those taking 2nd or 3rd stage importance can overwhelm us quickly. Those are the icing on the cake. I strongly recommend automating as many decisions as you can that you define as a morning routine. Especially when these do not contribute, making you a more effective and efficient performer.
Don’t forget to exercise
That moving around during the night may burn off some calories, but it often does not trigger the right hormones to catapult into a more productive mode. Science and research point out that even a 20-minute stretch, a leisurely jog, or a quick bout of weightlifting reps, have a positive effect on the 12 hours to come.
Moody at the end of the day? Maybe you ignored what I just wrote. And no, it is not one of those afternoon dips where food and drinks are draped over your desk.
You simply do not respect what your body prefers.
Don’t ignore the rising sun
Attuning your body when a new day arrives is just one of these morning routine habits many of us tend to skip. For the comfort of their own bed or scrolling through your social media feeds (this is another don’t, but we all know this).
Early morning sunlight sets and synchronises your circadian clock i.e. your body clock. Running at the speed of approximately 24 hours, like a stem fork hitting a piano wire, this fine-tuning of your internal clockwork is done primarily through light. And the best source of light is and remains the sun.
Morning light has a plethora of qualities that are the perfect way to match your clock with what lies ahead.
It is with many things in life. Consistency is key.
And morning routines are no exception. Internally, our body has no clue whether it is Saturday or Tuesday yet we presume that we deserve this split because we think it is for our own best.
Also, the sun will not delay peaking over the horizon in the east when the weekend has arrived.
Just 4 points to consider when you struggle to set yourself up for a winning day. If something does not work, reevaluate and see what may be the thing that needs replacement. Change is a constant, and that’s hard to accept. Be sure that you change with it otherwise the changes will hold on to you in a not-so-preferred manner.
Because the key is to do what makes you most successful.
Not what your idol says as he/she is kicking it off at 4 am in the morning.
Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. | Dalai Lama