Work from home mornings are a different type of animal. Whereas pre-COVID-19, we couldn’t ignore our snooze button and had to get to work or to the office before the 8am traffic hit, there’s now a more compelling tendency than ever to stay in bed a little longer, shuffle slowly through a semblance of a morning routine, and put off our work until later. That same lack of a structured schedule that has you working through dinner can also make those slow mornings unproductive.
Yet, mornings are still prime time to get our best work done. Some say that the morning is peak time for creativity. At the very least, getting up before your Zoom meetings will provide some extra time to get ahead of the day, which can help you have a better day in general. Since work from home shows no sign of going away soon, we could all use some supercharging tips to make the most of the mornings.
1. Get Everything Ready The Night Beforehand
It’s just like that funny phrase – the worst lie we tell ourselves as adults is that we’ll put gas in the car in the morning (as a way of avoiding it tonight). Procrastinating the things we need to do in the morning can be overwhelming right when we wake up. Instead, give yourself a helping hand. Schedule the coffee maker, choose your outfit, and even have your list of 2-3 to-do’s to get done before your first call or meeting. That way, everything is planned out for you, and your creative power can go to the tasks at hand.
The time at which we go to bed the night before is also critical. You may have heard the old adage that every hour of sleep before midnight counts as two hours of quality sleep. While this myth has been tossed around, sleep doctor Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan shared that this can in part have some veracity due to the circadian timer that’s in each of our brains. “Every cell in the body is linked to the movements of the earth and the moon…As the light level drops below a certain limit, it sends a message to the pineal gland through the eyes, and then every cell in the body starts adjusting its functions,” she noted.
It’s natural for us to rise and fall with the sun. So, when you’re feeling a bit tired after the sun has gone down, consider turning in early so you can be more well-rested to rise with the sun.
2. Get Moving Immediately
Glenn Lundy is the founder of the #RiseAndGrind morning show, and teaches companies across the nation about morning routines for success. His morning routine includes five steps, featuring ‘never hitting the snooze button,’ not looking at your phone first thing, writing down your gratitude and your goals, and sending a message of encouragement to someone else. His fourth step is to get moving in some way. “Whether you’re crawling, walking, or running, get the blood pumping,” Lundy recommends. “An object in motion tends to stay in motion. An object at rest tends to stay at rest.”
Think about it: the slow, sleepy mornings tend to lead to slow, sleepy days. But if you get up and go first thing, you’re more likely to blow through your to-do list with fervor. This is in alignment with his first routine recommendation: to never hit the snooze button. The second that alarm goes off, tap into your Mel Robbins ‘five second rule’ and jolt out of bed like a rocket for a productive day. Take a walk around the block, do some yoga stretches, or even knock out some squats while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew.
3. Leave The Email Checking Until Later
Just as Lundy says that there’s nothing on your phone that won’t still be there later, consider leaving your email tab or app totally closed until you’ve knocked out a few to-do items and thoroughly embraced the day. According to Sleep Advisor, more than half of all Americans start their day by checking their email. In other words, they roll over after their alarms go off to check. Are you guilty of this?
Here’s the issue: it disrupts work-life balance and gets you into a frenzy before you’ve even had your second cup of coffee. Rather than being in charge of your morning mentally and emotionally, you’re now at the whim of what emails you need to reply to and your to-do list begins to mount. You can get to your emails later. Your morning is a sacred time.
We’re all adjusting to work-from-home. Take steps to integrate speed back into the tendency to stay slow. That way, when the weekend comes around, you can truly enjoy slow mornings like you would when your weeks were spent in the office.