As the American writer, Lemony Snicket once wrote in The Blank Book,
“How you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
Here’s a surprising truth:
As important as our mornings are, most of us never deliberately think of what we do with them. We just let things flow, hoping that we’ll figure it out as the day unfolds.
Sometimes this works out well. But most times it doesn’t. And on those bad days, we lie on our beds at the end of the day, exhausted, wondering what we did with the day. To stop this from happening again, here are six things you can fix today.
1. Checking social media
Once I watch one short on YouTube, I’m spending at least another 10 minutes before I realize that I should be doing something else.
Social media is designed to be addictive. The more you stay on those platforms, the more money the companies make. This is why shorts have become so popular.
They’ve discovered that the attention span of the average human being is becoming shorter and shorter, so they quickly found a means to keep us glued to the screen.
Tiktok did it, and it worked like crazy. Next Facebook and YouTube got in as well. But the price we all pay for these “innovations” is our mental health, as several studies have linked the excessive use of social media with anxiety and depression.
What’s the point here?
There’s nothing wrong with using social media. But I’m sure there are other more important things you can spend your time on first thing in the morning.
Besides the fact that social media will waste your time, it’s going to destabilize your morning.
Once you get a hit of that dopamine, you’re going to keep scrolling endlessly. And because of this, you might struggle to keep your focus throughout the day.
Instead of social media, start your mornings with more mindful stuff, like meditation, yoga, workout, a podcast, a book or audiobook, etc. Starting your day like this will give you the balanced energy you need to keep the day productive.
Keep social media for leisure later in the day.
2. Unhealthy breakfast
According to experts, one of the reasons why breakfast is so important is because it replenishes your glucose supply after your body has gone through fasting throughout the night.
And it doesn’t just end there.
Since you’ll most likely get the most important stuff done in the morning, eating a good breakfast makes you more alert and your memory sharp. Why?
Well, according to experts, when you wake up in the morning, a good breakfast replenishes your blood sugar. And your brain and muscles need this blood sugar to work at their best.
Whenever I skip breakfast because I feel I’m too busy to eat, things quickly go downhill.
I have headaches, my focus suffers, and I tend to get exhausted faster.
But better than not skipping breakfast is making an effort to eat a healthy breakfast every morning.
If you think you’re too busy to prepare a healthy breakfast every morning, you can bulk prep your meals. Pick a day or two to bulk cook a bunch of healthy meals in advance so you can easily get to them every morning.
3. Planning on the go
We often put things off, not because we’re lazy, but because we are overwhelmed by the things we need to do.
I know how frustrating it can be to wake up not knowing what you want to do next. Sure, I know I have a lot to do, but picturing everything in my head, from replying to emails and writing another draft to making some important calls, I just turn to social media and try to cool off.
And before I know it, it’s 45 minutes gone already. This is what happens when you don’t have a plan for your day.
I get it. If you’re a very busy person, it can feel like planning itself is a waste of time. But the only reason you feel this way is because you try planning your day at the wrong time.
The best time to plan your day is the night before. You’ll be clearer on the direction you’ll be going immediately when you wake up.
In the cool of the evening, or before you sleep, put down a list of the things you need to get done the next day.
It doesn’t have to be too specific. But it will help you know the time you should be on a particular task. This helps me manage my time and keep from decision-making paralysis.
4. Hitting the snooze button
Hitting the snooze button has more harmful effects than you might think.
You’ve probably heard of the circadian rhythm. It’s the internal clock that your body and your brain follow. And the part of your day that has the most impact on your circadian rhythm is your sleep-wake cycle.
When you keep hitting the snooze button, you’re messing with your circadian rhythm.
First of all, the alarm is going to cut your sleep short, then the continuous ringing after you hit the snooze is going to cause more disturbance to your circadian rhythm.
Secondly, hitting the snooze button is like procrastinating before the day even starts. It means you set a goal for yourself, and you’ve failed to do what you set out to do.
Sure, it is easier said than done. But the next time your alarm rings, try and get up the first time you hear it.
I once ruined my day because I checked my Medium stats in the morning.
I’m usually very mindful of things like this. I avoid checking my AdSense earnings, my medium stats, or even replying to emails in the morning. Why?
Well, some days you don’t see what you like. And when things are not working out the way I want, I easily get stressed and unmotivated.
As studies have also confirmed, negativity causes stress. Imagine being stressed before your day even starts.
Yours may not be bad stats or angry emails. It may simply be complaining about your life. And that simple thought about how terrible things are is enough to take away all the enthusiasm you had in you for the day.
Think about how great you often feel whenever you hear good news. What if you could manufacture that good feeling yourself?
Make it a deliberate effort to think of the things you are grateful for when you wake up in the morning.
Just as negative thinking causes stress, positive thinking has also been linked to better well-being and higher creativity in people.
6. Irregular wake-up time
A regular bedtime is more important than you might think.
Several studies show that people who have irregular bedtime have a lesser quality of sleep. They are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night, unable to continue their sleep.
And the major reason for this is that irregular sleep messes with your circadian rhythm.
The body takes some time to get used to how you sleep. And once it gets accustomed to a particular sleeping schedule, it becomes easier for you to fall asleep and wake up at a particular time. This is why when you use your alarm to wake up religiously for a long time, soon you won’t need that alarm anymore.
Your body has gotten used to that schedule.
But the contrary happens when you have irregular bedtime. You confuse your body and this will negatively impact your circadian rhythm.
Establish a consistent bedtime for yourself. Not only will it help your circadian rhythm, but it will also help you have better sleep and more productive mornings.
We always wake up in the morning with big goals. We try to get as much done as we can. But we often forget the most important part of the day.
What if those bad unproductive days didn’t happen because you were lazy? Maybe you just had a bad morning.
Learn to always get your morning right, then the rest of the day will more likely end up fulfilling and productive.