Let morning light be your motivation.
The opinions are divided as to whether or not "morning people" are born or made— whether or not some people are just naturally going to have a better time working and being productive in the late hours, or if you can train yourself to become a morning person with practise.
I'm not sure what I believe, but I do think there are a lot of benefits to a) getting lots of sunlight and b) having a consistent routine. Not many of the habits that come with staying up until 3:30am and crashing until noon are great.
I've been a morning person ever since I was a young girl. I distinctly remember my shock and horror as a 5 year old of sleeping to 9am and insisting that I had ruined the whole day. Even as a teenager, when our capabilities for staying up until 4am reading comments on internet forums, or reading, or marathoning the O.C. are at their peak, I was falling asleep in an armchair around nine— a grandmother from the start. I think these tips are useful, however, no matter when you wake up, and they can be used to give your most productive time (whether it's morning, afternoon, or The-Hours-of-Night-I-Never-See) a boost.
I know, I know. This one you probably hear all the time. I hear it all the time— and I still struggle with this one. I grew up in a house where thirsty = juice, or maybe iced tea. I find it really hard to drink water. Plain, with lemon, with carbonation— it's all dreadfully boring to me unless I'm already far too dehydrated for my own good. But I try. Two things that help me here are: Keeping a pitcher of water in the fridge (if you like your water cold, obviously), invest in a really good water bottle, and use it only for water. Too often I've bought a water bottle, only to put juice, or hot things in it, and then neglect to wash it right away, leaving essence-of-things-that-aren't-water, and leading to the water bottle's sitting in the cupboard for the next three years until I finally get rid of it.
Either way, try to drink a large glass right when you wake up. Your skin will look great, and you'll feel a whole lot more awake, since you dehydrate while you're sleeping. I never really believed the effect this would have until I truly committed to drinking that glass in the morning, and I swear to you, it works better than coffee.
A designated water bottle does wonders. I take it with me nearly everywhere, and I always have it with me in the house. That way, I have no choice.
A daily meditate routine is something that I've dabbled in on and off for some time now. But what I know for sure? When I do meditate consistently, I feel so much better— calmer, more focused, more able to handle the challenges of my business, and more able to think clearly about my emotions and reactions to the world around me.
Take just five or ten minutes out of your morning, after you've woken up thoroughly but before you've really started your day to simply sit, and be.
I'm using this app called Calm which is super simple, and super soothing, with the free version having a few guided meditations, as well as some atmospheric sounds like ocean waves, forest rain, and crackling fireplaces (and you can use it on a mobile device or your laptop browser).
This is another really important one that I really struggle with. I don't find a lot of joy in physical activity. I try, somewhat, but it's always been a struggle for me. I could say this comes from years of being a fairly sedentary student, or from a childhood of hating sports and being picked on, but either way, it's on me.
So, for the early morning, this could mean gentle yoga, this could be a five mile run, or it could be a walk. Personally, the times I take my actual, ceramic indoor mug of tea and go for a stroll around the block in the early morning are some of my favourites. Plus, the people who pass you by seem to be so friendly in the morning. Even if your activity takes place inside the house, I really recommend popping outside just for a few minutes to breathe that cooler, fresh morning air— even in Winter. Nothing wakes you up better than standing outside in the Canadian winter with a parka and your pyjamas.
Hello, other morning person. Nice mug.
Now, here I'm not going to give you the usual advice. I get it— some people don't do breakfast. Some people have a hard time having a lot of food early in the morning. That's fine— but do something. I think it's well worth it to get up even ten or fifteen minutes early to sit, by yourself, with a book, a newspaper, a family member, a husband or wife, and have breakfast. Just relax for a few minutes before your day gets going. Sip your coffee or tea, eat a full English breakfast— whatever suits your fancy. Maybe you prefer to sit in silence, maybe you prefer to talk about your plans for the day, if your paths diverge. Maybe you like to sit outside wrapped in a blanket or a big sweater and breathe in the dewy, cool morning.
It's important to take this time, to enjoy the ritual of eating or drinking, even if it's just a tea or orange juice. Although I'm sure there are some people out there who are legitimately too busy to do this, the majority of people come from an 'I-don't-prioritize-this' perspective. And priorities can be shifted.
5. Make a list.
This one is essential to my day. If I don't, I end up in some sort of afternoon slump, half-panic, half-depressed, feeling as though I've done nothing all day, and I've completely wasted my time. Having a list keeps this in check, and I put everything on it.
Feed the cat. Drink water. Eat breakfast. Yoga. Sweep. Make granola bars. Finish assignment. Read before bed. Shower. Knit.
Everything. Especially the little things. If you do this, you can see how much they add up, and really see what you accomplish all day. This way, if you're really not doing much, you know what's going on, and you know how to change it. I often find that I spend some time waffling around, too, wondering what to do next. Without direction, I sit here, I wander there, I waste time online, opening Facebook, closing Facebook, opening Facebook, etc. A list helps the day have momentum.
And not all of these things are chores! I put the things I consider leisure time on here too— those are worthy. Reading is worthy. Yoga is worthy. Making and enjoying a beautiful dinner is worthy of your list.
Finally, if you're not jazzed about some of the things on your list, do them first. As hard as this may be, the sooner your do them and cross them off your list, the better and better your list gets. Plus, once you're through your list (which often happens for me around two or three), you have a whole afternoon and evening to just... be. :)
6. Make time for creativity.
A lot of people think you have to wait for inspiration to be creative, but this could not be further from the truth. Of course, inspiration is great. That's why we Pinterest, talk to others, read blogs, buy books, etc. Inspiration is a useful thing, but it's also something that will hold you back, if you're waiting for it. Creativity can happen even when the lightning bolt of inspiration is miles away, and this happens by making time for creativity.
Scheduling it in. You can create your own inspiration this way, but creativity is just like anything else. You need to make time for it, like a jog, like an assignment, like a blog post. Put it on your list. And then spend that whole amount of time doing whatever it is you consider creative— cooking, writing, knitting, gardening, weaving, crochet, painting, sketching, dancing, singing... You get the idea. The important thing is that you prioritize this thing. For a long time, I had a keyboard, the musical kind. I always wanted to be good at playing, and to play more, but I never practised.
I never had time. Which means, really, that I never made it a priority. There is almost always time. It's amazing what you can get done in thirty minutes, and often, I find the more things I have to do, and the busier I am, the more I get done.
When you have a tight schedule, you simply do.
Or, Samwise gets to the water before you do.
You might also consider putting up a vision board or motivation board for ideas of what to do each morning, and to remind yourself of your goals and dreams right as your day is starting.
The wonderful thing is, these tips can be useful no matter when your morning is. If your peak of productivity is the early afternoon, do it then. If you're a night bird, then instead. But morning works the best for me.