how I became a morning person – 6 ways to hack your mornings

improve yourself

“Here’s some of the things I’ve changed in my life to become a morning person.

1_A good morning starts the night before.

Get all the things you need ready the night before. It’s a double time saving as some morning-tasks take longer as your brain is still waking up. I get my laptop and gym-bag by the front-door ready to go and get my clothes in a pile ready to put on.

Mentally prepare for the next day by scanning your calendar. Knowing what’s on and where you need to be, removes any lingering questions from your head.

Clear your mind for sleep. Phil Jones, MD of Brother UK and president of Forever Manchester, told me he has an iPad by his bed to note down anything on his mind so he can wipe it from his conscious and have a good night’s sleep. He can then pick up his thoughts again in the morning.

Work out what helps you sleep. Getting to sleep is a challenge for almost all and so much has been written on how to get a great night’s sleep; what worked for me was simply reading, and occasionally herbal sleeping pills.

2_Improve the transition from fast asleep to wide awake.

Use a Fitbit as an alarm. It’s a wrist-based fitness tracker that’s comfortable enough to be worn in bed, and it includes a silent vibrating alarm. It’s a far more gentle way to wake up, with the added benefit of waking just you up, and not your partner.

Don’t hit the snooze button. A study in 1999 that involved Harvard Medical School found that the going back in to sleep mode disrupted your ability to concentrate.

Get a Wake Up light. These devices simulate sunrise, filling a bedroom with a glow around thirty minutes before wake-up.

3_Wake up earlier and make it count.

Reclaim the morning and get up earlier. There’s no feeling like being in the office at 7am and having a full 2 hours before everyone else comes online. Don’t aim too early at first; stagger yourself back slowly in twenty minute increments.

Don’t waste those extra hours in the office. Set yourself micro-goals that will impact on your day, with a 9am deadline. I want to wrap up my replies to urgent emails, set out my to-do list for the day and I like to include a social element. Catching up with a member of the team before 9am is a rewarding way to start the day.

4_Reward yourself every morning.

Do something you wouldn’t normally do each day, something that makes you happy.It’s a great to hack your morning to increase productivity, but if you can build in something that also makes you happy then you have a double win. It doesn’t have to be complicated; a donut at your desk, a smoothie and a newspaper in a quiet part of the office or something that has bacon in it.

5_Exercise to gain energy in the morning, not lose it.

Do it. Do it. Exercise first thing. Exercise in the morning gives energy, rather than taking it. I always hit the gym first thing: it gets my body and mind fully awake to hit the rest of the day.

Get someone else to motivate you. I love training alone, but I never put in as much work at the gym as when I’m with someone else.

Exercise gets you out the house earlier. There’s no need for a shower if I’m going to be caked in sweat in twenty minutes, so the only thing standing between me and leaving my house is putting on my gym kit.

6_Save coffee till later. Go water. Go juice. Go vitamins.

Ease the body in with something that isn’t coffee. Sleep is hard work for the brain, it needs to make sense of all the craziness of your day. When you wake up, don’t provoke it with coffee, but feed it with the hydration and nutrients it needs to get up and running.

There are other coffees. Early morning nutrition is vital.

Go Berocca. Just launched in the US, Berocca fills you with vitamins and gets you hydrated with water.

Have an awesome morning tomorrow!”.

Al Mackin co-founder & CEO of Formisimo and founder & chairman of theEword

16 tips for getting 90 percent of your work done before lunch

work smarter

“You can get 90 percent or more of your work done in the morning. How? I’m going to give you 16 amazing productivity tips, but first let me set the stage:

  • First, I’m defining work as stuff that you do (important stuff). Ideally, meetings can be shoved out of the picture.
  • Second, this approach is built on the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percen of your efforts. Getting your work done in the morning means that you can take a leaner approach to the important tasks —a smart approach.

1_Schedule your day the night before
Every day, you should list all your tasks and when you’re going to do them the following day. You will not be productive unless you plan out everything you’re going to do the next morning (but don’t schedule too much: keep your to-do schedule light to actually accomplish real work).

2_Clean your office the night before
Clutter in your office creates distractions. A sticky note on your desk that says ‘Call Bob ASAP!’ can throw off your whole day. Showing up to work in a spic-and-span environment helps you to think clearer and work harder.

3_Wake up at an ungodly hour
To really get stuff done, you’ve got to get up in time to make it happen. I recommend anytime from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. If your morning routine takes a little longer, bump your wake-up time back a little more. Obviously, you’ll need to adjust your bedtime accordingly.

4_Exercise
Scientific evidence shows that morning exercise can make us think better, work better and become more productive. Harvard’s John Ratey is the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. He writes that exercise is essential for reaching ‘high-performance levels in intellectually demanding jobs’.

5_Stick to your schedule
Don’t let yourself veer off the course that you’ve mapped out. You have a limited amount of time. Don’t ruin the schedule. Take your schedule, allow it guide you, and you’ll be able to accomplish more.

6_Give yourself 20 minutes to reach flow
Flow is when you’re in the zone. This happens when you are completely absorbed in your activity, singlemindedly accomplishing things at a high level and rapid pace. It takes some time to reach flow, so if you don’t feel productive or engaged in your work, just give it some time.

7_Make 60-second decisions
Decision making is a time-draining vortex. When you’re faced with a decision in the course of your work, give yourself a one-minute limit. Your decision will be just as good, but it will take less time.

8_Wear headphones
Headphones can shut out distractions and keep you focused. Harvard Business Review advises workers to put on their headphones to be more productive.

9_Do the toughest tasks first
Mark Twain wrote: ‘If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day’. Brian Tracy turned this statement into an entire principal (and even wrote a book on it: Eat that frog!). If you get your biggest and ugliest task done first, the rest of the day will be massively productive.

10_Do your writing early on
Writing is one of the most mentally demanding tasks. However, writing also has the power of focusing your brain and improving your productivity. Do you writing early in the day, and you’ll improve both the quality of your writing and the rest of your day.

11_Don’t commute
If you typically have a lengthy work commute, do everything you can to avoid it. It’s not just wasted time that you want to guard against. It’s the mental havoc. A commute is one of the most stressful parts of the day. Starting your workday with that level of stress can completely ruin your productivity.

12. Don’t hold meetings (even over the phone)
If you’ve been in business for very long, you know that most meetings are a waste of time. Avoid meetings if at all possible.

13_Don’t check your email first thing
The electronic communication pipeline can be as destructive as meetings. Sure, you need to deal with email. It’s important, but don’t let it swallow your day by starting out with it.

14_Stick to a routine
If you do something repeatedly, you’ll be able to do it better and faster each time. Once you find a routine, stick with it. Your routine is the ramp to your productivity.

15_Make yourself comfortable
Do whatever you need to do to position yourself for success. If that means showering, shaving, eating breakfast, journaling, meditating, feeding the dog or opening the blinds, then do it. When you accomplish these preparatory tasks, you are creating an environment that will make you more productive.

16. Reward yourself at a certain time
Set the clock (a countdown timer if you have to). At a certain point, you’re going to stop. So, stop. Break out the kazoos, throw some confetti, and do your happy dance. It’s time to reward yourself.

Getting 90 percent of your work done in the morning just means that you might get more than 100 percent of your work done every day.”

Neil Patel co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics

schedule your life, too

improve yourself

“Looking for work-life balance?
Reserve personal time in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or social night, family activities and vacation. You will not only have something to look forward to, but by reserving personal time you will have extra motivation to manage your time well so you do not have to cancel on others —or yourself!”

Doug Bend Bend Law Group

15 daily habits of the rich and successful

improve yourself

“Want to grow rich? Why not follow the example of wealthy people by doing some of the very same things they do? You never know, these habits could be the key to your future success — at least, it’s worth a try!

1_Wake Up Early: You’re probably groaning at the very thought of it! But apparently, rich people are way more likely to do it than the rest of us.

2_Keep a To Do List: According to study author Tom Corley, “The daily To Do list is one of the tools the wealthy use to avoid procrastination, accomplish their goals, and maintain control over their day. Wealthy people understand that you cannot become wealthy if you procrastinate”.

3_Read: Love to read? If so, you’re in fine company! 86% of rich people love reading, compared to only 26% of poor people. And most of them make a habit of it. A staggering 88% of rich people read for 30 or more minutes each day — compared to a mere 2% of poor people.

4_Watch Less TV: If you’re one of the world’s richest people, you’re less likely to watch much TV. Maybe that’s because you’re too busy building and maintaining your wealth. Or maybe it’s just not a priority. 65% of the rich limit their TV watching to 1 hour or less per day. Only 24% of the poor do the same.

5_Avoid Reality TV: And when wealthy people do watch TV, it’s less likely to be the reality variety that they turn to. Only 10% watch reality TV — compared to 77% of poor people.

6_Get Your Kids to Volunteer: Giving back is something many rich people take seriously — as is teaching their children to do the right thing. Around 70% of rich people make their kids volunteer for at least 10 hours per month. Only 3% of poor people find themselves able to do the same.

7_Write Down Your Goals: How do the rich achieve so much? Maybe it’s because they’re so goal-oriented. They not only have goals — they also make a point of writing them down. Around 67% of the world’s wealthiest people put their goals into writing, compared to just 17% of the poorest.

8_Focus on Accomplishing a Specific Goal: The well off not only have a list of goals — they prioritize them and work hard to achieve them. A high 80% of wealthy people focus on accomplishing a specific goal. That compares to just 12% of poor people.

9_Listen to Audiobooks: Many rich people find an alternative way of squeezing extra reading time into their day. Around 63% of the wealthy listen to audiobooks during their commute. But only 5% of poor people are believed to do the same.

10_Limit Junk Food: Junk food might be cheap, but it’s also horrible for your health. Perhaps that’s why 70% of rich people limit junk food calories to 300 per day — whereas 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories each day.

11_Exercise: Most rich people place a high value on physical fitness. Around 76% of the wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days per week — compared to just 23% of the poor. Why? According to Tom Corley, “Wealthy people are healthy people. To wealthy people being healthy is about making more money. If they’re healthy they have fewer sick days, they’re exercising, they have more energy, they maintain health their entire lives so they can work longer careers”.

12_Network: Rich people realize the power of networking. 79% of the wealthy network for 5 or more hours each month. Poor people are less likely to put a lot of time into networking — only 16% say they spend over 5 hours doing so per month.

13_Encourage Your Kids to Read Non-Fiction: Rich people may be more likely to instill the importance of reading non-fiction into their children. Approximately 63% of rich people encourage their kids to read at least 2 non-fiction books each month — compared to just 3% of poor people.

14_Believe Good Habits Create Opportunity: A high proportion of rich people believe in establishing and maintaining good habits. Roughly 84% of the wealthy believe good habits create opportunity. Only 4% of the poor believe that. Conversely, 76% of the rich think bad habits have a negative impact. Only 9% of poor people are inclined to agree with them.

15_Believe in Lifelong Educational Opportunity: A high percentage of wealthy people see the benefits of a lifetime of learning. Roughly 86% believe in lifelong educational self-improvement — whereas only 5% of poor people can say the same.”

http://www.teendayz.com

 

5 things you should do every day before breakfast

work smarter

“You can’t add more hours to your day, but you can make the most out of those hours by being more productive. Here are five things you can make part of your early morning routine that will help add focus, energy and speed to the rest of your workday:

1_Wake up early
Giving yourself an extra hour in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. You can accomplish your morning goals, stay relaxed and leave for work in the right state of mind. This may be the hardest goal to turn into a habit, but remember, it’s self-reinforcing. Do this for a week, and you’ll find that you’ve increased your productivity enough that you’ll have time to go to bed at a reasonable hour to make waking up early less painful.

2_Exercise
30 minutes of moderate exercise equates to about two hours’ worth of extra productivity over an eight-hour work day. Get this done in the morning, and the boosted productivity you’ll gain will affect every hour you spend at the office. As an added bonus, your exercise time never gets overrun by emergencies and extra-long meetings.

3_Review your goals
Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning to review your most important goals for the day. That simple check-in with yourself will keep those goals in the front of your mind as the day tries to distract you from getting them done. Make a list of the two or three things that, if that’s all you accomplished, would let you go to bed at night feeling as if you’d made real progress.

4_Make a to-don’t list
Everybody has a short list of habits they want to quit. Whatever your to-don’ts are, write them down and then review them along with your other goals every morning to help you keep your eyes on that particular prize.

5_Meditate
You don’t have to sit with your legs crossed and chant ‘Om’ to meditate. Simply take 5 or 10 minutes to breathe, relax and focus on the things you find most important. Depending on your goals and your to-don’ts, this can be a formal relaxation practice, positive visualization exercises, prayer or just thinking intently about what doing your best that day will mean to your life, career, business and family.

Once you’ve accomplished all five of these tasks, eat breakfast before heading out for your day.”

Jason Brick writer and public speaker, freelance

let’s stop the glorification of busy

improve yourself

“Here are ten tips from Arianna and Thrive for creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder:

1. Redefine success.There’s no prize for working the most hours per week or making the most money.

2. Avoid burnout, stress and depression. Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean better results–in fact it can have the exact opposite effect.

3. Nurture your well-being. Make time to take care of yourself in terms of exercise, meditation, music, art, and family life–this isn’t selfishness, it’s good sense.

4. Sleep your way to the top. Get more sleep. Not getting enough sleep is associated with health risks and higher stress levels.

5. Take a digital detox. When’s the last time you turned off the cellphone and focused 100% on the people you’re with?

6. Keep learning. Learning shouldn’t stop when you’re out of school–indeed, that’s when learning may truly begin.

7. Listen to your inner voice. Listen to your gut feelings and be in touch with the perspective of your own thoughts.

8. Act like a child. Every action doesn’t have to advance your ability to earn money or exercise power.

9. Find solitude. Meditation helps relieve stress and helps us tap our inner voice. If you don’t like being with yourself, how can you expect others to like being with you?

10. Give back to your community. Being a compassionate person and helping others can help solve some of society’s biggest problems. Find a way that you can share your unique talents or time with a local shelter, an elderly home, or at your children’s school.

The question is: are you ready to stop the glorification of busy and start redefining success?”

Guy Kawasaki  author, speaker, investor and business advisor