If you’re like me, you need about seven alarms and a slap in the face just to get out of bed in the morning. As I sit at my desk for the first hour of work, all I can think about is warm cozy bed and why I ever left it in the first place. Unfortunately we live in a world where business meetings and client phone calls start at 8 AM, so us morning haters need to find a way to be efficient, even in the early morning. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I have some non-caffeine related tips for being more alert, focused and productive during the early part of your work day.
- Pump up your commute: Whether it’s a funny morning radio show or the newest radio single, find out what wakes you up and invigorates you. Laughing or singing along to music in the morning not only wakes you up, but gets your brain working, preparing you to focus for your work day.
- Make a first-hour to-do list: Fight the urge to spend your first hour at the office sluggishly going through emails or hanging out near the coffee machine by making a list. Right before you leave the office each night, write down 3-5 goals or tasks that you have for the next work day. Leave it on top of your key board, so it is the first thing you see when you sit down in the morning. For the first hour, only work on those specific tasks, so when you’re ready for your coffee break you’re already engrossed in a task and will be more motivated to return to your desk and continue working.
- Eat breakfast and check social media before you get to work: We all know that it’s far too easy to get sucked into the social media vortex, and how all of the sudden your 5-minute Facebook break can turn into you watching a cute dog video twenty minutes later. The more you surf the web, the more tired you can become, as it signals to your brain that you are not in work mode. Eating at work can also be a similar time-suck, says Laura Stack, author of Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time. Eating your bagel or granola bar at your desk can result in a more relaxed mood, leading you to browse the internet or check your phone. Wake up just fifteen minutes earlier to eat breakfast and browse social media at home and your work mornings will become significantly more productive.
- Work on a creative project: Believe it or not, your brain is actually more creative in the morning. Instead of monotonously responding to emails or working on excel sheets, save the busy-work tasks for the afternoon and try working on a creative project in your first few hours of work. The early-morning will get your creative juices flowing, giving you a great sense of accomplishment that will keep you motivated all day long.