The morning can be tough for even the best of us, so how can we go about setting ourselves up best for a productive day? Many CEOs and top-level professionals have shared their insights and routines publicly before, and aside from waking up at 3.30am or wearing the same outfit every day, we’ve collated the most popular threads together for you. Take heed and start your day off with a clear head and a productive mind. Check them out below:
1. Avoid Your Emails
First thing in the morning, after silencing your alarm, the temptation is there to swipe your phone open and have a quick scroll through your feeds. The challenge with this is that your morning routine is at risk of being hijacked. Seeing a long thread of notifications stringing across your devices means you will be more likely to sit aside, forgetful of your routine and start falling behind - which really isn’t a great way to start your day.
The best way to put a spring in your step is to stick to a routine, get yourself revved up and practice some self-care each morning. If you fall behind here, you’ll be lagging all day. If you get ahead, you will feel much better for the duration of your time working. Not to mention, it allows you to spend time on the remaining points below.
2. Diet - Breakfast and Meal Preparation
One of the most highly debated subjects of our time - which diet is best? It seems that there are several factors, but as we are talking about self-care, the truest answer here can only be one thing: whatever works best for you. This may require a bit of trial and error, and keeping a food diary for a week can help you with this. Learn what you’re already eating - and when - then compare this against how you feel. We’re often told that skipping breakfast is inherently bad for us, and yet some people swear by doing just that as they utilise intermittent fasting to manage their metabolism and energy levels.
We’re not going to tell you what you should be eating, when or even how. But we’re adamant that if you’re going to be successful, you need to put some time and energy into these considerations. This is an investment of your time, that if processed sensibly can bare incomparable fruits of energy, efficiency, health and happiness.
3. Cold Showers
Some experts consider there to be three, not two, pillars of health and fitness: not only diet and exercise but also resilience. There are many terms that could be used to define this concept, but what it really means comes down to is your ability to function in more extreme environments - cold, hot, humid. Think of the sauna and the plunge pool, or Bikram yoga or an ice bath. Your body responds to this kind of exposure, and recent research from the Netherlands has shown that finishing your morning showers with between a 30 and 90 second dousing of cold water not only invigorates you, but those that do so for 30 consecutive days found themselves less absent, with a drop of 29% in sick days. The revitalising nature of the cold water was found to imbue energy, facilitating a stronger beneficial response to potential lethargy or illness.
Additionally, the cold temperatures activate the good fat in your body - responsible for effects to your thermoregulation - meaning you’re burning calories just by starting your day this way, and potentially even increasing your metabolism.
It may be a bit of a shock at first, but you’ll learn to work through it. Breathing deep helps, and not resisting the cold is key. Just remember, if you’re not sure about something it’s worth giving it a go, as you don’t know what you might be missing out on. Take the plunge, and trial it for a working week. Listen to your body, to your energy levels and again, determine what works best for you.
It has been widely discussed, that exercise is not only key for your physical health, but also gives an incredible boost to your mood and mental fitness. Exercising outside of the workplace can help drive an indefatigable attitude that you can utilise to drive your success and accomplishment in your day-to-day work activities. You can elevate your position within the intelligentsia by helping your brain do its job through increased energy levels; it’s easy to forget how much mental processing demands of us, and finding a source for such extra ardour can often confound the matter even further.
Exercise offers mitigation here - alleviate the pressures you face by an infusing of vigour and securing mental real estate offering an improved efficiency, both in and out of the office. A matter of repetition until routine, the more you exercise, the easier it becomes. Find help if you need it - support from colleagues, exercise plans or even a personal trainer. Do what you need to do, and you will reap unprecedented rewards you weren’t likely to be expecting. Remember - exercise in the morning for day-long invigoration.
Long thought the domain of the hippy, this predominantly Eastern practice vends solace from cognitive dissonance. Regain your intellectual harmony by giving yourself time to attune your consciousness with your body. The most common misconception of meditation is the notion that it involves the absolute clearing of the mind. You are not looking to achieve a blank head, rather learning to focus and level-up your awareness of yourself and your environment. A quieter, relaxed thought process allows emphasis of the more significant, crucial contemplations that require your attention. Such clarity is truly a gift to yourself in a professional world, as it allows you to compartmentalise and broach issues in a refined manner, begetting a heightened level of success in your work.
Many CEOs meditate and practise mindfulness; it builds resilience, emotional intelligence (imperative to being a good leader) and amplifies your creativity, which can be used both to problem solve and create new, entrepreneurial functions. To thrive as a trailblazer and innovator in your organisation, you must have an awareness and be receptive to business realities and needs. Putting time aside to meditate, but not ruminate, can be an essential agent in assisting the composition of your success.
If you’re interested in maximising your potential, be sure to head over to our Executive Coaching page to see how we can help you do just that. You’re here reading this because you have the aspiration and drive to aim high - let us steady your arm and make sure you’re right on target.