Are you a morning person? Well, even if you think you’re not, your brain might be. Behavioural scientist Dan Ariely says that the first two hours after we blearily force our phones into snooze mode are actually our most productive hours.
“One of the saddest mistakes in time management is the propensity of people to spend the two most productive hours of their day on things that don’t require high cognitive capacity (like social media),” Dan explained, as part of his ‘Ask Me Anything’ appearance on Reddit. “If we could salvage those precious hours, most of us would be much more successful in accomplishing what we truly want.”
For the majority of us who squander those precious hours sharing the overnight memes or daydreaming about the next time you’ll be splayed between your precious sheets, this isn’t good news. Instead, if we’re serious about getting something worthwhile out of our day, we should start the minute our eyes crack reluctantly open. Time for note-taking – here is how some of the busiest folk (successful entrepreneurs, that is) start their days:
Meditate (without ‘meditating’)
Meditation certainly is having a moment, but if you struggle to drag your thoughts into submission, you can still achieve the same state simply by focusing on something else that gives you a sense of leisurely achievement. How does making a cup of coffee sound?
“I’d like to say I meditate each morning, but I don’t,” explains the founder of Digital Telepathy, Chuck Longanecker. “Instead, my morning meditation is making a perfect cup of pour-over coffee. Not only does the coffee wake my body up, but the process of getting the grind right, heating the water to exactly 204 degrees, and brewing by hand wakes up the creative side of my brain. It’s nice to ‘make’ something from scratch to start your day.”
Many an entrepreneur (from Arianna Huffington to Bruce Poon Tip) have taken to an activity like yoga to combat the morning melancholies, while also getting the blood flowing. If you’re up for getting going with exercise in the morning but need a little support, try Triumph for bras that have your back, as well the charming motivational app, Fabulous to help get you out of bed in the morning.
Let your mind run free
If those first two hours really are the best for getting creative juices flowing, why not help them along?
For Dilbert creator Scott Adams, the first 20 minutes of the day is dedicated to creativity and letting his mind run free. Also as a training mechanism, Scott rewards this activity with coffee and a protein bar.
“I give myself this ‘treat’ knowing I can be trained like any other animal,’ he says. ‘And I want to train myself to enjoy waking up and being productive. It totally works.’
And while you might not be a comic strip creator, there’s plenty of sense of getting the juice flowing – as we all know, ‘creativity’ really has nothing to do with ‘being creative’. If you’re stuck for ideas, why not let a title like, Becoming an Ideas Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency of the 21st Century, help you?
Use old school ‘tech’ for anti-tech purposes
“Here are the two best things I have ever done: I bought a $20 alarm clock,” says serial investor and founder of Graphic.ly Micha Baldwin. “I set two alarms (7am and 7:30am). Between those two alarms, its 100 per cent about me. My phone is in another room. I focus on my pleasure; I sleep sometimes, read sometimes… just think sometimes. As the second alarm goes off, I get up.” We think this is perfect way to avoid a sleepy scroll (also, give site and app blocker Freedom a try to rid yourself of your addiction).
Stick to the plan
It’s all very well to create an elaborate morning plan but the two important things to consider are whether it fits your personality and whether it’s achievable. There’s no point, for example, to add ‘running’ to your everyday routine if you’re seriously anti-jogging.
“The number one concept with all routines is ‘adherence,’ meaning how well you stick to your plan,” explains investor Tai Lopez. “Everybody has a morning routine plan until life hits you. So create one you can actually adhere to, based on your personality type.”