What’s the first thing you do when you crawl out of bed each morning? Do you check your emails and scroll down your newsfeed, take a hot shower or go for a quick jog around the block?
Whether you realise it or not, your morning routine can set the tone for the rest of your day, so if you want to stay motivated all day long, it’s important to start out on a positive note. With this in mind, here are four of the best ways to gear up for an inspiring and productive work day.
1. Eat real food
Not everyone enjoys eating first thing in the morning, but the brain needs glucose to stay alert and focused. What you eat also matters, though, because while waffles or muffins might provide you with glucose, they’ll also spike your blood-sugar levels and lead to a mid-morning crash. Better options include things like oatmeal and eggs.
Of course, you don’t have to sit down to a full breakfast to be productive, and if you’re not really a breakfast person, you can get your morning nutrition by grabbing a healthy smoothie or piece of fruit on your way to work, and then enjoying a more substantial meal later on in the day.
2. Fit in some exercise
Even if you only have time for a quick 15 to 20-minute workout before you leave for work, getting yourself moving first thing in the morning can boost your mood and make you more productive throughout the day, not to mention that it’s good for your physical health too.
One study from the University of Bristol found that on days when people exercised, they experienced a significant improvement in mood and were calmer than on days they did not exercise. Performance at work also improved as a result of exercise, as did concentration and problem solving skills.
3. Take a cold shower
While taking a cold shower might not sound like your idea of fun, research shows that cold showers can provide a number of health benefits, including stress reduction, a stronger immune system and improved circulation. One study even suggests cold showers as a potential treatment for depression.
If you can’t bring yourself to jump under a stream of cold water first thing in the morning, start by taking a hot shower and then gradually decreasing the temperature.
4. Tackle your most daunting tasks first
If you have a big project or daunting task to complete at work, it can be tempting to put it off as long as possible by crossing easier or less important tasks off your list first.
However, research shows that your willpower is the strongest when you first wake up in the morning. As the day progresses, your willpower is steadily depleted, so the longer you put off a difficult task; the less likely you are to complete it.
With this in mind, it’s best to tackle whatever it is you’re dreading when you first arrive at work, and the rest of your day will seem easy by comparison.