Do you have a hard time hitting the desk running, so to speak, on any given work day? Try following some of these strategies to jumpstart your work mornings and make yourself more productive and engaged from the get-go.
1. Establish a pre-work routine at home.
First, you have to lay a solid foundation, which means a good night’s sleep. Then, when you hopefully wake up well rested, throw in a nice stretch or short bit of exercise. Get your blood moving—whether you have five minutes to spare for some yoga or can squeeze in 30 minutes of a solid workout. You’ll feel more awake, more grounded, and more capable. Then eat something with a bit of protein that will fuel your morning. Finally, if you’re a caffeine person, have your coffee or tea.
2. Dress to feel and perform your best.
You don’t have to go formal to “dress the part.” If you work from home, at least change out of your pajamas to differentiate your lounging self from your working self. If you don’t, aim for work clothes that make you feel comfortable and empowered.
3. Start on time.
Whether your commute is the five steps it takes you to get from the kitchen table to the couch or 45 minutes of driving, busing, or biking, arrive at your desk on time. To perform your best, consider “on time” to be five minutes early–that gives you time to collect your thoughts and set yourself up for the day ahead.
4. Take a moment to just think.
A moment of peace can be a moment well-spent—every morning pause to have a nice, mindful think about how things are going, what you’ve been accomplishing, and what you’d like to get done that day. Reacquaint yourself with your to-do list. Pause for a second and engage. Your work day will be much more bearable this way because you will be in charge of managing the day (and not the other way around). Map out your day, allowing for small adjustments here and there.
5. Get comfortable.
Figure out the most ideal work set-up for your productivity. Maybe that’s a standing desk, or an exercise ball, or a lumbar support, or a footrest under your desk. Make sure everything in your workspace is de-cluttered and positioned to make yourself physically capable of sitting there and doing what you need to do.
6. Eliminate distractions.
Devise a system that will make you less vulnerable to interruptions. When you sit down for the day, turn off notifications, put your phone in a bag or a drawer, and focus—at least for long stretches of time. If it helps, set a timer to help you keep break time, mindless task time, and productive project time separate. And do yourself a favor: don’t check your email all the time. Set yourself designated times instead.
The main takeaway from these tips is to remain mindful and put systems in place. If you establish a morning routine and stick with it for at least 2 weeks, these good habits will soon become the norm!