By our nature, we are creatures of habit. We tend to drive the same route to work every day, eat at the same restaurants, spend time with the same people. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, there is something to be said for shaking things up every once in a while. When it comes to your morning routine, this is especially true. For those of us who are not naturally morning people, the challenge comes in trying to get more out of those first couple of hours. With a few tweaks, you can improve your routine, get out of your rut, and be more productive.

Get More Sleep

Easier said than done? Maybe. But if you generally find yourself staying up late and then sleeping in the next morning, you just need to shift your day. If you find you are getting burned out because you are constantly up late AND up early the next morning, consider examining your overall efficiency. If you can find ways to streamline your processes, offload some tasks onto trusted team members, and work smarter, you will free up more time for rest and for some occasional fun. After all, if you are working 24/7, and you never get a break, you are just going to get run down.

If you find you struggle to mentally unwind earlier than you’re used to, try some tricks, like putting away electronic devices an hour or so before bedtime, reading a book right before bed, and making sure your room is very dark so you don’t get distracted.

Exercise

You don’t need to take up marathon running to get the benefits of a consistent exercise routine. In just 20-30 minutes per day, you can get moving, get those creative juices flowing, improve your circulation, and boost your energy. Start with a walk around the block and see how you feel. Maybe you will find that’s all you need. Or maybe you’re more of a gym person. Whatever you do, keep moving.

Exercise has a lot of benefits, including:

  • Decreasing stress and anxiety
  • Improving overall mood
  • Boosting energy levels
  • Losing weight
  • Improving circulation
  • Improving bone density
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Improving memory

Let’s face it, we can all use at least a few of these benefits from time to time. Remember what we said about routine—it’s not always a bad thing. By incorporating daily exercise into your routine, you will be better prepared to take on the challenges of the day.

Plan Ahead

To get more out of your day, you need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish. Therefore, you must spend time on your To Do list each day. Write down not only what you need to do and how you are going to do it. You don’t need minute details, but you should be able to use that list as a blueprint for your day. Make this the first task you take on in the morning while you mentally prepare for your day, or the last thing you do at night in preparation for the next day. Either way, you need to have a quiet place where you can think about how to structure your tasks and plan of attack.

Start your Day Sooner

The elephant in the room—if you want to maximize your day, you can’t sleep in until 9. If you struggle with early mornings, start by gradually moving up your wake-up time. Set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier for a week or so, then another 10-15 minutes earlier the next week. Before long, you will have captured an hour or two without noticing a huge change to your routine. The benefits of starting your day sooner include:

  • Getting a jump on the competition. If you are the first one to see a new deal, you can be the first one to make an offer.
  • Taking advantage of peace and quiet. If you have kids, you know how noisy your home can get in the mornings. If you can get a couple of hours in before the rest of the house wakes up, you can be exponentially more productive.
  • Having a shorter commute. When you are up and moving earlier in the day, you can beat some of the traffic.
  • Finding time for exercise. Take advantage of your earlier start by working in your exercise first thing.

If you struggle to implement these changes, remind yourself you are doing this for the sake of your business. Just as with any new routine, it will take some time to establish a new pattern. Once you give these tips a chance to work, you will get more out of your day and your business will thrive.