Want to maximize your productivity? Revamp your morning routine.
Productivity in 2020 is a topic we’d all probably prefer to avoid discussing. When life gives you lemons, productivity can take a hit, and as many people learned in 2020, working from home isn’t always as easy as it seems.
Whether you’re still trying to find a new normal working from home, or adjusting to a new normal being back in the office, a new and energizing approach to productivity and work may just be the motivation you need to get inspired. And what’s the easiest way to maximize your productivity? To maximize your morning routine of course.
6 Ways to Revamp Your Morning Routine
No, this isn’t clickbait. There really are advantages to being intentional about how you spend your mornings. Research has shown that how you spend the first few minutes of your morning really can set the tone for the entire day. Here’s how to make the most of your mornings to maximize productivity and focus.
1. Prep the night before.
It turns out the most important thing you can do to revamp your morning routine is to revamp your evening routine. Picking out the next day’s clothing, packing your lunch, or organizing your workspace may not be at the top of your list of most exciting things to do before crawling into bed, but your morning self will thank you for taking the time to prepare.
“My prep for the day really starts the night before. If I’m rushed to get out the door in the morning, my whole day will be off. I’ll feel like I’m playing catch up all day and won’t be able to truly focus on my work.” - Corinne Mizzell, Designer
As our minds and bodies wake up and adjust to our surroundings, it’s best to ease into the day. It’s much easier for us to do so if we’ve taken care of the morning essentials that involve the most decision-making and processing - things like picking out what to wear, what to eat for breakfast and lunch, etc.
To create a morning that is unrushed and unhurried, do these things before heading to bed:
- Choose your outfit for tomorrow
- Prep tomorrow’s meals
- Tidy your space
- Make a list of what needs to be done tomorrow
- Unplug before bedtime for better sleep
- Read and reflect on the day
2. Make a plan.
Even if you love your work, the first few minutes of the morning can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.
“My days are the most successful when I have a plan, know what I need to be working on and when my meetings are, and what’s expected of me for the day.” - Corinne Mizzell, Designer
Give yourself a head start on the day by making a list each night of what needs to be done tomorrow so you can eliminate as much time spent planning and dive right in first thing with a direction and a plan.
“I prepare for my day by making a to-do list or adjusting one from the day before. Being able to see what’s ahead is helpful, but seeing what has already been accomplished I find to be a great motivator.” - Josh Cooper, Creative Director
If you’re a fan of traditional planners, the Monk Manual is a great resource for keeping track of daily, weekly, and monthly to-dos, and it also includes space for reflection, habit tracking, and notes.
“I like to start my day off by taking care of the ‘housekeeping’ for the day. Whether that’s cleaning up, organizing to do lists, or having my tasks selected, I like to make sure everything is in the right place before I get going.” - David Caffey, Digital Marketing Manager & Senior SEO Specialist
Our Senior PPC Specialist Umari Osgood recently shared with me a great tool for digital planning as well. Notion is a great resource for note-keeping and to-do lists if you prefer a digital planner, and it includes templates for agendas, to-do lists, goal setting, meeting notes, and more.
Our Favorite Planning Tools for Creatives
- Google Calendar
- Notion (there’s also an app)
- ClickUp Project Management System
3. Stick to a routine.
The more you can automate tasks and plan ahead, the less time and mental energy you have to spend on making decisions. From outfits to meal prep, routines can save time and make your mornings easier.
“It’s important to ‘get dressed’ for work in some way—even if your commute has become walking across the house to your office. A simple outfit change or quick skincare routine is a great way to shift your mindset to being ‘at work.’” - Gabby Windham, Designer
If you’re working from home, a routine is even more important.
“Treat a remote day like you would a day working on-site. Actually get ready as if you were going to walk out of the house. That means you must wear pants.” - Josh Cooper, Creative Director
Yep, the pants are essential.
“I find that for me my morning routine just helps me stay in my weekly rhythm and flow. My mind can get overwhelmed easily, so the more that I can streamline certain aspects of my life, the more that I don't have to focus on them and can focus on my work / being productive. For me, that’s eating the same breakfast, wearing similar outfits but different colors (think Steve Jobs and his turtleneck, but I change the color of my pants), and making sure that I don't deviate from some of these rituals.” -Stephen Smith, Designer
Be like this:
Don’t be like this:
“Steps to creating a morning routine while working remotely: 1. Don't hit snooze. 2. Don't hit snooze again. 3. Don't hit snooze a third time. 4. Take a quick 3 minute panic shower while eating oatmeal. 5. Don't do the same thing the next day.” -Jordan Dudek, Cinematographer
4. Take care of the little things first, and then eat the frog.
Even if you start with a plan, neglecting to take care of the little things first can prevent you from focusing on the big things.
“If you don’t do the simple things to get your day going, they will always be on your mind, nagging at you, and killing your ability to create. Getting the little things out of the way first and sticking to your routine is so important.” -Josh Cooper, Creative Director
Take care of the little things, and then, as our VP of Client Success Kindra Svendsen would say, “Eat the frog.” The Eat the Frog method boils down to this:
- We have the most mental energy in the mornings.
- Doing the hardest things first will set us up for success.
- Taking care of the biggest tasks first prevents procrastination and distraction.
Set yourself up for success each day by taking care of the little things that create mental clutter and then eat the frog.
“Make sure you are equipped with everything you need to be successful before you get rolling full force on your day. Something as trivial as not having the password to an account or losing an important document link can throw me off my workflow pretty quickly. Taking care of the little details early in the day can save a ton of headaches.” -David Caffey, Digital Marketing Manager & Senior SEO Specialist
5. Get moving. (Your boss might even pay you for it).
I have to admit that exercise is not something I enjoy, and neither is embarrassing myself in front of my neighbors and fellow citizens. That’s why I prefer to keep my workouts low impact and preferably indoors.
“Go outside! If you start work when it is dark outside and zombie through the day into the evening, you will be burnt out in no time. Try to go for a walk, drive and get lunch from a local business, or sneak a lunchtime sweat session in.” - Abi Devins, Strategy Manager & Senior Brand Strategist
Regardless of the workout you prefer, research shows a link between exercise and productivity, so much so in fact, that more and more employers are beginning to offer reimbursement for gym memberships for their employees as well as in-office health and fitness.
Your idea of the perfect morning might not include huffing your way through a Richard Simmons video, but there are other ways to get your body moving.
- Make a point of walking over to your colleague’s desk to let them know the Tampa Bay Lightning do indeed still suck. The exercise gets your blood flowing and the knowledge of being right will boost your mood and your confidence throughout the day.
- Walk down to the nearest Chick-Fil-A and order a milkshake. The walk negates the calories.
- Take no less than 4 trips to the coffee maker each day for your daily dose of caffeine and exercise.
6. Enjoy caffeine of all varieties.
Scroll on, caffeine haters. This tip is not for you.
Caffeine in any and all forms is the friend of every working professional who starts their day before noon.
“Caffeine in any form. Solid, liquid, gas, hot, cold, don’t care.” -David Caffey, Digital Marketing Manager & Senior SEO Specialist
What kind of millennials would we be if we didn’t recommend starting your day with caffeine? Some people will say you don’t need caffeine. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
“If my morning doesn't start with coffee, I might as well not get up.” - Jordan Dudek, Cinematographer
At Speak, we work with heart no matter where we’re working from. Whether it’s being a friendly face and resource for our clients in the middle of navigating digital marketing and design in a pandemic to doing the best we can to be productive and available each and every day for every client, we’re here to serve you.
Want to work with our team? Get in touch! We’d love to know more about your design project or marketing needs.
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