The #1 Secret to Productivity
(Hint: It’s waking up EARLY. Here are game-changing 5 tips for starting your day at 4 am.)
I work a full-time job, am a full-time mom/wife and on top of that, I cook and keep house every day. Oh! And I just started this blog, which has been a huge time commitment. “How do you have time or energy to do all that?”, you might ask. Here’s the secret…
WAKE UP EARLY!
I start my days at 4 am and this has been game-changing in how many things I can get done in a day. Waking up early gives you a large window of time to get things done, uninterrupted. With a baby, a husband, a dog and a cat, it is hard to find any time to myself where I can shut a door to a room and just focus or doing multiple chores consecutively without someone coming in behind me to mess things up again. I also work full-time from home, so having 3-4 hours of uninterrupted time and a shut door in the morning is invaluable to be able to do my job. Waking up early has allowed for my productivity to sky-rocket. Here my 5 very best tips that will help you practice this game-changing way of life, the ‘up-before-dawn-(or anyone else in my household)-life’.
Tip #1- Prepare the night before
Preparation is SO important to have a successful morning. I practice a nighttime routine every single night so that I can start my day out with a clean slate. Here is my list of ‘must-do’s’ that I have to have done every night to set myself up for success:
- Clean the kitchen. Make sure every dish is washed and surfaced clean. Also, run the dishwasher if it’s full. Since the kitchen is the first place I go in the morning to make my coffee, I want to see shiny counters, NOT crusty old dishes or piles of mail that need to be sorted.
- Tidy the main surfaces and living area. This is a quick 5-minute scan grabbing any cups or laundry lying around and putting them where they belong.
- Layout an outfit to change into in the morning. This task takes 2 minutes in the evening, but in the morning could take upward to 15 minutes when your brain is foggy still and you can’t decide what to wear. You will thank your past self when your outfit, underwear and all, is neatly waiting to be put on when you arise in the morning.
- Preparing my baby’s bottles. I portion out all of his bottles for the next 12 hours so that they are ready to go in the middle of the night and when he wakes up.
- Prepare my coffee machine or espresso machine for the morning, which leads me to tip #2.
Tip # 2- Have something to look forward to in the morning
I LOVE coffee. LOVE it. Like I am sure a lot of people do. The first thing I do when I wake up is to go straight to the kitchen to make my coffee. I was a drip coffee kind of gal, but recently got an espresso machine that does it all, so I have solely been using this. I love the whole process of making myself a foamy latte or steamy americano. I find so much joy in making my coffee, smelling it, and drinking it. When I wake up, it’s so much easier if I have my favorite thing waiting for me in the kitchen.
Find your thing! Maybe it’s coffee as well, or maybe you hate coffee. The thing that you look forward to could be anything from journaling for a few minutes, stretching your body, wrapping your luxurious bathrobe around yourself, taking a hot shower…whatever it is, make sure that it’s something you do entirely for yourself and your enjoyment. Because tip #3 is about to get into the nitty-gritty of your day.
(Read my review of the Breville Barista Express – Espresso Machine by clicking HERE. )
Tip #3- Make a to-do list for your day
Once you have done your one thing for yourself (mine is to make a cup of coffee!), hunker down and get your brain juices flowing. Spend 5 minutes and scribble down anything and everything you hope to get done in the day. When you have everything written down, you now need to triage this list. Prioritize the MUST-be-done-today items and the it-would-be-nice-to-be-done-today items. You don’t need to even necessarily follow this list throughout your day, but writing down your intentions will steer your path in the right direction.
Tip #4- Eat that frog.
Have you heard of the saying or that book? (Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time ) The whole idea is to tackle the hardest thing on your to-do list FIRST. It’s kind of common sense, but getting the hardest thing out of the way is going to make you feel accomplished and take the pressure off of you for the rest of your day. The rest of your to-do items should feel like cake if that pressing matter is already taken care of!
Tip #5- Respect your body and get some beauty sleep
Waking up early means you can’t stay up until midnight and expect to have a successful morning that starts in 4 hours. Give yourself a goal time to be in bed to unwind (mine is as soon as my baby is put down for the night at 7 pm) and a ‘lights-out’ time (mine is between 8-8:30 pm). Having discipline in finding rest is vital to your health, both mental and physical.
What are you waiting for?
So, if you don’t already wake up early to start knocking off things on your to-do list, use my advice to start tomorrow! Because I can wake up early and get all my MUST get done items finished before 1 pm, I have time to do the things I WANT to do. Kick your productivity up to the next level! The early morning hours are tranquil and calm, and getting out of bed early isn’t as bad as you would think! You will probably grow to love it!