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How to Start Your Morning Right: 5 Steps to a More Productive Day

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Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

This RAIN Group article was originally published on the Heinz Marketing Blog.

Isn't it amazing how some days just start off better than others? You wake up feeling refreshed, the kids practically get themselves ready, and when you show up at work, you accomplish a lot within the first hour. It feels like everything is going your way.

Then there are days when it's a struggle to get out of bed and get to work. Even your computer fights you by turning on slowly or running virus scans. When the day starts, nothing goes your way. Then it gets worse.

Wouldn't it be nice to have more of the former and less of the latter? How much more productive would you be?

This can be your reality.

You can control how the day starts.

When you do, you control how the day goes.

A keystone habit of Extremely Productive people is having a consistent morning routine to start the day off right. In fact, this is one of the most popular hacks in 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity.

The 5-Step Extreme Productivity Morning Routine

Step 1: Read short-term objectives and actions.

Know what you want to accomplish this quarter, month, and week. The best practice is to have these objectives listed right above your action plan or to-do list so you're forced to look at them daily. You can keep your longer-term goals there, too. This will help keep you grounded and focused on what's most important.

Step 2: Ask, "How's my mindset?"

Want to have a bad day? Start with a bad attitude.

Too many people dive into work in a bad mood, and a bad day follows. If you can catch yourself early in the day, the simple fact of recognizing you're not in a good mood is often all you need to shake off negative energy and turn things around.

Take a walk. Practice 10 minutes of mindfulness. Practice positive self-talk.

Whatever it is, do something. If you don't check in with yourself, you don't do anything except let the day spiral away.

Step 3: Ask "Will I?" for critical tasks.

You know what you need to do. After all, it's right there in your action plan for the week. But sometimes people don't do what they tell themselves to do. Ask yourself if you'll do it, and there's a much greater chance you will.

Step 4: Be better than yesterday.

Ask yourself how you can be better than you were yesterday. Literally, yesterday. What should you have done differently? Then give yourself one—and only one—piece of advice to be better than yesterday.

Imagine the cumulative impact if you did this every day!

Step 5: Start with your GIA (Greatest Impact Activity).

Energy, focus, and willpower are like wells. When you take water out of the well, it'll fill back up, but it takes some time. If you use your energy, focus, and willpower on Mandatory activities like answering emails, firming up appointment schedules, and other non-Investment activities, you steal away that energy and focus from what will get you the greatest return.

Identify your GIA every day and focus on it first. It might not be easy, and other tasks will have to wait, but if you do it, you're much more likely to be productive and experience success.

The Extreme Productivity Morning Routine in Action

One participant of the Extreme Productivity Challenge made a sticky note with the 5 steps and posted it on her mirror. When she brushed her teeth in the morning, she reviewed her goals, checked her mindset, and prioritized her day.

Another participant shared that he identified his GIA before he arrived at work. When he got to his desk, he was ready to go.

Yet another person shared that they use their morning commute to adjust their mindset. They have a library of different podcasts covering various topics such as self-help, motivation, business, politics, and finance. Their mood dictates what they listen to. They choose a program based on what will get them in the most productive mindset for when they arrive at work.

The power of a morning routine is that it helps you focus on your most important tasks first with good mental energy and with a positive mindset. Instead of getting hijacked by emails and meeting requests first thing in the morning, you make progress toward your goals.

Follow the Extreme Productivity Morning Routine and watch your productivity soar.

The 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity Ebook

Topics: Extreme Productivity