Dreary mornings are the worst. Those are the days when you wake up and—for whatever reason—you just can’t. Whether it’s self-doubt and insecurity or boredom and ennui, you’d rather just pull the covers back over your head and pretend you don’t have any responsibilities.
It happens to the best of us; everyone has good and bad mornings. Allowing those negative sentiments to creep into your work habits and performance at work, though, is plain self-destructive. Fortunately, though, it isn’t difficult to learn to make full use of your mornings to jumpstart your day, regardless of whether you’re a morning person or not. Here’s how!
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One of the biggest mistakes most of us make daily without realising the damage that it can have on ourselves is leaving our phones to charge right beside us when we sleep. Our phone screens are therefore often the last things we see before going to bed, and the first things we check the minute we wake up.
The numbers are staggering: according to a 2013 report by global market intelligence firm IDC, as many as 80% of us check our smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up.
To put it candidly, it’s the real-life equivalent of letting 10 or 20 people barge into your bedroom the minute you wake up, each trying to grab your interest with some new bit of information: a new tweet, a couple of different emails, more texts than you can keep track of, and another viral cat video.
Allowing your mind to be overwhelmed almost as soon as it wakes up primes you to remain in a distracted and stressed state the whole day. What’s more, instead of doing morning stretches or going for a run, you often end up wasting 10-15 minutes (or more) lying in bed mindlessly scrolling away, probably in a physically uncomfortable position as well.
You don’t have to have reached Nirvana in order to benefit from a regular mindfulness practice. Studies have consistently shown that a simple 10-minute morning mindfulness session can drastically improve overall well-being; it lowers stress levels, gives you razor-sharp mental clarity, and improves your emotional intelligence and concentration skills.
Warming yourself up to get into the hustle mode before you even step into the office can make a huge difference. One way to do this is by simply setting aside a few minutes every day in the morning to organise and do up your daily task list. The key word here, though, is “organise.”
Research has shown that when to-do lists don’t work, it’s probably because they’re too jumbled-up, disorganised, and plain long-winded. The key to creating an effective daily to-do list is focus.
Just like physical clutter makes finding the important things in your desk a daily battle, putting every single miniscule thing on your to-do list stretches your attention too thinly and only stresses you out. Ultimately, just because you’re getting things done at work doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making headway in your career.