Many people dread the thought of getting out of bed in the morning, and thus approach the day with a negative attitude and a limited amount of energy. The age old adage that you get out of something what you put into it applies to your day as well, and getting off to a slow start in the morning means a less fulfilling personal, home and social life. For me, the hours between 6am and 9am on Monday morning are the most important ones all week; the mental planning that I do and the routine that I engage in sets the tone for the next seven days.
Some of my tricks for rocking the morning include:
1. Put the alarm clock on the other side of the room. If you have it right next to the bed it is easy to subconciously reach over and hit the snooze button, or even worse turn it off entirely.
2. Get some fresh air. I am fortunate enough to have a dog that needs to be let out first thing in the morning, which forces me to get outside as well. I have noticed that the sounds from nature (or the 101 freeway) combined with the fresh air (/smog) get my brain’s juices flowing.
3. Excercise. Whatever your thing is: running, yoga, lifting, swimming; try and do some form of it in the morning. Maybe you don’t have time to do a 10k before work, but a 15 minute jog or 100 sit-ups would certainly not make you late and will get your heart rate up.
4. Strong coffee. One scoop per cup is my rule of thumb, and I prefer a bold dark roast.
5. Good jazz. I love classic jazz, and a few of my favorites in the morning are Stan Getz, Thelonius Monk and Wardell Gray. Anything high energy.
6. Plan the whole week out. Instead of being overwhelmed by “all of the things I have to do”, I use that inventory of tasks to plan my week out and make sure that I have my allocated towards the most productive activities. This way, even if it takes me all day to get the first thing on my list done, I know that I was working on the most important thing.
7. Make early commitments to others. We have our corporate conference call at 9am on Mondays, which means that even if I want to sleep in I can’t. I would never let the team down like that.
8. Check off a couple of easy tasks. We all have little things we have to do that are menial, but take up precious time. I try and get these things out of the way early, when there are fewer people out and about to slow me down. This means taking advantage of businesses that open early such as dry cleaners or grocery stores.
9. Dress for success. As anyone who as worked with me over the last 9 years knows, a shirt and tie is required on Monday. The whole team gets together on Monday, and my meeting with them is the most important one that I will take all week, so why not show them the respect the deserve by dressing appropriately.
10. If you don’t feel good, fake it. After a couple of hours the network effect of your attitude, smile and energy will be reciprocated by those around you and your smiles will be authentic in no time.
Finally, remember the African proverb that Thomas Friedman retold in his book, The World is Flat:
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion
or it will be killed…
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle
or it will starve to death.
It doesnt matter whether you are
a lion or a gazelle…
when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.