Rise Performance Group

The Simple Trick to Reducing Stress and Increasing Productivity

By Sarah Watson

There’s a famous running quote that says, “Somewhere, right now, someone is training while you are not. When you race him, he will win.” What does this have to do with business? A lot. The people on top know that if you want to be successful, you need to be working while others are not. Getting up just thirty minutes earlier in the morning could be the difference in your productivity level for the entire day.

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, argues that making good use of the morning is a practice of highly successful people.

“Seizing your mornings is the equivalent of that sound financial advice to pay yourself before you pay your bills. If you wait until the end of the month to save what you have left, there will be nothing left over. Likewise, if you wait until the end of the day to do meaningful but not urgent things like exercise, pray, read, ponder how to advance your career or grow your organization, or truly give your family your best, it probably won’t happen,” Vanderkam writes.

“If it has to happen, then it has to happen first,” she said in an article for Inc.com.

In an article by Peter Shankman, founder of HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and author of multiple books, he lists the many benefits of getting an early start. Here are just a few of the things he pointed out you can do with an extra thirty minutes in the morning:

  • Get informed – In just a few minutes, you can browse several websites or read the paper. Take a few minutes to check current events, emails and blogs. Now you’re caught up on the news for the rest of the day.
  • ‘Me’ time – Have your coffee, sit with your pets, or just watch the sunrise. Enjoy the quiet time and start your day out relaxed rather than rushing around and being stressed about being late. (Bonus: Now you can hit the road a few minutes early and beat rush hour traffic. An easy commute after a calm morning will put you in a much better mood to start your work day.)
  • Eat! – Your mom was right; breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Scramble a few eggs or make yourself a bowl of oatmeal. It’s a lot healthier and more filling than grabbing a granola bar on your way out the door. And, you guessed it, a filling, healthy breakfast will keep mid-morning hunger and crabbiness from hitting later on.
  • Exercise – How many times have you vowed to yourself you’re going to hit the gym after work, only to be exhausted and unmotivated when 5 o’clock rolls around? Probably more than once. Get up and get it done, and now you don’t have to do it after work. Another bonus to working out before you get to the office is the physical activity will get your blood flowing and can lead to increased creativity and productivity at work.

In addition to the ‘why’, Shankman also provides us with a few great tips for how to make sure you don’t hit the snooze button:

  • Move – Set your alarm somewhere you can’t reach. That way, you have to get up to shut it off.
  • Drink – Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Water opens up brain cells, rejuvenates your eyes, and helps you come out of sleep.
  • Get out of the bedroom – Bedrooms are for sleeping. Go to the kitchen and make coffee or to your study and check email. Whatever you do, just get out. You’re done sleeping.
  • Go to bed earlier – This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s true. Getting in bed earlier makes it much easier to get up earlier. Skip Conan, (TiVo it if you must) and get to bed.

Whatever you do, the bottom-line is that the benefits of getting up a little earlier far outweigh a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.  If you want to get ahead, just get up!

What’s your morning ritual? Does it have a significant impact on the rest of your day?

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