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How To Up Your Productivity Levels In The Morning

Night owls, listen up…

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Rewind to this time last year and I had my morning routine down. I’d wake up at 5.30am and be ready to go at my desk by 7am. Mark used to have to wake up at the crack of dawn to commute to London for work, so I always used him as my alarm, seeing as he had about as much grace as a bull in a china shop when getting ready. However, these days he leaves the house much later which means that I’ve been getting a little too indulgent with my mornings. Now I’m not talking lazing about in bed till 11am here – that’s strictly reserved for Sundays – but I do mean setting an alarm at 6.30 and then getting trigger happy with the snooze button till 7.30, which although my dark circles are thankful for, my workload is not. I’m a person who is most productive in the AM and feel like I’m fighting to stay away by 3pm, so it’s advantageous for me to throw myself into my to-do list full-speed once I’m awake. So I’ve been trying to switch things up and develop a routine that allows me get my full eight hours a night and gets me ticking off tasks before the standard working day starts. Here’s how to squeeze a bit more productivity out of your mornings…

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Go to bed earlier. It’s a simple one, but nodding off an hour earlier should, in theory, make it a little easier when your alarm rings in your ear an hour earlier the next morning. I like to be in bed for about 10pm and read/scroll through my phone till 10.30pm, before turning the lights off. If I stay up past 11pm I am completely cream-crackered the next day and an absolute horror to be around. If you find it difficult to go to bed much before midnight, try going to bed 5 minutes earlier each night until you find the time that works for your routine. Or go ham with the night-time rituals; draw yourself a bath, invest in a pillow spray, buy nice bedding and fluffy pyjamas. TREAT YO’ SELF.

Fool your brain. I never used to be one for snoozing. In fact it used to drive me mildly insane when Mark would snooze his alarm at least FIVE TIMES each morning. FIVE TIMES! I began each day with a blood pressure reading that would possibly be off the chart. However, recently I’ve been brought over to the dark side and have begun to join in with the snoozing game – partly to give Mark a taste of his own medicine and partly because I LOVE SLEEP. The thing with snooze-d sleep is that is not good quality, so I’ve been attempting to break the cycle by setting my alarm 15 minutes later and forcing myself to get up and at ’em without the need to press pause. That way I still get my extra sleep and it’s actually proper good slumber.

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Do what you need to do to wake up. Whenever I read these guides on how to curate the perfect morning routine, it’s often suggested that you enter into a moment of morning mediation when you rise. I’ve tried it in the past and although I can say that it’s nice to have a moment of peace before you start the day, I often pull out the ‘I just don’t have time’ excuse, or fall back asleep whilst I do it. So I preach to do whatever it is that you need to need to wake up; whether it be flicking through a magazine for a couple of pages or scrolling through your social media. Sure, it’s not the most ‘mindful’ way of waking up, but you’re waking up nonetheless and surely getting up earlier with a little Instagram stalking, is better than getting up an hour later, right? 

Take time for you. This is something that I’ve adopted from reading ‘The Working Woman’s Handbook’ (see Monday’s blog post on my learnings from it here). Instead of multitasking by inhaling my breakfast as I answer tweets with my spare hand, I’ve been putting 20 minutes on a timer and either have been taking that time to read in bed once I’m fully awake, or have been putting on a podcast as I potter around the flat and get things ready to go. Sure it cuts into my getting ready time, but it just forces me to be more efficient and cut out the faff. It’s actually really nice to take that time for yourself, doing something that you enjoy that isn’t directly work-related, before diving into your inbox. That can wait 20 minutes…

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Write a list. Seriously, how are we ever supposed to get anything done if we haven’t got a list to work from. I bow down to people who manage to mentally tick things off in the their heads because their brains are obviously less drain-like than mine. What other facts and figures are you keeping up there, eh? The only thing that I can memorise are early 2000’s RnB lyrics, everything else just falls out the bottom of the sieve. If I’ve got the time I’ll do a quickly session of weekly prep on a Sunday evening and schedule in my workouts and other engagements for the week ahead and work out what writing, filming and editing I can fit in on what days, so as to gauge a rough plan. But if I haven’t had the chance or my plans have changed, then I always take 10 minutes at the start of each day to pencil out a to-do list so I have a tick-list to work towards. Because let me tell you, there isn’t much else out there as satisfying as putting a tick next to an actioned item. My inner Monica just FREAKS OUT every time.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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