8 morning habits that changed my life (and my productivity)

Do you know the feeling of having your morning hijacked?

Related reading: INFOGRAPHIC with evidence based lifestyle tips

You thought you planned your morning with care and intention. You even scribbled down a couple of notes on a post-it before you fell asleep eager to remain in control of the day that was to come.

But as the next day unfolds invisible forces claim your attention and your time. Instead of spending quality time with your family, you are semi-aware of their physical presence while manically texting your colleagues about a deadline. Instead of going for a much needed run, you decide to answer the five most recent, seemingly urgent emails in your cluttered inbox.

When you leave the house, and think back on your morning, you don’t remember doing anything productive. But you forgot your house keys. And your laptop is still on the kitchen marble island.

Sigh.

– Excerpt from my morning, 2 years ago.
Related reading: My journey to Minimalism


Technology is a beast
When you’re a victim of morninghijacking it feels like the Tasmanian devil from Looney Tunes pays a swift visit to your brain. He speeds through your mind in a destructive tornado leaving only chaos and demolished brain ventricles behind. You basically forget your plans for the day because the Tasmanian brown beast has left a battlefield that calls for immediate action and reparation.

The morning-hijacking can manifest in various ways; it can be a colleague texting you outside of working hours to ask for a favor, it might be a notification on your phone about a newly published article on “Medium”or it could be two innocent Whatsapp messages from friends asking you about your weekend plans.

The problem with these seemingly innocent asks? They all require your immediate action.

The common denominator for morning-hijacks is that the “damage” originates from the digital world and, in 98% of cases, from notifications on your phone. (Physical world-incidents such as crying babies or slightly demanding spouses should not be classified as devils as they are vital for our thriving and happiness in the long-term).

My 8 morning habits – no hijacking allowed

  1. Preparation. My morning begins in the evening. Workout clothing is prepared on the dresser before I go to sleep. Phone is on call-block mode* from 8pm, I’m in bed by 9.30pm (on weekdays), I sleep by 10.30pm. Every. Damn. Night.
  2. Rest. I wake up with alarm after 8 hours of sleep. Phone stays on call-block mode.
  3. Hydrate. I drink a big glass of water.
  4. Gratitude. Change into my workout clothes. Starting to wake up physically while I practise gratitude for my ability to move.
  5. Intimacy. I wake up Nico. He brews black coffee for us. Every morning we sit down, look into each others eyes and talk. Even if we have just three minutes to go through our plans for the day, we make time for connecting.
  6. Movement. 5-minute meditation followed by 30-45 minute yoga and strength workout.
  7. Eat. Porridge at home. Find my healthy porridge recipe [here]
  8. Clean. I shower. I wash my hair two times a week –> use dry spray the other days. Let my hair dry without hair dryer. It takes me app. 5 minutes minutes to do my makeup, I’ve tested several times with a stopwatch.

Effects and productivity
After 2-3 hours of me-time I turn my phone off from call-block mode*. I welcome emails, texts, and notifications into my life by visiting the platforms and apps I’ve intentionally chosen to use.

Conclusion
Don’t let your phone or other shiny toys of technology dominate your mornings. Mornings are yours and need to be savoured in solitude – and with your loved ones.
It took me six months and a considerable portion of goodwill to grow into this 8-step routine.

Learning #1 I’ve found that transparent communication to friends and slightly astonished colleagues helped smooth most misunderstandings and wonderings about my lack of response in the early hours. Let them know why you are prioritising differently, and they will inevitably respect you for your ability to prioritise.

My 8-step routine has also allowed me to be fully present in the activities I do and to connect deeper with the wonderful people, I have in my life.

Learning #2 If you are drawn to changing your morning habits, start with one or two steps at a time. If you decide to make a change, then stick to it, and smile graciously back at people who try to convince you that sleep is underrated (hello – didn’t you read “why we sleep”?)

The one who wins the morning wins the day.
Thank you for reading.

*Call-block mode: During call block mode I’m able to receive calls from my boyfriend, my parents and my brother due to the configurations I’ve set (allowed numbers). All notifications are muted 24 hours a day. No other number and notification-system are able to seize my attention outside of my phone hours.

References:Emotional Intelligence (1995): Daniel GolemanDigital Minimalism (2018): Cal NewportWhy we sleep (2017): Matthew Walker

Published by Louise

I'm a happy, usually smiling and very cuious girl.

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