You stop your alarm, hit the snooze and drag yourself from bed zombie-eyed. As the clock ticks, you realize you are running late.
You rush to complete your morning chores. You pack your bag while stuffing toast down your throat and making a phone call. You drive in a hurry and reach work just on time.
Some people have a hurried morning routine while some others approach their morning with a lot more grace.
Have you realized when your morning starts in a hurry, the rest of your day follows similar chaos? If you start your morning well, the rest of the day follows suit.
In short, your morning usually sets the tone for your day. Doing the right things in the morning and avoiding the bad habits will make the rest of your day pumped, peaceful and productive.
Therefore, you must spend your morning well. You do not have to wake up early at 5 AM for a fruitful morning. If you want to know tips on how to wake up early, follow the article.
But be more wary of how your morning goes by. Be aware of the habits which can harm your mornings and the rest of your day.
8 things you should not do in the morning when you wake up
1. Checking the phone in bed:
if you asked me what should you not do first thing in the morning, I would say using the smartphone.
But what is the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up? Most people slide their hand under the pillow, pick the phone and check what did they miss.
You scan Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp to find out who reached out to you and what people are doing. Such behavior is now ingrained as a habit for many.
When you start the day by looking at your phone, you crave to check what you missed each morning. Also, your day starts as a comparison with other people’s lives. It dampens your fresh mind which could otherwise be used to accomplish fruitful things.
The Center For Humane Technology is an organization that tries to understand how technology hijacks our lives.
Tristen Harris, it’s co-founder said “Looking at your phone as soon as you wake up frames the experience of ‘waking up in the morning’ around a menu of ‘all the things I’ve missed since yesterday.’”
Such a mindset impacts your productivity the entire day.
We also spend time in the morning browsing, checking news feed and reading news articles. Morning time is precious and wasting them on such activity can be avoided by not checking the phone first.
Many people love to snooze two or three times before waking up. Some people even account for the snooze when setting the alarm.
For example, to wake up at 7 AM, you set an alarm at 6:45 AM to allow 2 snoozes. Snoozing gives us the relief of having to sleep some more when the alarm sounds.
Little do you know that when the alarm sounds, you are alarming your heart. When you snooze a couple more times, you add more alarms. Every time you snooze, you jolt your heart a little.
To save your heart from this trouble, set the alarm to the exact time you want to wake up. Once the alarm sounds, turn it off and get out of bed. Snoozing does more damage to you than waking up at the first go.
3. Leaving the blinds closed
You may not like the sunlight creeping into your house during the wee hours of the morning. However, this sunlight has many benefits. Your body expects sunlight in the morning.
Light works as an indicator to signal the start and end of a day. Your body follows the day and night cycle based on the availability of light. At least your body learned so due to evolution. These days, artificial lights have disrupted nature’s way of identifying night and day.
Irrespective of the cyclic rhythm of the body, morning sunlight helps fight diseases, strengthens bones and prevents inflammation.
Leaving your blinds closed might give you a feeling of a prolonged night, but you miss out on the benefits of the early morning sunlight.
4. Getting out of bed instantly or laying there for long
Some people roll around in bed for a long time while some get out of bed in an instant. Neither of them is good for you.
Waking up abruptly does not give your body enough time to adapt to waking up. The way your body and mind functions, when you are asleep vs when you are awake, is a polar opposite. When you wake up, your body needs a few minutes to prepare for the awakened state.
You do not have to lie in bed for a long time. 2 minutes in bed serves as enough time for the body to adapt.
People ask can getting up quickly and immediately after waking up harm my health? The internet is full of rumors about increased heart attack/stroke due to waking up abruptly. However, such claims do not have any medical sources yet. You may not have a stroke but give your body a couple of minutes to settle down.
On the other side, staying in bed for too long can urge you to stay for some more time. For example, if you have been in bed for 10 minutes, you feel like staying for 5 more. Chances are those 5 minutes extend to another 15 or you might even fall asleep again. Waking up 2-5 minutes from the time you woke up works best.
All you need to do is sit up. Once you have sat up, you have won the battle against sleep.
5. Starting your day at random
So you decided to wake up early and you did wake up too. You have an hour of extra time, so what do you do? You go about it at random. You do what your mind tells you during that time like thinking about random things, reading the newspaper, watching a Youtube video and whatnot.
By approaching your morning at random, you fail to use your mornings effectively. You do not have to use your morning as per some written rule. All you need is a decent way to use your morning time. Do something which helps you improve and grow.
If you do not wake up early you might wonder what to do when you wake up early in the morning? Here are a few things to do to transform your morning and make it fruitful.
- Do something you are passionate about
- Work on your long term goals
- Work on a side hustle such as blogging on your topic of interest
- Plan your day
- Learn a new skill or improve your area of expertise by taking an online course or reading a book
You do not need a plan as detailed as launching a satellite into orbit. You only have to ensure your morning time gives you its best worth.
6. Eating sugary stuff, coffee or skipping breakfast/liquids
A hormone called cortisol is at peak levels when you wake up. Cortisol makes us feel alert and awake in the morning. Drinking coffee during this time is equivalent to watering the plants when it is raining.
Over time, drinking coffee will lead to your body developing tolerance to cortisol and you will need a coffee to keep you awake and fresh always. Drinking coffee after 10 AM is advised by the experts when your cortisol levels have reduced.
What you eat makes a difference to your day too. While a croissant, doughnut or a smoothie tastes yummy for breakfast, you are better off avoiding them. Sugary items are not bad per se but they do not do enough justice for the calories you intake.
Sugary eatables have a chunk of their calories in sugars which are broken down by the body as glucose. Sugars are easy to break down and your body is quick to absorb them. Therefore, sugary items release a burst of energy which your body does not need.
Such sugary food does not keep you energized for long. Complex carbohydrates such as cereal or whole-grain food are digested by the body at a slow pace over a few hours. During the slow digestion, energy is released little by like like your body expects it.
As for breakfast, people have different views. Some people believe skipping breakfast helps them lose weight while some others believe that eating breakfast boosts their metabolism which helps them burn more calories. None of these theories have proof to generalize them.
How the metabolism responds to breakfast varies from person to person. Skipping breakfast causes no harm or benefit to health as far as you eat healthy for the rest of the day.
Having said that, skipping breakfast can cause low energy levels until you eat because you are running empty since dinner. It also increases the chances of you eating junk for lunch due to the prolonged hunger.
The same applies to water, Your body is deprived of water from the time you slept. Hydrate your body after you wake up so that the body can function well.
7. Reading Emails
These days people feel the need to read emails now and then. Since most people have their emails configured on their phones, checking emails is only a few taps away. So people read emails outside their work hours, during weekends and vacation.
Reading emails has today become an addiction. People feel the need to check emails many times a day.
Ask yourself, how many times do you check email because you are expecting an email? In most cases, you are checking email due to the force of habit hoping to find an email to entertain you.
Due to the habit formed, you tend to check your email as soon as you wake up.
Once you check your emails, your mailbox dictates your day. You jump from one email to another, performing tasks that others are asking you. You forget your own goals, dreams, and passion.
Do not check your emails first thing in the morning. Emails can wait. You live under the false presumption that you need to check emails.
If you don’t check emails, you feel like you miss something. Truth is, you miss nothing. You have portrayed an image of yourself as a person who is super active on email when no one asked you to.
Skip the email for the first few hours of your workday. Most roles and professions do not need emails attended first thing in the morning.
Ask yourself, does your work need you to answer emails as the first thing in your day or have you made it so? The chances are it is the latter.
8. Avoid decision making
Do you remember searching for a good hotel for a long time on the internet and not finding one? When you finally found one, your head felt heavy and exhausted. You felt tired because making a decision consumes energy.
Keeping your mornings simple helps you avoid fatigue incurred due to decision making. Avoid breaking your head on what breakfast should you cook or what clothes should you wear.
You do not have to wear the same T-shirt every day as Mark Zuckerberg does. But that doesn’t mean you try 3 different outfits to decide which one suits you best. Pick something which you look good in and start your day.
Use your morning time for action instead. Make some progress towards your long term goal, learn something new or improve your skills. You have the whole day ahead to do the rest.
You do not have to transform your morning into a schedule of a billionaire which includes meditation, visualization, exercise, eating a breakfast which comprises of 40% protein, 40% carb, and 20% fat. Half of such crazy morning schedules are made up by authors of articles on the internet than the billionaires themselves.
If you read such schedules, you give up even before you start because it seems beyond your abilities. Therefore, you mustn’t try to transform your morning from one of extreme laziness to that of the richest man in the world.
Approach the change in your mornings gracefully letting your mind and body adapt at a slow pace. Trying to force drastic changes is like braking abruptly causing your tires to wear off. Smooth braking might take a little longer and be a tad second slower but is far more easy on the tires. Changing your morning schedule over time is easier on your mind and body.
All you need to do is build some good habits and avoid bad ones. Get a sound sleep, use the mornings and the rest of your day fruitfully. Using simple techniques you can make the most of your mornings. Keep your morning simple stupid.
What I am not:
What I am:
Continuously improving self-learner
Productivity/Time Management Obsessed