What should everyone do in the morning if they want to be much more productive all day long?
Nope, the answer isn't wake up early. Or drink coffee. Nor is it meditation, journaling or exercise. All of these are delightful ways to spend the first minutes of your day, but as I pointed out yesterday, successful daily routines are as individual as the people who craft and live them. There's no one-size-fits-all plan for the perfect morning.
So is there no advice on better mornings that applies to everyone? Actually there is, according to a recent Quartz piece by Cassie Werber. All great morning routines share one common element -- joy.
"Mornings are pivotal," she argues. "They come before everything else in the day, so what you do with them matters." The best morning routines are about finding a way to set the tone for the day. Get that right and not only will you get more done, but you'll be happier doing it.
Which is why "carving out some early time to do something out of the ordinary can be mind-altering. You might need to set your alarm for an hour earlier than normal--but it'll be worth it," Werber insists.
The bulk of her post is dedicated to suggesting ideas to inject joy into a time of day that all to often is consumed by logistics and frantic preparation. These possibilities range from the delightful but impractical (set that alarm way earlier to bake a loaf of bread!) to the brilliant and actionable, like the ideas below.
Did you know that morning raves are a thing? Some people actually attend entirely sober 6:30am dance parties before heading to work. Maybe, like me, you think that sounds like a fabulous thing for other people to do. If so, you can just "turn off the news radio and put on your favorite music first thing in the morning," suggests Werber. "Even a kitchen dance party can make a big difference to your mood."
2. Cocoon and learn
Not the type to leap out of bed full of energy? Then try combining a leisurely wake-up with some learning to add more joy to your mornings. "Before starting my first job in financial journalism, I woke up an hour earlier every day and read about finance in bed," Werber offers as an example. "Learning languages, reading philosophy, studying works of art--can all be done without having to leave your cocoon."
3. Work up a sweat
More athletic types might want to try swimming. "To dunk yourself in a cool pool at the start of the day is a brilliant mood-changer," Werber says, adding that if you can find one that's outside, the experience will be even more magical. Or, if you get your bliss from another type of workout, that's clearly fabulous too.
4. Work up a sweat another way
Making love is an obvious but often overlooked joyful option, Werber points out (though it may not always be appropriate for families with early rising and inquisitive toddlers).
5. Go on a journey
Finally Werber suggests "turning your commute into a journey. Not every day, perhaps, but some days, take extra time and go a nicer route. If it's possible, cycle or walk." You could even take along your camera.