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How To Wake Up Feeling Confident, Relaxed, And Productive

Woman in Bed

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” ~Glen Cook

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Time’s up.

You’ve got twenty minutes to shower, get dressed, eat, and get to work.

Screw it—skip the shower today. And you can wait till lunch to eat.

Go! Go! Go!

We all know the feeling. These mornings suck.

From the moment you wake up you’re in a constant rush to get ready for work and out the door on time.

By the time you arrive you’re stuck in a frenzied state of mind, never able to settle into the day.

And if there’s traffic, forget it. Between knuckle-headed drivers, hitting every red light, and showing up late looking like a wreck, your entire day is ruined before you’ve even clocked in.

The question is, why do we do this to ourselves?

We sleep in as late as possible and jump out of bed, desperate to get ready quickly so we won’t look like Cinderella riding home in a pumpkin because she couldn’t manage her time.

The good news is you don’t need a fairy godmother or glass slippers to have a more productive, relaxing morning and get to work on time.

You only need two things: the mindset to make it happen and a simple strategy to set yourself up for success.

Only you can control the first. Going from someone who could never get out of bed on time to an early bird who wakes up at 5:30 seven days a week, I know all about the second.

These are the steps that contribute to what I call my perfect morning.

1. Add two, subtract two.

The biggest reason your mornings are rushed and unproductive is because you don’t give yourself enough time.

With the exception of true night owls, most occupy themselves late at night doing the unimportant, like watching TV, surfing the web, and overeating.

For many, it’s easier to get things done in the morning because there are fewer distractions.

The solution: Go to bed two hours earlier and wake up two hours earlier.

If you can’t make the switch that easily, wake up fifteen minutes earlier every few days and build on that until you’ve reach two hours.

Instead of staying up late staring at a screen, do yourself a favor and get some sleep so tomorrow you’re relaxed and ready for the day.

2. Put your phone/alarm across the room.

There are two problems with keeping your phone within reach while you sleep.

First, you’re prone to check it. Science has shown screen time at night tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, which decreases levels of melatonin (the sleep chemical), making it harder to fall asleep.

Second, the dreaded snooze button. When you fragment sleep by snoozing, you wake up feeling more tired than you did in the first place.

Putting your phone across the room eliminates both issues. You’ll fall asleep faster without distractions and set yourself up for success in the morning, so you wake up and stay up.

3. Gratitude first.

Have you ever noticed after a rough morning it seems your whole day goes that way?

You stub your toe first thing out of bed and then get stuck in a negative mindset you can’t escape.

The best technique I use to prevent this is to say “thank you” as soon as I open my eyes.

Doing this puts myself in position to notice the good in my life rather than let the bad things affect me.

Start your morning with a positive attitude and put yourself on the path to a great day.

4. Start with enjoyment.

Some people thrive on rolling out of bed to bust out 100 pushups to start their day.

For most people, this doesn’t work.

Our body needs a chance to wake up. You’re still in a dream state anywhere from five to thirty minutes after waking.

I like to do something that relaxes me into the day, like having tea while I read.

Instead of rushing, a calm awakening helps transition your mind while your body adjusts, setting the rest of your day up for success.

5. Avoid all news/media.

This habit is hard for some to break. They feel it’s irresponsible to not stay informed about what’s happening in the world.

But the news is downright depressing. It’s difficult to have a positive mindset when you start the day hearing about all the terrible things going on in the world.

Yes, it’s good to stay informed, but not at the expense of your own well-being.

Do yourself a favor and avoid all negative media in the morning. If you have to watch the news, wait until you get home from work.

In terms of happier mornings, it’s the best decision you’ll ever make.

6. Fuel your body.

Our bodies are like cars. With the tank full, a car will save gas and run longer.

After a night of sleep your body hasn’t had any fuel for hours.

Drinking lots of water and eating high energy foods like berries or oatmeal helps wake up your internal organs to give you the energy you need for the day.

Your body will tell you what it wants if you’re willing to listen. Work with your body rather than against it and your body will return the favor.

7. Complete your most important task first.

Dan Ariely, a leader in the field of time management, suggests our highest quality hours of production are the first two hours after waking.

The problem is that most waste their most productive hours doing tedious tasks like checking email or frantically rushing to get ready.

This concept changed my life. Instead of lying around doing nothing, I now spend the majority of my morning getting my #1 task of the day done.

The best part is even if everything else goes wrong, you can rest assured knowing you still completed priority number one.

8. Pick out clothes the night before.

Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, explains we only have a certain amount of willpower for making decisions each day before reaching “decision fatigue.”

He says, “We have a finite amount of mental resources. The more decisions you rack up in one area, the fewer you can use on another.”

By avoiding simple decisions in the morning, by picking clothes the night before and planning breakfast ahead, you’ll be more confident in making the bigger decisions that actually matter.

9. Leave for work twenty minutes early.

Best-case scenario: you show up early, your boss is impressed, and you’re able to relax into the day.

By leaving early, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. You can enjoy the ride and appreciate having a means of transportation to get to work.

If you work from home, give yourself extra time to get into work mode. You’re still a professional; don’t wait until last second to rush into phone calls and sales meetings.

Don’t ruin a perfectly good morning by waiting until last second to rush to work.

Leave early, get there early, and observe how much better your day is without any needless rushing.

Start Now

You don’t need to be a morning person to take advantage of time before work and prepare yourself for the day ahead.

Having a more productive, confident, and relaxing morning is about putting yourself in position to succeed.

By making small changes like picking out my clothes before bed, leaving my phone across the room, and waking up earlier, I’ve created a habit of productive mornings with time still left over for watching the sunrise every day.

With a little willpower and a few changes, you can turn the morning hours into the most enjoyable and productive part of your day.

Woman relaxing in bed image via Shutterstock

About George Mortimer

George Mortimer travels the world living alternative lifestyles to prove an amazing life is easier than you think. He’s also the founder of GoodLifeConfidential, an online community where ordinary people create extraordinary lives. Start living yours now with the Free GLC Starter Pack.

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  • JoyCWatson

    xZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  • IBikeNYC

    I started doing this decades ago (in my late twenties) when I realized I was too old for lateness to be cute or okay.

    TWENTY MINUTES FROM BED TO SIDEWALK?!

    How about an hour and a half?!

    No more rudeness / impatience with those around me; no more looking or feeling stupid when I’m late, AGAIN; no more out-of-control franticness that poisons entire days!

    GETTING INTO the habit stinks!

    BEING IN it is EXHILARATING!

  • Deana Ward

    I really loved this article:) Thanks George for sharing this wonderful collection. My favorite was ‘start with enjoyment.’ How often do we forget that life can and should be enjoyed…even Monday mornings:) haha!

  • Peace Within

    Thank you George. These are great tips!

  • Great tips, very useful, practical advice! Starting with enjoyment and avoiding all news/media are particularly essential to beginning the day feeling clear and positive.

  • Lori English

    Great tips, and love the article. Breaking free from the past is the best way of finding happiness and keeping it.

  • Hey, Lori! Couldn’t agree more with escaping our past! Thank you for leaving a comment!

  • Staying away from news/media was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Thank you for a great comment!

  • Thanks so much! Glad you liked it!

  • I can see you have a lot of passion with this topic…That’s awesome!

    You’re absolutely right, it’s not always easy to start the habit of waking up earlier, but once you get it done it is truly life changing.

    Thank you for leaving a comment!

  • Haha great point, Deana! It’s true though, it’s the small victories in the morning that make the rest of the day go so well. It’s not a coincidence that most bad days start with stubbing your toe first thing out of bed!

    Thank you for commenting!

  • Hi George great tips, I was not a morning person but made the shift 10 minutes at a time until I was getting up at 520 am, I now get to work early and leave on time so that I can spend time playing with my little boy.

    Small changes and being organised build up to big things.

    Take care

    Glen

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  • Sarah Blinco

    Great tips, I totally agree with all of this, and since implementing such strategies, my mornings are terrific! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Since reading your post, I’ve changed my morning routine. All screens – large and small – remain off for one hour while I begin my day in more productive, peaceful, mindful ways. It’s quite lovely how tranquil a person feels when starting the day with a book and a nice cup of tea. Thank you again George, for the excellent advice! 🙂

  • That’s awesome! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve developed a habit of a peaceful & productive morning!!

  • Mars

    Very nice article. Well pointed. I totally agree with No. 2 and I’m going to try No. 3 now!

  • Lori English

    Yes, thanks for responding. Our past can keep us stagnate. when you move on from pain and anger you get a sense of freedom!

  • Aanand

    How one can break himself free from the past? Please guide!