Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: Four Actions to Maximize Your Mornings

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” – Will Rogers, American humorist.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are morning people, and those who hate them (haha!). Regardless of which you are, one thing’s for sure: we all need to maximize our mornings.

Granted, not everyone walks into the office at peak energy, and that’s fine. Despite all the advice out there telling you to do your hardest task first, if you’re not a morning person, you won’t be at your productive best. So how do you get the ball rolling? Try these four simple tips:

  1. Feed the machine. Eat a decent breakfast. Your blood sugar is at its lowest upon waking, so you need energy to get going. Try eggs, cereal, toast, oatmeal, or fruit to get the motor running. You’ll feel more energetic and awake with a bit in your stomach. Even if you aren’t hungry, eat something anyway. Think of it as fuel for your brain.

  2. Engage autopilot. Arrange your mornings so you have to make as few decisions as possible. It may sound crazy, but studies show we all have a limited amount of willpower available for use each day. The more decisions you make, the more willpower you use up—so it may prove harder to maintain productivity later in the day. Besides, it’s easier and faster all around if you set up a routine you can perform easily and automatically every morning, both before leaving home and after you arrive in the office. If you know exactly what comes next, you don’t have to waste any time between tasks.

  3. Caffeinate as necessary. Many of us need a little jump-start in the morning. Caffeine is a great legal stimulant, and coffee makes an excellent delivery system. If you’re most definitely not a morning person, a cup can provide the boost that gets you going. I have one cup a day, but it’s a very large cup! I drink a cup of water first, and then nurse my cup of joe longer than usual by heating it up in the microwave. Spacing out my coffee this way keeps me from experiencing a caffeine crash.

  4. Prepare for your workday the previous afternoon. About half an hour before quitting time, take a few moments to put together your to-do list for the next day. This way, you don’t have to worry about it in the morning, and so you’ll know exactly what should come next whenever you finish a task. You may also want to clean up your workspace before leaving for the day. This is standard practice in many blue-collar jobs, mostly so the worker’s tools end up where they should, and therefore easily accessible in the morning. This works for white-collar workers too; plus, the lack of clutter makes it easier to focus on the work at hand. Workplace decluttering guides always recommend you clean up both physical and digital desktops to aid focus.

Walking on Sunshine

Whether you like mornings or not, you’ll always have to navigate them—even when you work the graveyard shift.  Rather than allow yourself to bog down early in the day, whether because you’re sluggish or distracted by other things, do your level best to put those hours to good use. These tips should help you get started—and they’re only a springboard for the many tips you can experiment with in your quest to master your mornings.


About Laura Stack, your next keynote speaker:

© 2019 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling author, and noted authority on employee and team productivity. She is the president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., a company dedicated to helping leaders increase workplace performance in high-stress environments. Stack has authored eight books, including FASTER TOGETHER: Accelerating Your Team’s Productivity (Berrett-Koehler 2018). She is a past president of the National Speakers Association, and a member of its exclusive Speaker Hall of Fame (with fewer than 175 members worldwide). Stack’s clients include Cisco Systems, Wal-Mart, and Bank of America, and she has been featured on the CBS Early Show and CNN, and in the New York Times. To have Laura Stack speak at an upcoming meeting or event, call 303-471-7401 or contact us online.

Here’s what others are saying:

“What I enjoyed most about your presentation was that it was not only engaging but also practical in application. I’ve read everything from Covey’s system to “Getting Things Done,” and you presented time management in a way that is the easiest I’ve seen to digest and apply. Thank you for helping our system today!”
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—Molly Johnson, Vice President Domestic Sales, Episciences, Inc.

“Ms. Laura Stack’s program received the highest scores in the 13-year history of the Institute for Management Studies (IMS) in Cleveland! From the 83 participants, the workshop received a perfect 7.0 for “Effectiveness of the Speaker” and 6.8 for “Value of the Content.” Managers especially valued learning about task management, how to minimize interruptions, organizing with Outlook, prioritizing, effectively saying ‘no,’ how to set boundaries, and recognizing self-imposed challenges to time management.”
—Don Gorning, Chair, Institute for Management Studies Cleveland

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