Utilizing a morning routine is definitely a hot topic. Go on social media and there is no short of morning ritual testimonials out there. Most every, so called guru and successful individual, attribute a portion of their success to having a morning routine. If you have watched or listened to any of these, you have noticed how much they differ from one another.
Some people get up and workout right away in the morning. Others get up, journal, meditate, and get connected with the earth. Others do something cold right away to shock their system and wake up. Some people go outside right away to do something outdoors. Some even say, they try to get working as fast as possible, with little distractions. However, with all these differences, there is one common standard between them all.
They all say, to stay off your phone for at least the first 30 minutes, to control your day. The reason being, once you go on your phone, you are no longer in control. You are checking for phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, etc. Which are all other peoples problems, which you are now taking as your problems. If you do not have a purpose, you will find some ones purpose to take on. This starts your day out with you being controlled instead of having the control. It also distracts you from performing tasks, which are more productive than answering your phone.
Whether any of this is true, I do not know. However, this is what science tells us. Our most productive time of day, with the most brain activity is the first 2-3 hours of waking up, as long as you wake up at your first alarm or wake up naturally. The reason you have to wake up and not hit snooze and go back to bed is because of our 90-110 minute sleep cycles. So, if it takes you 90 to 110 minutes to complete a sleep cycle and you hit snooze and only sleep for 10 minutes, you put yourself in a stage called sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is a temporary disorientation and decline in performance and/or mood after awakening from sleep. People can show slower reaction time, poorer short-term memory, and slower speed of thinking, reasoning, remembering, and learning.
There are sources saying sleep inertia is usually 30-60 minutes in duration but can last up to 4 hours. Take that for what is it, it is hard to get accurate information online anymore, especially when trusted sources, have proven not to be trustworthy anymore. Here is what I have to say about all of this.
When I wake up at my alarm clock, usually 5am or 530am, depends on the month, it usually takes me a few minutes to start functioning properly, but when I do, I feel awake. Especially if I go outside for a walk or take a cool shower (for me this is luke warm because I am not cold plunge crazy, I believe it has great benefits, but I am too much of a wuss). Once this occurs, I may be 20-30 minutes into my morning. I grab some water and coffee and go to work. I now have 2 hours of uninterrupted work. I am not getting phone calls, emails, texts, etc, from work. I am able to fully commit to the work at hand. So, I like to spend this time doing things that provoke or utilize the most brain power. Writing blog, doing research for topics, reading, journaling (thinking through things, and reviewing what has worked well and what has not), putting together budgets, going over what tasks need to be accomplished in the upcoming days, weeks, months, and other tasks that take optimal brain function to complete.
I have been telling Sam for years. I get more work accomplished in the morning, before the world is awake, than I do all day long. If I work from 5am-8am, I get more accomplished than working 8-4pm. I think it has a lot to do with minimal distractions. During the morning, my only distraction is Sam getting ready for work and Mimi wanting to be fed, which are both minor distractions and do not really throw me off my thought process. So, whether this is science backed or not, I know through years of trial and error of waking up early.
When I hit snooze, I feel groggy, and the day seems to get away from me. When I wake up at my alarm, I feel energized and ready for the day, even if I did not get as much sleep as the days I hit snooze. If I get in a little movement right away, like a walk, it increases my brain function and alertness even more. I can get an exponential amount of work done in the morning with no distractions. I regularly get more accomplished in 2-3 hours in the morning, than 8 hours during the working day.
The hardest part is doing this consistently. When I do this consistently, I function at a higher frequency and life seems to progress a lot better. I do not have to work as many hours to see more results. So, every time I get off track and hit snooze or miss a day, I like to remind myself how shitty I felt, how the day got away from me, how I felt like I was trying to play catch up with my day. I used to workout in the mornings, I loved this for similar reasons, I had minimal distractions, I got my movement in right away, and I got an important task done early in the morning. However, I know myself and I know I struggle with getting office type of work accomplished more than I struggle with going to the gym in the afternoon.
So, whatever it is that is most important to you and takes the most brain function. I recommend utilizing the mornings with minimal distractions to accomplish those tasks. Also, wake up right at your alarm and get some movement, even if that is walking to the coffee pot. Utilize this time in the morning and free up your worry later on in the day, when you could be relaxing.
Your life Tutor