Productivity

5 Ways to Stop Sleepwalking Through Your Mornings

5 Ways to Stop Sleepwalking Through Your Mornings
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Do you laze around the house until the last possible minute before you go to work? Or, if you work from home, do you spend an inordinate amount of time getting started on your daily responsibilities? It can be hard to stay accountable to yourself in the mornings, especially if you don't naturally feel refreshed and ready to go. Here are five ways for you to take control over your mornings and get more done than you ever though possible.

1. Don't hit snooze

The sheets are warm, it's cold outside, and you're just too comfortable. Yes, it can be too tempting to just hit the snooze button and catch 30 more minutes of sleep before work. However, this could set you up for failure, especially if you will need to pop out of bed and rush through your breakfast and morning routine afterwards.

Avoid becoming complacent with your alarm by mixing up the alert sounds. If you use a cell phone alarm, just change up the audio file once in a while to keep you on your toes. The Maimonides Medical Center warns against snooze button usage, explaining that repeated alarms can disrupt your sleep cycles.

Related: 5 Surefire Ways to Maximize Your Life, Starting This Morning

2. Don't get distracted

When you're groggy, it can be easy to wander between rooms, slowly choosing your wardrobe, getting breakfast ready and maybe watching the morning news. However, you can squander precious minutes if you get distracted by the non-essentials. Avoid prolonged morning rituals by keeping the TV off, avoiding your work email and staying away from other external time-sucks that can detract from your morning goals. If you find yourself trying on various outfits in the morning, then think about making your fashion selection the night before, so that  you can simply get dressed.

3. Use time wisely

You know that backlog of tasks you've been meaning to catch up on? Maybe the morning is the perfect time to complete these items. You might be surprised by just how much you can get done. Think about practicing your hobby for 15 minutes before work, getting in some extra play time with the kids or taking your dogs for longer walks. Instead of writing a task off for the unknown "later," see if you can cross off some of these routine tasks early in the morning.

Related: 8 Steps to Having Wildly Productive Mornings

4. Tackle the hardest things

On the flip side, you don't want to get too ambitious with your morning tasks. The social media management company Buffer encourages readers to consider Mark Twain's advice, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."

Basically, if you surmount one major obstacle in the morning, then you won't have to worry about the tasks that follow throughout the rest of the day. For example, you might be procrastinating on that extremely important report due next week. Instead of inflating the task in your head, just get it done tomorrow morning so that you can forget about it!

5. Leave early

Have you ever woken up early only to arrive at work late or almost late because of various morning distractions? If you can't seem to manage you time wisely before getting to work, maybe you should strive to leave early instead. If you can't clock in before a shift starts, then bring your computer on the road and catch up on the morning news or tasks on your computer before you begin your shift. Leaving early can help reduce the daily scramble and your anxiety about tardiness.

Related: 12 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast