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Seven Ways to Make Mornings Better

Use a regular alarm clock, not your phone.
Use a regular alarm clock, not your phone.

How you start your day is important. Get up without a plan and it's easy to get sucked into time wasters. Tasks that seem important at the moment, but that do little to help you reach your goals. Here are seven things you can do to take control of your day.

Use a traditional alarm clock to wake up and NOT your smart phone or tablet. This helps two ways. At night you won't be tempted to use it before you go to sleep. In the morning, you won't have it available to use when the alarm goes off. The first thing you do in the morning should be preparing yourself for the day, not clearing out emails or responding to things on social media. By using an old fashioned alarm clock, you've removed the temptation.

Test the clocks before you buy one, to make sure the alarm is loud enough and that it runs quiet enough for your bedroom environment. You should also get one with a battery backup, just in case power goes out in the middle of the night.

Keep a pen and paper beside your bed. It's a place to write down any thoughts or ideas you may have in the middle of the night. The same goes for any good ideas you get when you wake up in the morning. You don't have to do anything with them yet, just make sure there's a place to get those things out of your head and onto paper. Don't jot them down in a phone or tablet. The light they emit can make it harder to fall back asleep.

Make your bed when you get up. It's a way of taking the bed off limits so you aren't tempted to tumble back in.

Drink a glass of water when you get out of bed. I'm not suggesting you skip your coffee or other caffeinated beverage, just that you take in water first. Water can help relieve the dry mouth and dehydration many people experience from sleeping. It's also a good way to start waking up and feeling refreshed.

Do something for 5-10 minutes to relax and prepare your mind. Spend a few minutes doing a meditation. Read a passage from a motivational book. Repeat an empowering mantra. Think about all the things you have to be grateful for. Plan something you can do every morning that will help you focus your thoughts and face the day with a positive attitude.

Do something to work your body. That may mean a few minutes of stretching, some yoga poses or a full fledged workout. Whatever you decide, make it consistent. Morning is typically the time when you will experience the least amount of interruptions. That means you're more likely to keep on track if you plan something physical early, rather than in the afternoon or evening.

Review your schedule and tasks for the day. Take any ideas you wrote down the night before that need attention, and figure out how to fit them onto your calendar. If something is bothering you, deal with it. Decide if you're going to drop it, handle it today or move it out to a future date. Then let it go. If you use an electronic calendar, this is one of those acceptable times to start using your phone, computer or tablet.

Don't feel obligated to keep adding more tasks. Once every couple of months I analyze my morning routine. I don't just look at ways to make things more efficient. I also ask myself if something needs to be done at all. Sometimes the best action is to do nothing. Keep things simple.

Once you've got a morning routine that works, protect it. The mornings are yours. Guard that time from people or things that want to steal it away. Remember that getting a great start to the day is something you're responsible for. It's far too important to leave up to chance.

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12/29/2018