Unless you’re one of those people who naturally springs out of bed with glowing skin and boundless energy, mornings are hard .
But there are things you can do to make the beginning of your day run a little more smoothly.
INSIDER spoke to productivity experts and scoured the internet to find the best tips for making your morning as stress-free as possible. We’re not going so far as to say you should become a morning person (even though science says you’d reap many health benefits ), but these seven hacks will help you start the day off on the right foot.
1. Set out your outfit and everything you need the night before.
Peggy Duncan, a personal productivity expert and coach, told INSIDER that you should start planning for your morning before you go to bed the night before.
“Don’t wake up wondering what you’ll wear, where you’re going, or how to get there,” she said. “Get totally prepared the night before so all you’ll have to do is get dressed and have breakfast .”
2. Don’t choose your favorite song for your alarm clock sound.
“You should never use your favorite music as an alarm , because once a song becomes your alarm, it stresses you out any time you hear it,” Nick Douglas wrote in Lifehacker.
Douglas recommends choosing a song you wouldn’t normally listen to that’s “catchy” but also “kind of annoying.”
Or better yet, ditch your phone for a real alarm clock to improve your sleep.
3. Get up early enough that you don’t have to rush.
The most stressful mornings are when you wake up late and have to scramble to get yourself to work on time.
It sounds simple, but waking up early enough can make a big difference in your morning routine, according to Duncan.
“Count backwards from the time you need to be in your seat,” she said. “This will alert you to what time the alarm needs to go off, including those minutes you’ll snooze it.”
4. Wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably agree that there’s no better aroma than the scent of a freshly brewed pot.
“Programmable coffee pot set to start 15 minutes before your alarm goes off… that way you wake up to the smell of hot coffee,” Reddit user FacePunchYou wrote.
That tempting scent is a gentle way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.
5. Avoid looking at your phone right away.
For some people, taking some space from their phones can help put them in the right mindset in the morning.
“I don’t turn on my phone until I’ve brushed my teeth , made breakfast, and gotten dressed,” Meredith Fineman, founder of FinePoint, told Refinery29. “Not only does it make me more productive, but it’s a reminder that I can separate.”
6. Include some quiet time in your routine.
Maura Thomas, a speaker, trainer, and author on attention management and productivity, told INSIDER it’s difficult to be “present” if your mornings are always rushed.
“This means you’re more likely to be unprepared and distracted, and not have what you need for the day,” she said. “Starting out feeling rushed and overwhelmed can set the tone for a day full of the same. One way that you can start the day a little less frazzled and a little more in control of your attention is to have a routine that includes some quiet time, such as meditation, reading, deep breathing, or stretching.”
“If you start the day calm and in control, you set the tone for the rest of the day, or at least make it easier to recall it when your day gets hectic,” Thomas added.
7. Check your schedule for the day before you leave for work.
Once you’ve given yourself time to wake up and get yourself in the right state of mind, you can start thinking about work and other responsibilities.
Thomas said you should check your calendar before you head to work to get a jump-start on a productive day.
“If you’ve got meetings scheduled, carve out 30 minutes to review the topic of the meeting and any relevant information related to the topic of the meeting,” she told INSIDER.
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