Countless CEOs, professional athletes, and other high performers swear by their morning routine and what it does for them. I can’t knock it, rising early and adopting a consistent morning routine has done wonders for me as well.
But while there’s a lot of talk about what you should be doing when you wake up in the morning, the morning rituals that will help lead you to success and happiness, there’s very little conversation about the things you shouldn’t be doing.
If the goal is to increase productivity and get the most out of life, you can’t just wake up and do a few positive things. You need a complete plan to maximize your time and get the most from each morning, and that also includes nixing a few things that are liable to hold you back.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
– Steve Jobs
Fortunately, avoiding harmful morning habits can be much easier than adopting new positive ones.
Here are some morning habits you should stop ASAP:
Yup, sorry, I went for the jugular on this one. I know how much many of you love your morning cup, but it’s got to go if you want to get the most out of each morning and day.
Points can be made about how coffee leaves a bit to be desired in the health department, however, what I’m really pinpointing here is caffeine consumption.
The problem with coffee is that there’s nothing in it that offsets the negative effects of the caffeine. So, while it gives you a fresh jolt of energy at first, very quickly (and much more over time) your energy drops back down and you start to feel jittery and frantic, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.
The good news? You can come over to the dark side and switch to tea. Particularly, green tea. That’s because green tea has something called L Theanine, which actually offsets the jitters and anxiousness caused by the caffeine with a calming and soothing effect.
However, don’t think it’s going to make you soft. The combination of caffeine and L Theanine have actually shown to improve focus better than caffeine alone.
2. Your snooze alarm
I know, I’m hitting pretty hard here. No caffeine or sleeping in? However, if you want to maximize your morning and develop good habits, you need to get used to hitting the ground running at the same time each day.
There will be times when you’ll need to catch up on a little sleep and end up sleeping in. However, for the most part, it’s best not to condition yourself to use a snooze alarm, as this encourages laziness and inconsistency.
A powerful morning routine is all about consistency. So, if you can wake up at a consistent time (doesn’t have to be on the dot but within a half hour or so), that will help condition the behavior you’re trying to implement and support your entire morning ritual.
3. And your smartphone
Whether it’s checking Facebook, scrolling through Instagram, or wasting your time watching random YouTube videos, your smartphone is a black hole whose favorite thing to eat is time– and lots of it.
Most of us have the habit of waking up and immediately checking our smartphones, social being the most prominent part of that. This is a horrible way to start off the day because you train your brain to immediately go into a vegetative state instead of a proactive one.
On top of this, checking your smartphone can interfere with the peace of the morning. Outside drama and thoughts of work and business are inevitably going to creep in by plugging in and you want to maintain your morning routine as a kind of sanctuary for nourishing your mind and body.
Instead of checking your smartphone first thing in the morning, choose to do something physical like jumping jacks or a quick run to get the blood flowing and wake you up.