Reprinted from today’s Forbes.com where I (R. Kenner French) am a contributor.
Starting your morning off on the right foot can make a huge impact on the rest of the day. In addition to putting you in a better mood and headspace, it can also lessen stress and boost productivity in the workplace. Here are the 5 morning habits to lessen stress and boost productivity as compiled by Forbes.com with contributions from various well noted entrepreneurs.
1. Say ‘No’ To Anything Unnecessary
Success can only be attained when one is focused and disciplined with a plan in place. A routine and schedule are very important. In 2022, I found that the power of “no” was a big factor in my focus and success. Say “no” to unnecessary inputs — whether it be a meeting that doesn’t need to happen or a phone call that could be shorter. Have the awareness to turn it all off and focus on the task at hand. — Patrick Plunkett, Federal Housing Solutions
2. Tackle Key Tasks First
Supercharging my morning actually starts at the end of my workday the day before. I write down a list of up to four of the most important things I need to accomplish tomorrow to move the needle, personally or professionally. Then in the morning, I tackle those items before the day gets away from me. This reduces my stress and ensures I am getting my most important items done each day. — Jacob Corlyon, CCMR3
3. Set Alarms Early
As a recovering “chronically late” person, I now have a method that keeps me on track and always on time. Before I tuck in for the night, I review my calendar and set alarms on my iPhone nine minutes before every start time (or departure time for on-site meetings). Those nine minutes are my “snooze time.” Since doing this, I have less stress and am always prepared ahead of my meetings. And my clients have noticed! — Judi Hays, Judi Hays, Inc.
4. Create A Morning Routine
Creating a morning routine is essential for a successful day! Having a set of activities that you do every single morning can help you get started on the right foot and set the right tone for the entire day. This might include things like exercise, meditation, planning out the day and making a healthy breakfast. Implement a morning routine for 30 days and you will reach your goals — I promise! — R. Kenner French, VastSolutionsGroup.com
5. Prepare The Night Before
The best habit that I adopted for lower stress and more productivity actually starts the night before. I like to lay out my next day to know what my day looks like, what I need to make sure I am prepared and what I want to accomplish. That helps me sleep better and execute well the next day. — Mark Costanza, MobileSmith Health, Inc.
6. Set Monthly, Weekly And Daily Goals
While working with a professional coach a few years ago, I learned to set monthly, weekly and daily goals for myself and my team. Of course, these may change during the course of the month, but taking the time to sit down, think them out and prioritize them has helped tremendously. The added bonus was that I now spend more quality time with family because my mind isn’t elsewhere. — Louis Bernardi, BritePath
7. Invigorate Your Mind And Body
Over the years, I’ve noticed that most successful business owners get up early and use the time to meditate, exercise or both. By invigorating my mind and body, as well as building mindsets to handle the challenges of the day, I find I am sharper in making decisions and better at allocating time and cooperating with other people. I also find I am creating and storing energy that keeps me going longer. — Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliantly
8. Implement Small Changes
We all need morning routines. Struggling with your morning sets the wrong tone for the day and can lead to stress, inadequate sleep and ineffective time management. Implementing small changes to your mornings helps manage stress. Things like meditation, journaling, stretching or exercising and finding motivation all contribute to a healthy mindset with less stress. After doing these, you’re ready for the day! — Adam Povlitz, Anago Cleaning Systems
9. Collect ‘Wins’ Early
You may or may not be disciplined enough to make a to-do list and stick to it, which could lead to some disappointment. Start by completing things; some people like to tackle the hardest thing while others like to start small and build up. Either way, just get things fully off your plate by doing them or delegating. Your days will have clarity and your morale will skyrocket. — Jean Paul De Silva Clauwaert, Web Content Development
10. Get Up Immediately
The day has got to be started on a positive note, as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. First, don’t hit snooze or you will have already failed your first task for the day. Get up immediately — that’s one task completed, which leads to more. Then workout, meditate and read or listen to positivity. — Todd Price, Perimeter Roofing
11. Write Out Focus Points And Tasks
Every single morning, one of the most important rituals that I complete is setting myself up for success. I write out my focus points and any tasks that need to be completed, as well as take the time to review how I’ll be reaching those goals. This all leads to greater productivity, and at the end of the day when I look back, I can clearly see what I’ve achieved. — Michael Shribman, APS Global Partners Inc.
12. Pick Your ‘Daily Three’ Tasks
We all have a running to-do list that can get overwhelming. So I pick three things I need to do each day in order to feel like I have been productive. I sometimes pick one for work, home and family to help maintain my balance in life. It helps manage my overall mental load if I know I’ve taken care of something important for my family each day along with my work responsibilities. — Afshan Hussain, Fishawack Health
13. Don’t Check Your Phone
Sometimes it is more about what you don’t do rather than what you do. The one thing I don’t do is check my phone. I close my eyes and sit still for about 20 minutes. Meditation is an underestimated tool to reduce stress and improve productivity. I eat a good breakfast, then complete a few family tasks before I move on to my work schedule. — Sudha Chandrasekharan, Trelleborg
14. Find Your People
In 2020, I joined a writing group that turned into a daily mastermind collaborative. Each day, we meet for 30 minutes, followed by 50 minutes of quiet time. This process has transformed the way I work. I start my day with a meaningful conversation, followed by a quiet hour to reflect, explore, plan and assess my priorities for the day. My day begins with clarity and intention. Find your people! — Loubna Noureddin, Mind Market Consultants
15. Find Your Focus But Keep Perspective
I write my list of things to do for the day while I drink my coffee before everyone in my house is up for the day. It helps me find my focus, set priorities and delegate. I then eat breakfast with my kids to make sure I keep perspective. — Nell Callahan, Frontwood Strategies