Most people groan as the alarm goes off in the morning because they ‘have’ to get up early to get to work, get the kids off to school, and in general get going through another day.

I didn’t always love getting up early because, well, my bed is pretty comfortable and warm! In high school, getting up early meant going to school to jump into a very cold pool to do laps. As a young mother, getting up early meant tending to a fussy baby. And when I was working outside of the home, it meant getting on the road before meeting up with too much traffic.

But these days, I love to get up early because it means I get precious time to “do my thing” long before the rest of the world is awake.

It also means I get more important things done, take care of my personal needs, and as a result am able to do better work throughout the day to help my clients with their goals while also getting closer to my own business goals.

My love of early morning rising has been on and off…but mostly on. In fact, while working one of my jobs, I used to get up at 3:00 am to get to the gym so I would be back in time to get the kids ready for school and me ready for work.

I was much younger then!

These days, “early” for me falls somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00, depending on the time of year, whether or not we’re out the night before, or if we got into a great late night football game.

That’s still early enough to greet the day, watch the sun come up, get a workout in, enjoy breakfast and my morning reading, and get in a little bit of writing all before 9:00am.

“Every day I wake up breathing is a good day!”

While there are a lot of things you can do to be more productive each day, and there are plenty of books written on the subject, here are a couple of “hacks” I use to make this possible.

1. Tape the shows you like to watch. Rather than watch your favorite drama or sitcom on the networks time schedule, and sit through all the commercials, tape your favorite shows and watch them commercial-free (fast forward) when you want to watch them. This turns a 1 hour show into a 30-40 minute show. Plus, you can get to bed earlier, enjoy 7 hours of sleep, and not miss a thing!

2. Plan your day the night before. This is a tried and true method for productivity so you’re probably already familiar with it. During the last 15 minutes of work the day before, plan out your most important things to accomplish the next day. This allows your brain to work things out during the night and you start the day knowing exactly what you’ll work on.

3. Exercise, exercise, exercise. I’ve tried working out in the afternoon and for me, that just doesn’t work. Getting it out of the way first thing in the morning not only jump starts your brain, but ensures you are taking care of your body before all the other demands of the day creep in and steal fitness time from you. Know what you’re going to do during your workout. I carry a small notebook with me at the gym listing the workouts I will do each morning. This allows me to workout with a purpose rather than wander the gym floor looking at all the machines and weights wondering what to do. I switch up the weight routine every 6-8 weeks and then run on my non-gym mornings. Develop your own routine, add some variety, and enjoy the process. You are important…take care of yourself!

4. Set a “DND” time for yourself. You’ll be amazed how productive you can be when you designate a block of time as “Do Not Disturb.” During this time, turn off the phone, email, social media bells and whistles, and work on your top priority for the day. If you’re in an office, communicate with everyone that you are not to be disturbed (unless the building is on fire, of course). If you’re at home, be sure friends and neighbors know you are not available until after a certain time. Also communicate this to your clients. Mostly, when people understand what you’re doing, they gladly agree and adjust because ultimately, they know this means you’re going to get the job done (including their projects with you).

5. Know ahead “What’s for Dinner.” If you’re a mom, or in charge of the family meals and you have kids, you know how much time is involved in thinking, wondering, worrying and planning what everyone is gunna eat! Ideally, you’ll plan this out, purchase, and prep the ingredients ahead of time, so dinner time is a no-stress (and healthy) deal. Don’t be afraid to enlist some help here. You don’t have to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan…even though you are totally capable of doing that! If your grocery store has a service where they shop for you and/or deliver, try it out. If you do some weekend meal prepping, have your kids help and/or hire someone to come in and help or do it for you. You don’t need to hire a personal chef (unless you want to), but why not have someone help chop and dice and store the ingredients so come dinner time, you’re just putting it all together?

6. Pre-sort your daily vitamins. If you take several vitamins and supplements, consider getting a weekly pill container. One day a week, fill the compartments with your daily supplements. This will shave seconds off your morning routine.

7. Do your juicing once a week. Juicing is messy. The cleanup is tedious. This is why so many people start a juicing program and then quickly stop. To fix this, spend one day (I choose Sunday) to get your juices ready for the week. Pour them into mason jars and then freeze until you’re ready. I typically do 3 types of juices each week: a green juice, a citrus juice, and carrot juice. I freeze the green juice and then take out one the night before and place it in the refrigerator to thaw. By mid-morning it’s ready to enjoy. The citrus and carrot juices are stored in a glass container and placed in the fridge.

Your Turn…

What do you do to be more productive, stay healthy, and live happy each day?

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