Updated: Jul 26, 2021
"Why am I always tired and dragging in the mornings?" If you are bothered by this question, you are not alone. In this blog post, we'll go over the top reasons you don't feel productive early in the day, what you can do about it, and how you can allow your brain to be fully functioning today with a positive attitude.
Whether you are an early riser or not, starting your day on the right note matters a lot. Over the years, I’ve implemented multiple routines — some self-made, some borrowed from the internet — and after having a fair share of trial and error, I have with me a personalized morning list that not only boosts my productivity but also sets the perfect momentum for a good day.
PART 1: Before Waking Up
Are you having trouble waking up?
Many times, we need motivation to even get out of bed, let alone start the day. Blame the environment, situations, or current happenings of your life, but that won't ease your struggle, will it? That being said, there are multiple hacks available on the internet to wake up early and effectively: keep your alarm clock out of your reach so you have to actually wake up and walk to switch it off or sleep early (preferably in a room with candle scents, dim lights, and stuff), etc. It might work for some, but I seriously doubt if these work in the long run.
1. Create motivation to let go of your bed in the morning
On the previous night, write not only the next day's to-do list but also one to three (MIND THE RANGE, DON'T OVERDO IT) things that can potentially make you happy.
Pro tip: Be as specific as you can.
i. I am going to gorge on some delicious Chinese noodles for brunch tomorrow. I love the tanginess of soya sauce and the hot taste of chili sauce. I'll make sure I put a variety of colorful veggies in it — there’s a lot in the fridge.
ii. I’ll go for a morning walk with a colony friend. We’ll walk around a few blocks, chat, breathe the fresh air and bask in the light sunshine. This will also fulfill my body's Vitamin D requirement.
The benefit of this list is you’ll have something to look forward to. Hence, you are more likely to wake up and start your day with a hopeful and positive note.
Bonus: You’ll consciously do little things every day that will make you happy.
2. Understand why you just don’t feel like waking up
There MUST be something that prevents you from waking up without irritation, sadness, or a foul mood – no, don’t blame it on your laziness. There can be a lot of layers beneath that: maybe the environment or some stress. Is something bothering you lately? Think about it. Write about it. Dig in deeper, get to the root of it (alone or with someone’s help), fix that, and try again the next day to wake up as you desire.
PART 2: DURING Waking Up
Don't be influenced by unrealistic ways to start your morning.
There is no such thing as “An Ideal Morning Routine”. I’ve watched many videos on youtube that showcase the good and glorious morning routines which sometimes feel so unrealistic. This includes: wake up fresh with a smile pinned on your cheeks, lather expensive creams and soaps on your face, make for yourself a (fancy) breakfast, blah blah, blah. Again, do people seriously do that, like every other day? Honestly, I’ll suggest, "Do what works the best for you." And while you do that, keep these things in mind:
1. Don’t stress over your alarm clock
So, you’ve decided to wake up at 6.30 a.m. for whatever reason. You left no stone unturned to prepare for that. But when you finally wake up the next day — it's 7.30 a.m. What will be your immediate reaction? You’ll fret out? Grow anxious? Feel like a failure? That’s certainly not the mindset to start your day.
The other day, a friend of mine told me:
"I really want to sleep and wake up at the decided time. Despite my multiple attempts, I fail to do such a small thing. Nobody really understands the stress it causes me and how it impacts my life negatively. I have no motivation to carry out throughout the day and am unable to achieve my goals. My inability to fix my sleep cycle crushes my self-esteem like anything, I have begun feeling worthless."
So what if you missed an hour, think of the entire time you have ahead of you. Be a good sport instead of burdening yourself with the guilt of losing. You know, you can try again, the next day.
PS: Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself like waking up at 5 a.m., doing an intensive workout, etc because other successful people are doing it. You can still wake up at 9 a.m. and lead a productive day if you start with the correct mindset.
2. Don’t charge your phone before sleeping – let it be on the verge of dying. (Keep the charge as a minimum if you're expecting any important calls)
I’ve been following this tactic for a long time and it forces me to not excessively use my phone, the first thing after I wake up.
So what happens is, my phone’s battery is drained throughout the day and I don't care about charging it before sleeping. Sometimes, I even let my phone shut down on its own.
This is useful because despite planning tons of ways to spend a good morning, very few of us succumb to it. The rest easily trap themselves in their phone checking their emails, social media, chats, videos, etc. You already know this sucks your mood and energy, but you'll still do it. I won’t deny — the power of a phone is irresistible. But think, if your battery is drained — you’ll be forced to get rid of your phone sooner and instead do other relevant things: jogging, meditation, journaling, reading, and whatnot.
How about that? While you charge your phone, you get charged yourself. Isn't this a great hack to rejuvenate you in the morning and achieve what you’ve planned?
Warning: If you stay alone, this option might not be suitable for you.
Part 3: After Waking Up
1. Set aside a few minutes to relax
Breathe before you fall into your day’s events. Teach yourself to segregate your mind from the continuous noises in your head and enter into a calm zone — do this for a few minutes every day.
How do I do it?
Every morning after I wake up, I go to my balcony, cherish the fresh air, and feel gratitude for being a part of this new day. I take a moment to observe the surrounding nature's beauty —squirrels climbing up trees, sparrows chirping around, flowers bloomed in my garden. It feels so peaceful and refreshing. Then, I hydrate myself with a glass of water and start my day. This is the only fixed morning routine I follow.
2. Set the intention for your day
Before starting the day, if you feel overwhelmed already, about your life in general, apply this golden rule: “One day at a time.” And once you bring the focus to today, decide your intention for the day: whether you want to enjoy it doing nothing major, or you want to achieve a milestone, the choice is yours.
3. Don’t skip your breakfast at any cost
Undoubtedly, breakfast is the most important meal of the day - we've been learning this since school. There are multiple health and emotional benefits of it: it boosts your energy levels, stimulates your brain, keeps your sugar levels balanced, and many more.
A best practice is to take a shower before you eat. This is also recommended in Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system with roots in India.
4. Consciously choose your outfit of the day #ootd
Wear something nice irrespective of your work from home (WFH) or work from the office schedule, even if you are working today or not. Go ahead, do some minimal grooming too. This little act that takes no less than five minutes will:
1. Boost your confidence.
2. Make you feel good about yourself.
Consciously choosing your clothes will also motivate you to take a shower — a challenge for the lazy bums. Once you’re bathed — you’ll feel fresh and energetic to carry on your day's tasks. This can also contribute to having a productive day.
Now, all this might not be as easy as it sounds. Don't worry, I totally get you. You're not alone who struggles to live a perfect morning. But please keep in mind that this is a continuous process. Life has its ups and downs and it does affect how we start our mornings. But, we can always take time and work on it, rather than complaining or feeling sad about it. The only person who can take the first step towards reviving your mornings is YOU. Cheers to a happy morning.
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