One of the hardest parts of running a small business is figuring out a schedule that works. Many nights, I find myself squinting at the clock, realizing I’ve been working into the early hours of the morning to finish things up. I find that my productivity is highest at night, but that usually sets me up for a poor sleep schedule and makes mornings unorganized.
While it’s important to set a schedule for yourself, I’ve found that knocking out a few tasks before sitting down to work has helped my day run much more smoothly. For the small business owner, or anyone who spends their time at home in the mornings, here are 9 things to tackle by 9 a.m.:
1. Wake up early!
For me, working into the early hours of the morning often results in a lot getting done, but I often find myself groggy and unorganized the next morning. Consider setting a strict bed time for yourself (screens off!), and wake up earlier to get started with your day.
2. Reach for the water
While it might be tempting to head straight for the coffee maker, a big glass of water in the morning can really help wake you up and get your body ready to tackle the day. Then, you can reach for your precious cup of coffee.
3. Make your bed
Making your bed doesn’t seem like it would affect your productivity for the day, but keeping up with good habits can often have a positive effect on the rest of your day. By sticking with this 5-minute task, you’ll feel more organized and inspired to keep other good habits throughout the day.
4. Check in with those who matter most
Whether it’s your spouse, your kids, or your furry best friend, take quality time to enjoy their company. It will start your day off in a positive way, allowing you to be less stressed as you take on the day.
5. Take a minute for gratitude
Taking some time to appreciate what you’re thankful for puts things in perspective and reminds you of the things that are most important. Often, it’s easy to get distracted by the never ending to do list, making it important to dedicate time to the reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing.
6. Work out, do yoga, or meditate
I have tried and tried to start a workout routine in the morning… and failed miserably. My body just is not a fan of moving any faster than a slow walk in the morning. If you’re the type of person who can work out in the a.m., (first of all, I applaud you), do it! The endorphin high should stick with you throughout the morning, and you’ll be glad to get it out of the way. If working up a sweat first thing in the morning isn’t for you (join the club), you can also try a more relaxing work out such as yoga, or take 20 minutes to relax with some meditation. No matter what activity you choose, try to do something that’s good for your health.
7. Prioritize your day
Look over your to do list, and choose at least one task that you will complete for the day. Prioritize your list to ensure you get the most important things done first. Check on deadlines, important dates, and strategize your time to get the most out of your work time. Remember, if a task takes less than 2 minutes, take care of it right away.
8. Eat breakfast
I know, I know… I sound like your mother when I tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But eating breakfast boosts your body’s metabolism and gives you the energy you need to focus. Whether it’s a full gourmet spread with all of the fixings, or just a bran muffin, you should always try to eat before you end up snacking on that 2 day old birthday cake because you’re starving by mid-morning.
9. Check your email
Sometimes, I open my email with big dreams of seeing that big fat zero next to my inbox, and look up three hours later with even more emails than when I started. While some time management experts advocate for avoiding the dreaded email in the morning, sometimes, prioritizing important messages and clearing the clutter can help reduce the amount of time you’ll spend working through your inbox. I like to immediately trash all spam emails or notification emails that I don’t need to save to make way for the important emails. It reduces the intimidating number of emails I need to work through later in the day, and makes me more focused on responding to emails rather than trying to get through them quickly.
What does your morning routine look like? Let me know what makes your mornings a little easier!