Time is precious when you are running a business and, when it already feels like there is never enough of it, having an unproductive morning can set you back massively (or at least it can feel like it). I don’t know anyone who can honestly say that when their alarm goes off they immediately bound out of bed brimming with energy, and if someone did tell me that I would find it hard to believe. And to be perfectly honest, I would find it pretty hard to even like them.

When my alarm goes off in the morning, my first thoughts are almost always about how to make the noise stop so I can go back to the business of sleeping. If you are just not a morning person, I’m sure there is nothing I can do that will make that initial wake up less painful. Sorry! But there are loads of ways that you can limit the sleepiness to those initial few minutes after waking up, and help turn what could be a sleepy morning into a really productive one.

1. Make mornings your favourite time of day

If your brain is still struggling to get into gear before lunchtime, you could try getting up an hour earlier. Sometimes giving your brain more time to wake up and prepare for the day might be all you need. If the thought of depriving yourself of an extra hour of sleep fills you with horror, treat it as a warm up period. And rather than trying to force yourself to jump out of bed and do something drastic like go for a run, which is likely pretty unappealing at that time, use that hour to do something nice before you get to work, like having a bath or a leisurely breakfast with your partner. That way it feels like you’re getting more time for yourself before you even start your day in earnest, and it will put you in a good mood that’s much more conducive to achieving great things.

2. Organise your day the day before

This is one which I am sure countless people have told you, and it is great advice. Setting out your tasks the night before means that when you wake up you don’t waste time deciding what to start but instead you can just get stuck right in. But like working out as soon as you wake up, it can be pretty hard to actually do! It’s not your main priority, and can be easy to forget and put off.

It is a lot easier to do this if you plan out your tasks for the next day before you actually leave your office/workspace for the evening rather than immediately before you go to bed. Doing it this way means it is harder to forget, and it also means your brain will still be in work mode, meaning you can get it done much faster. It also means you get to have that all important evening off, so that when you get back to work in the morning you are refreshed, and ready to tackle those tasks you have all laid out.

If it’s still a struggle, try easing yourself into it by initially just jotting down a primary focus for the following day. No details or specific to-dos, just a ‘theme’ for the day, something broad like ‘Christmas marketing plan’ or ‘invoicing’. Once you’ve established that habit, you can start to make more structured plans.

3. Schedule the easiest tasks first

Logically it seems like the best thing to do is schedule that task you really don’t want to do for the morning, so you can get it out of the way first and feel brilliant about yourself for the rest of the day. But the thing is that, more often than not, that horrible task will take a lot longer than you imagined, especially when your brain is still sneakily trying to think about sleep and the whole day is still stretching out before you. Instead, it might be better to schedule the easiest tasks that you are familiar with first, so you can actually get them done before the afternoon, and by lunch you will be feeling like a productive power machine!

Published on 20 April 2016