As a freelance writer, it’s super easy to lay in bed until noon, burn the midnight oil, then rinse and repeat the same schedule.
Who can relate?
You then experience a sinking feeling of guilt when lunchtime comes around, and you realize you’ve wasted yet another morning.
You can change this- however, it’ll take willpower on your behalf.
With that in mind, let’s dive into our top tips on how to make the most out of your mornings!
1. Take Control of Your Sleeping Habits
It goes without saying, to have a productive morning- you need to be awake and ready to go.
Start by making gradual changes to your sleeping pattern. If you try waking four hours earlier than usual- you’re destined for failure.
Instead, set your alarm half an hour earlier (to begin with) and continue getting up at the same time for a few days.
Then, push your alarm back a further 10 minutes in a similar pattern until you’re officially an early bird. You’ll be getting up at 6 am and watching the sunrise sooner than you think!
2. Wake up and Smell the Coffee
I love coffee.
The smell of a freshly brewed pot makes me want to jump up and down and shout for joy (not literally, but you get the idea).
Not only is coffee a tasty treat, but it also gives you a much-needed jolt of energy- essential if you want to enjoy a productive morning.
Fun Fact: coffee also helps you lose weight, recent studies suggest people who consume caffeine can increase their metabolic rate by as much as 11% (an essential factor when it comes to losing a few pounds)- who knew?!
3. Use Natural Light to Your Advantage
Natural light is essential for boosting your energy levels and feeling motivated. In fact, some people prefer sleeping with the curtains open to help them wake naturally.
Alternatively, you could buy a ‘natural light’ alarm clock. This has a similar effect!
4. Jam to Your Favorite Music
I know this sounds corny, but for a long time, I used to wake up to Tik Tok, by Kesha. So, the first words I heard in the morning were; ‘I wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.’ For me, that did that trick.
Now, this might be a little much for some, but the point I’m making is that music in the morning can put you in the right mood for a productive day.
Why don’t you try changing your alarm clock to play your favorite song? Or, get rid of that awful beeping noise and swap it for something a little more melodic?
Either way, mix things up and set an alarm you actually want to listen to!
5. Drink Water
When you get out of bed, head over to the kitchen and drink a pint of water.
Keeping hydrated is essential for maintaining positive vibes and for staying focused, both of which are imperative for getting into the right headspace for a productive morning.
6. Strategically Pick Your Morning Tasks
Martha Stewart says it best; “Life is too complicated not to be orderly.”
I couldn’t agree more.
It’s common to have more energy in the morning than you do in the evening. So, use this to your advantage and prioritize your most challenging tasks early in the day.
When we do simpler jobs in the morning, we run the risk of burning out by the afternoon and not being able to complete more laborious tasks adequately.
7. Where Do You Feel Most Productive?
One of the best things about being a freelancer is that you’re in control of where you work. So, set up for the day wherever you feel most productive!
Do you have a home office?
If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, dedicate an evening to transforming it into a place that inspires you to hit the ground running. Here are a few ideas to help get the ball rolling:
- Store items you use all the time on your dominant side: This is way more convenient that continually reaching over.
- Light a candle. When deadlines loom, pitches need sending, and proofreading’s more and more of a struggle, having something calming in your office is a godsend.
- Avoid clutter. Yes, office supplies are great, but you don’t need the whole of Staples on your desk. If you only use something once a week, it doesn’t need to be next to your laptop! Keeping a clear workspace does wonders for helping you stay focused. On a similar note, only keep papers nearby that relate to the project you’re working on. You don’t need all your contracts, style guides, and briefs scattered everywhere!
However, if you don’t have a home office, try working in places that’ll help you get the most out of your morning. For example:
- A quiet coffee shop
- A co-working space
- Your local library
When I’m not in my home office, I’m typing away in a tiny coffee shop close to my flat.
The chairs are comfy, there’s plenty of plug sockets, and the cakes are cheap- what more could you want from a workplace?!- what I’m saying is find a spot that works for you, and run with it!
8. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Morning Routine
Humans are creatures of habit. So, when you develop a morning ritual, you trigger your brain to acknowledge it’s time for work!
You don’t have to spend long on this, just ten minutes will suffice.
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s the same thing at the same time each morning (that’s the only way you’ll feel the full benefit).
Below are a few ideas. Your morning routine is entirely personal to you so, pick something you can commit to doing every day.
Affirmations: This may sound cheesy, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The premise is simple, remind yourself of your strengths.
What have you done?
What are you capable of doing?
Write these down, and say them allowed each morning. It’s fantastic for getting you in the right frame of mind to start your day.
Work out: There’s a common misconception that exercise makes you tired. However, the opposite’s true- when we’re active, we boost our energy levels.
You don’t have to spend hours exercising in the morning, a five-minute set of sit-ups or a quick 10-minute jog is enough to help focus your mind for the day ahead.
Gratitude: For some, this goes hand in hand with affirmations. Start your morning by being thankful.
This is extraordinarily powerful, especially if you’re going through a rough time. We’re at our least productive when we feel down, and showing gratitude is terrific for counteracting negativity. Take five minutes to write everything you’re thankful for.
Even during your darkest times, you’ll find something- the sunshine, the comedic genius that is Steve Carrell, your cup of coffee, Chinese food- you get the idea!
Meditation and prayer: If you’re not religious, meditation can be a time of quietness, where you allow yourself to sit in silence and focus on your breath.
Alternatively, if you consider yourself a religious person, praying is a fantastic way of re-focusing and preparing for the day ahead.
Visualizations: This technique has recently skyrocketed in popularity. If you want to give this a try, imagine yourself already having achieved your morning goals.
Alternatively, try envisioning yourself doing what it takes to reach your aims. Again, do whatever works best for you!
I hope these tips help you make more out of your mornings. If all the advice seems a little daunting, perhaps try putting into action one or two pieces ideas to begin with, and go from there. Best of luck!