Mornings can make or break your day. It’s no shock that spilling coffee down your shirt at breakfast will put you in a bad mood; or that listening to your favorite song on your work commute will add a little pep to your step. Investing time and energy into starting your day with positivity and intention can change the way you live.
That might sound extreme, but some of the most successful people (Oprah) begin their days with a unique ritual to get them ready to take on the day. After reading up on how some of the greats, like Steve Jobs and Tim Ferris, start their days I decided to create a quick ritual I would be able to squeeze in before work.
The 5 Minute Morning Ritual For a More Productive Day
I crafted a 5 minute morning ritual that brings more productivity to my day, and hopefully it will work some magic for you too. As always, feel free to borrow bits and pieces, use the entire ritual, or scrap it all together and start new–whatever works best for your body and mind.
1. Bring Yourself into Consciousness
Waking up itself can be a meditative process. And when you’re crunched for time, as many of us are while rushing to work, bringing meditation into simple acts like waking up can be very beneficial. When you first wake up, whether it’s by alarm or naturally, give yourself about a minute to find your body.
wake up your body with intention
Turn off your alarm, roll onto your back with your eyes shut and place your palms facing up. Starting from your toes, begin gently engaging your muscles. Wiggle your toes, then flex and unflex your feet; work your way up the body. Do the same with your fingers. Touch the pad of each finger tip to your thumb. Then roll your wrists and slowly squeeze your fists.
By intentionally awakening the body you are starting your day with a gentle body scan. You’ll be more in tune with how you feel as a whole and whether there are are areas that need more focus as you move through the day. You’re also ensuring that every piece of you is ready to move into a productive day.
This form of awakening takes practice. It’s easy to blow past your alarm and head straight to the bathroom to brush your teeth. I suggest setting a reminder on your alarm in the beginning to help you remember to take a second to be intentional about the very start to your day.
2. Stretch Freely
After bringing yourself into consciousness it feels nice to do a full body stretch. I generally stretch my back while still in bed with a nice supine twist. From there I continue stretching from a standing pose.
listen to your body
I like to allow my body to guide me through the stretches and I listen when it calls out for more or less of any certain stretch. Although I like to let my stretching be free-flowing, I try to stretch every part of my body.
Occasionally, I like to make fists with my hands and gently knock along my body, giving myself a mini massage and waking my muscles up for the day.
3. Make the bed
The benefits of making my bed always eluded me growing up. What’s the point when you’re going to mess up the sheets within less than 24 hours? But after reading about retired U.S. Navy commander William McRaven’s theory that starting your day with an accomplishment, even as small as making your bed, puts you in a positive mindset for the rest of the day I figured I’d try it.
keeping a routine
It took me awhile to see the benefits, but after about a month of making my bed I genuinely felt satisfied with myself and the appearance of my room.
In the beginning it may feel like a pointless time-suck, but if you make it a habit, you too can be the weird neat-freak that prides his or her self on always having a perfectly manicured room.
4. Daily intention
Take a minute to set your daily intention. This will be the focus that guides you through your day. It can be broad like “meet everyone with positivity,” or very granular like “take the time to ask how are you instead of saying just saying hi.”
We generally choose intentions that relate to what’s going on in our lives. If my coworker has been especially hostile lately maybe my intentions seem to trend toward that situation.
Try to make sure your daily intentions are focused on you and your actions. Some days it will come naturally to you; other days you may have to search harder for a place for you to lay your focus throughout the day.
5. To do list
Create a to-do list every morning. It will allow you to clear your head since you don’t have to worry about remembering the day’s tasks. If you don’t have a daily intention yet to-do lists are a great guide in crafting one.
Put the biggest, most daunting tasks at the top of your list. Most likely, they aren’t as bad or extensive as you think they are and once they’re done you will carry the high from reaching a goal with you throughout your entire day.
keep yourself accountable!
Don’t spend more than a minute on each act. This is allow you to sneak in your quick ritual no matter how busy you are. By taking 5 minutes of each morning to focus your energy you will be your most productive self.