How to Makeover Your Mornings Without Adding Stress

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We all know people who seem to accomplish more in the first few hours of the morning than the rest of us do in the whole day. These early risers run 10 miles before the sun is up, add two chapters to their novel before checking their work email, or complete international business deals while sipping their first cup of bulletproof coffee. Mornings are tough enough without all the PRESSURE! That is why I am so glad I discovered Laura Vanderkam’s “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings – and Life.” I listened to the easy to digest audio book, but you can also read the ebook.

In the book, Vanderkam explains:

Why mornings are so important – Humans seem to have a finite amount of will power for each day. We start the day with a full cup, which makes first thing in the morning the best time to start a new habit or work towards an important goal that takes effort and concentration. Even better news? Once you have started a new routine and that routine becomes a habit, it no longer requires as much will power (Vanderkam’s example – do you need will power to remember to brush your teeth? Not once it becomes a habit!)

Which tasks best suited for precious morning hours – We all know that as the day goes on, challenges will arise that demand our attention. Because of that, we are often unable to cross important, but not urgent, tasks off of our to-do lists. We want to workout after work but it rarely happens. We’d like to read the works of Shakespeare, but we’re too tired before bed. With that in mind, Vanderkam recommends that we use our mornings to address tasks that are highly valuable and provide long-term benefits, but are not urgent. Those might include:

  • Nurturing our relationships – e.g. have a daily family breakfast (rather than family dinner), do a craft with your kids, meet a best friend for coffee, commute with your spouse, email or write to people you care about
  • Nurturing our careers – e.g. focus on a long term career goal without interruption, brainstorm new ideas, start your side business in the mornings rather than after work in the evenings
  • Nurturing ourselves – e.g. workout, meditate, read for pleasure, read for spiritual growth

And most importantly, she reminds us that morning tasks should make your day better not worse. They should be FUN and should start your day on a good note. In other words, if you want to workout in the morning, but the thought of going for a run makes you shudder, then find a different workout that makes you excited to get out of bed. Did you know that Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, plays tennis every morning at 5:45am?

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your morning habits in the comments below or @RachelLColello.


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