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Everyone loves to swap tips about how to make an epic morning routine, but when it comes to implementation, there are a few easy whoopsies that are far too easy to make. Hitting the snooze button, starting your day from the bed and sacrificing your morning productivity time for a late-night Netflix marathon are all potential ways to sabotage the potential your mornings have.
And potential, indeed. A growing body of research is finding that mornings are actually the most optimal time for you to ideate or be creative. A study in the Thinking & Reasoning Journal reported that the perceived-to-be least optimal times for thinking and creativity (such as first thing in the morning, when you’re groggy and still on your first cup of coffee) are actually the most optimal times. “Results showed consistently greater insight problem-solving performance during non-optimal times of day compared to optimal times of day,” the research stated.
Related: What Your Morning Routine Is Missing
So, the cost of making mistakes in your morning routine is quite high. Imagine the groundbreaking ideas for your business, next book, or even next family vacation that could surface in the light of the morning! Make sure you aren’t making the following mistakes that will cost you productivity and peace.
Mistake 1: Diving out of bed the second the alarm goes off
For sure, this mistake is done with good intentions — as a bit of a defense mechanism, if you will. If you force yourself to fly out of bed the moment you hear the dreaded alarm, you may be less likely to lay there and break into a mental argument about whether or not the morning commute can afford you an extra five minutes of snooze time. But, this drastic action disconnects you from your body immediately. A better alternative? Take just a few minutes to stretch and elongate your body as much as possible.
This concept is inspired by researcher Amy Cuddy, who coined the term “Power Pose.” When your body stretches out, you’ll actually feel more confident. In addition to this mood boost, a stretch first thing (even by putting your arms into a V shape, which Cuddy says boosts incredible happiness) increases your blood flow to all areas of your body.
After a few minutes of stretching, take your time getting out of bed and going about your immediate morning routine: making coffee, brushing your teeth and getting dressed. Then, consider doing the Power Pose again while standing up, or even during your morning shower!
Related: 14 of the Best Morning Routine Hacks Proven to Boost Productivity
Mistake 2: Checking your phone immediately
A Lifestyle of Mobile Consumers Survey reported that 1 out of every 4 young adults checks their phones within one minute of waking up. It’s tempting, for sure — especially nowadays, when there is so much information on your email, social media and in your text messages. But Glenn Lundy, the host and founder of the incredibly popular #RiseandGrind podcast, says this is a major mistake.
“Neither your mind nor your body are ready for that type of stimulation first thing,” Lundy shared. “When you’re groggily waking up, it’s important to focus on presence and gratitude, rooting yourself in your own body through some morning movement and writing down your goals.” These pieces of advice are from his #TheMorning5 67 day challenge, which has been taken up by tens of thousands of individuals across the globe.
“Remember that there’s nothing on your phone that can’t wait for you,” Lundy explained. “And, you’ll be better equipped to handle any work crisis or exciting news when you’ve fully woken up and completed a healthy morning routine.”
Mistake 3: Sleeping in too late
Now, we aren’t telling you which hours you should or shouldn’t be sleeping, but consider this. If you know you’re tempted to check your phone first thing because you feel like you’re missing something, imagine how much that temptation will reside if you wake up earlier than most do. There’s something to this. A study by Amerisleep shared the stunning differences between early risers and late risers in productivity, salary, and general quality of life.
The study reported that “people who get themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn — yes, we’re talking about 4 am — responded they felt “highly productive” 71% of the time. Compare that to people who snooze until 11 am, the least likely group to report being productive. They’re only productive 36% of the time.”
This productivity also translates to money, as the study found that the early risers made an average of $15,000 more each year than the late sleepers.
Related: Working From Home? Here’s Why You Need a Fake Commute.
Ultimately, what works best in your morning routine does come down to personal preference. This is an invitation to experiment. We all have the same 24 hours, and we all have a “morning routine,” whether it’s set in stone and followed habitually, or something that looks different every single day. Consider that the first hour of your day sets the tone for the rest of your day, and therefore, is likely the most important time to take full advantage of. Stretch out, keep that phone turned off, and consider rising earlier than you’re used to. The proof in both productivity and peace will reveal itself.