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BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY WITH THESE 3 HACKS FOR YOUR MORNING ROUTINE

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If you spend your mornings in a daze waiting for the coffee to kick in or running in circles trying to get a hundred things done before 9 a.m., it might be time to shake up your morning routine.

A consistent routine and the right attitude in the morning can set you up for a more productive day, says Sharon Danzger, productivity consultant and founder of Control Chaos. She suggests organizing your morning in a way that allows you to feel awake and ready without going so hard you run out of steam before lunchtime.

Danzger offers these three tips for a morning routine that can help make you more productive.

Job One: Make Your Bed

It might seem like another added chore in the morning, but Danzger says taking a few seconds to fluff your pillows and straighten your covers can help you throughout the day. “It’s quick and easy, and studies show that it makes you more productive, improves your sense of well-being and actually helps you stick to a budget,” she says.

Also, a 2011 study by the Sleep Foundation said people who make their beds every day are more likely to get a good night’s sleep than those who don’t.

Navy Adm. William McRaven, who organized the forces that killed Osama bin Laden, is another proponent of the power of making your bed. As he said at a 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

Make Time to Meditate

After you’ve brushed your teeth, washed your face and done a few stretches to wake your body up, Danzger suggests focusing your mind with a few minutes of meditation.

Even if you’ve tried it before and gave up because your mind wandered, keep trying, she says. If you think it’s too boring, start with just two minutes, or try a guided meditation app like Insight Timer or HeadSpace.

“Let your thoughts drift to the side with no judgment, and bring yourself back to focusing on your breath,” Danzger says. “As you do this repeatedly, you are strengthening your ability to get your brain to focus.” This skill can help you throughout the day when you’re trying to concentrate and other thoughts keep distracting you from getting things done, she says.

Keep Some Basic ‘Decisions’ on Autopilot

Instead of potentially wearing yourself out by having to make decisions first thing in the morning, your regular routine can create a series of “automatic” choices that happen without you really thinking about them. For example, you could eat the same breakfast each day or lay out your clothes the night before, Danzger says.

She notes that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wears the same outfit every day to avoid wasting time and thought on wardrobe decisions, which frees up mental resources for creative problem solving and high-level decision making.

She suggests spending 10 minutes the night before to plan your day, your to-do lists and your priorities. “Doing this daily will help you sleep better knowing what to expect the following day,” she says. “If you go to work and are faced with a new crisis or urgent project, you can easily assess the importance of what’s come up and compare it with what you already have prioritized.”

Stephen Loy