Routines are the foundation of a successful day.

You do not only eat, brush your teeth or sleep routinely, you also work within a schedule that works for you and makes you perform at your best.

Routines can improve your overall health, wealth, and productivity.

Without them, you are likely to be distracted by everything that wants your attention every day.

When you are running a work routine, your brain is on automatic pilot and rests. And guess what, you save energy and get more done without getting trapped in the afternoon productivity slump.

An automatic morning routine changes everything

The first few minutes of your work morning can make or break your entire day. If you use it right. you will set yourself up for peak productivity.

How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life,” says Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning.

Some people have perfect routines that guide their actions the minute they wake up. They pretty much know their triggers to get stuff done without getting distracted.

Others struggle to start the day and tend to waste a lot of time before they finally get into flow. If you are not so good at making the most of your mornings when you have the most energy, starting today you can start using the productive mood anchor to get more stuff done before midday.

Reduce moments of micro-stress first thing in the morning

If you are having a difficult morning, or you can’t seem to find your flow, change the first thing you do that tells your brain you are ready for work.

Here is a better approach: Every morning when you are getting ready for your daily tasks, don’t dive straight into things you have to/must/should do, indulge in activities you love first.

It can be a side project, or an interesting book you are enjoying or a motivational podcast.

You can also try sitting on the side of your bed and spend a few minutes to connect your mind and body to appreciate your surroundings or think about the accomplishments from yesterday.

Don’t reach for your phone to check email or social media.

Take care of your own well-being first. The world can wait.

Be present.

You can also take a minute to think of all the things in your life you are happy and grateful for; family or important connections is a great start.

You could do mindful stretches to get your body moving.

To increase the chances of making it stick, get up 30 minutes before your usual time to make time for it.

Your mood will thank you for it.

This starts your morning on an optimistic and happy note, putting you in the right frame of mind for tackling the day.

That way, you are in charge. You are chosen to do what brings out the best in you first. What makes you come alive.

It’s calming, and not stressful. And strategic.

Everyone has to catch up with something related to work. And if you don’t particularly enjoy what you do, your body will begin to release stress hormones the moment you wake up.

You don’t want that. If you can give yourself a better start, everything changes for the rest of the day.

Brief moments of anxiety, or micro-stresses, add up throughout the day. Do something meaningful to prepare your mind for the rest of the day.

Find your productive mood anchor (action trigger)

“Good habits, which bring our lower passions and appetites under automatic control, leave our natures free to explore the larger experiences of life. Too many of us divide and dissipate our energies in debating actions which should be taken for granted.” — Ralph W. Sockman

Once you are in the best mode possible, use a personal anchor that tells your brain you are ready to tackle your MIT’s (most important things ) for the day.

The most popular productivity mode anchors (action triggers) are coffee, tea, and ‘get-things-done’ soundtracks.

According to psychologists, action triggers are the best ways to create new habits.

A trigger an action that automatically sets off a reaction.

If you establish the right and healthy trigger, you are bound to execute the new habit every time such trigger is produced.

A trigger that tells your body and mind you are ready for work.

For many people, the mere association of coffee and getting on with work becomes so strong that they don’t need to force the situation anymore.

Get yourself in a productive mood by finding your “productive mood anchor.”

“Most people have something that serves as a good “anchor” for their productive moods. We’ve found that it is usually something like coffee or green tea. Personally, I only drink English Breakfast Tea when I’m really focused on a creative task, so for me it serves as an anchor for being in a productive flow,” writes Aaron Lynn of Asian Efficiency.

Your anchor doesn’t have to be a beverage.

It can be anything that makes gets you in that work routine.

For me, it’s a combination of things.

I switch between tea and coffee every morning and then immediately put my headphones on and listen to non-interruptive concentration music or movie soundtracks for tasks that require deep focus.

It has become part of my morning ritual, and it always makes me feel like it’s time to start getting things done.

You probably have a good idea of what your productive mood anchor is. Use that and do more of what works for you.

Closing thoughts

Mornings — love ’em or hate ’em, every day has one.

And a good day starts with a great morning ritual.

If you are not a morning person, you can still make your mornings productive.

Try these simple techniques — or find your own productive mood anchors that work for you — and you’ll be ready to find your flow and get real stuff done.

Productivity flow can show up anytime for you, provided certain initial conditions/triggers are met.

Never give in to a defeated morning.

Originally published Medium.

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