I am most definitely not someone you would describe as a morning person. No way. Given half the chance I could quite happily ignore my 8:00 AM alarm, snuggle back into my duvet and stay in bed until midday, daydreaming the morning away. However, over my time as a blogger and freelance writer working from home, I’ve come to realise that making the most of my mornings is the key to me staying productive. Though I do love my bed, I really hate the feeling of a day being cut short by a late start. I’d much prefer to struggle through an early rise but then, as a reward, be able to enjoy that glorious feeling of a full day stretching out ahead of me, ready to be filled with creative productivity. Here’s how to kickstart your day when, like me, you work from home.
1. Get up early – Though there are studies that reveal that night owls tend to be smarter, more creative and more outgoing than their early bird counterparts, it’s the morning people that are found to be more proactive. When a group of university students were asked about which time of day they were most energetic and how likely they were to take action to change a situation to their advantage, it was the morning people that were more likely to agree with statements that indicated proactivity. And it’s that proactivity that has been linked with better job performance, career success and higher wages. Getting up early will also give you more time to plan the day ahead of you, and allow you to take things more slowly instead of hurriedly multitasking your way through a shorter day. It should also be noted that getting up early syncs you up with the ‘normal’ 9-5 working schedule; many of the people I email with have office hours, so me getting up early allows more time to chat to the people I need to chat to, and means that if I need a urgent answer I’m much more likely to get a response that same day (compared to when I try to contact someone in the evening).
2. Shower and get dressed – After an early start, I find it an absolute necessity that I have a shower and get dressed. Into proper clothes. Though quite often no one is seeing me or my attire (apart from the barista at my local coffee shop), it adds a certain level of professionalism and structure to my day. I wouldn’t turn up to an office job with bed head and trackies, so I feel like I shouldn’t be doing that when I’m working from home. Also, it creates somewhat of a distinction between ‘in bed Tom’ and ‘at work Tom’; chilled clothes are purely for chillin’.
3. Eat breakfast – Not only am I not a morning person, I’m not much of a breakfast person either. Cue gasps and mumblings of “Tom, but it’s the most important meal of the day”. I know, I know. And I’m almost inclined to agree with you. Despite my non-affinity with the first meal of the day, I’ve found, if I want to work at my best, having a little something before I start my blogging to-do list is a must. In a study that saw school children told to skip breakfast one morning, with half given a good breakfast when they arrived at school and the others no food at all, it was the breakfast eaters who learned more and misbehaved less. If I don’t eat at all before I start work I become distracted and much more likely to glaze over. Even just eating a banana or a slice of toast really helps in keeping me productive until lunch.
4. Take a walk – Before I start work, or as a break during midmorning, I like to take a walk round the block or go to grab a latte at my local coffee shop. I always seem to manage to get more creative work done after I’ve had a little stroll and, would you believe it, some more research has backed me up on this one (SCIENCE STRIKES AGAIN). One particular study found that creative thinking was far better in walking participants (even indoors on a treadmill!) than in those who remained seated during the exercise. As a blogger and writer, someone with a creative job who sits at a laptop for the majority of my working day, this is super useful to keep in mind!