No matter what time your day starts, there's always room to wake up a little earlier to fit in some of these life-changing activities into your morning routine.
1. Reflect on the work you did the day before.
Take stock of your successes and accomplishments from the day before and set your priorities for the coming day accordingly.
2. Finish everything you didn’t get done the day before.
Instead of dragging your to-do list out over the week, spend the morning completing all those last little things you didn't finish the day before.
3. DON’T check your email or social media.
Especially if you'll be online the rest of the day, use this hour before everyone else is awake as a detox. No one is writing you emails at 6am, so there's no reason you need to be reading them.
4. Write an email to someone you’re out of touch with.
If you're going to write email, make some time for a contact you don't usually see: a friend from your past, a network connection, a mentor.
5. Or, clear out your email.
If you have to visit your inbox, spend some time clearing out all the crap that isn't important so you can start the day on a fresh digital note. Use this trick to get through a lot even faster.
6. Have an adult "homeroom."
Why are high-schoolers the only one to have a period for announcements and planning and getting ready for the day? Make your own "homeroom" by getting organized, taking note of messages and alerts, making sure you got all your assignments done from the previous day.
7. Get your daily exercise out of the way.
8. Make a to-do list and a to-don’t list.
A to-don't list is a list of all your distractions and things that you want to avoid for the coming day.
9. Do the hardest thing on your to-do list.
It's called the "eat-that-frog" strategy and it's a great time management technique from motivational speaker Brian Tracy. It comes from the old saying that goes something like this: "If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!"
10. Start meditating.
There a numerous mental and physical health benefits of meditation, especially stress-reduction. Practicing early in the morning when the world and your mind are quieter is a great way to start.
11. Go on a visualization walk.
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins is a big proponent of morning walks to think about what you're grateful for in your current life and visualize what you want for the future.
12. Actually make your bed.
It won't take a whole hour, but it could still change your life.
13. Take a bath instead of a shower.
(Better yet, take a shath.)
14. Use your extra time to learn something.
Early-riser Margaret Thatcher famously listened to the BBC radio program Farming Today at 5 a.m. every morning. If you want to multi-task, take an extra long shower and use a bluetooth speaker to listen to a podcast or audio book while you're in there.
15. Do something that actually makes money.
Whether it's for your personal side project or your business, starting a revenue-generating activity early in the morning is a great way to keep your priorities straight and feel like you have time later in the day to be more creative and experimental.
16. Make your favorite breakfast.
Who says a fancy first meal is only for the weekends? Make your favorite brunch dish in the extra hour you have and make every morning a special occasion.
17. Take your breakfast back to bed.
Follow the example of Winston Churchill who apparently ate his breakfast in bed everyday for years.
18. Have a breakfast date with a friend you never see.
Making morning appointments is one way to make sure you actually get up early.
19. Start journaling.
Productivity expert Dan Luca suggests a few minutes of A.M. journaling to stay connected to your goals and in touch with your personal growth.
20. Or, work on a book.
During his most productive years, best-selling author John Grisham spent the hours before his job as a lawyer writing his books. And Pulitzer Prize Winner Toni Morrison got up to write before dawn when her children were young.
21. Read for pleasure.
Read that book you've been meaning to finish. Read an actual newspaper. Read all those things you left in your Instapaper and never got around to. Start your day informed and inspired.
22. Take the long way to work.
Changing up your route actually works out your brain. If you want a real challenge, try setting limits or challenges, like taking a route with no left turns.
23. Spend the whole hour on the thing you like doing best.
Be selfish. If you got up an extra hour earlier, that's YOUR hour. Make it count.
24. Plan out how you’ll spend the the rest of your 23 hours.
One hour spent planning will ensure the rest of your day isn't wasted.