January 7, 2019
Why there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” productive morning routine
Ah, the age of information. With the internet at our fingertips and more digital devices than you can shake your old-fashioned stick at, we’re really never short on advice. From the best way to mash potato, to the intricate theories of quantum physics – there is something written on just about everything. But when everyone is an expert, it can be hard to know whose advice you should take.
The latest flurry of business articles have become fascinated by the daily habits of super-successful CEOs – with the morning routine, in particular, highlighted as the key to unlocking the door to productivity. The problem is, success isn’t something you can cut and paste. We all have our own ways of approaching tasks – and what works for Elon Musk isn’t necessarily going to work for you. Read on to find out why:
Let’s take a look at this on a more scientific level. Perhaps some people wake up at 4 am and spend their morning meditating before going for a 5-mile run. That’s great. And if you, similarly, are an early riser who wakes up full of beans, then definitely give it a go. However, if waking up is – and always has been – an eternal struggle, then there is likely little you can do to make this an effective routine for you. Why? Well, probably because of your genetics.
The circadian rhythms found in your cells – more commonly known as your ‘internal clock’ – actually dictate when you feel most alert. Your own personal body clock is generally inherited from your parents, which means you may notice some similarities between your morning/evening preference, and that of your mum or dad.
The upshot of all this is you can’t control your biological preference for dawn or dusk; it’s hardwired into your genes. While you can’t change this, you can adjust your routine to work in sync with when your brain works best. How’s that for an excuse to sleep in this weekend?
Are you a lark or an owl?
When it comes to sleep patterns, experts tend to sort people into two categories: larks and owls. Larks are the morning folk who feel at their most alert in the morning, while the owls feel most awake later in the day (and are far more likely to be found snoring into their cereal pre-10 am).
Experiments have actually shown that roughly 50% of people don’t have an extreme leaning either way, but sit somewhere in the middle. Perhaps you already have an idea of which category you fall into, but trialing a few different routines is a good way to make sure you know for certain.
Sleep deprivation is incredibly common in modern society, and not getting enough shut-eye may make even a natural lark want to hit the snooze button a few too many times. In an ideal world, you’d have the freedom to go to bed and get up whenever you felt like – but sadly, this isn’t possible for most of us.
Instead, try experimenting with different sleep and wake times by moving your bedtime forward or back by 15 minutes on different days – and always ensure you get at least 7 hours sleep. After a week or two of good quality snooze-time, you should be able to identify the time of day you feel at your best – meaning you can then factor this into your daily routine.
Making the most of your productive hours
Knowing the workings of your internal clock will give you new freedom to create a morning routine which works best for you. While the classic structure of a 9-5 workday might not suit the more extreme of the night owls, the modern workspace is shifting to empower workers by letting them decide how and when they work.
An increasing number of employees are able to pick their own work times, with many offices embracing flexible hours and remote work. Contrary to some old-fashioned viewpoints, giving workers the power to pick their own work schedule is actually making workers more productive. And when you consider the effect good sleep has on work-ethic, it’s not hard to see why.
Whether you live for the morning sun, or like burning the midnight oil, tailoring your morning routine to fit your preference is guaranteed to enhance your productivity.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a lark or an owl – DropTask makes prioritizing tasks and handling projects easier than ever before – so, you can spend less time planning, and more time doing. Sign up to DropTask for free today.