Originally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Last Updated: Aug 5, 2019
What does it take to start your day off on the right foot? You'll never have to worry about waking up on the wrong side of the bed again if you follow these tips!
No, we’re not gonna tell you to eat breakfast. This advice is way better than downing a bowl of cereal (though we’re pretty sure Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the key to a happy existence). We’ve gathered some of the top advice out there for making every morning a great morning that leads into a great day, starting from the moment you wake up . . .
Be smart about your alarm
Unless you have a mighty powerful internal clock, you probably rely on some sort of alarm to get up every morning. And, if you’re like us, you probably hit that snooze button at least once (or 42 times). But scientists say it’s best to wake up on the first alarm, and you can win the snooze button battle by placing your alarm clock or phone on the opposite side of your dorm, so you’re forced to get out of bed to turn it off.
Visualize your day
This is as touchy-feely as we’re going to get with this advice, we swear. But there’s research evidence that visualizing tasks and subsequent successes can actually help you be more effective at them. So just take a moment to imagine yourself writing that paper, engaging in a lecture class, completing a tough project at your job, and kicking butt and taking names in general.
Eat the frog
Okay, don’t actually eat a frog. Inspired by none other than Mark Twain, this saying refers to doing the tough, annoying stuff first. The stuff you need to do but do not want to do. Think about how great it feels to finish something you’ve been dreading doing. Crossing it off your to-do list feels like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders, right? You’ll be amazed how much better you feel—and how productive you are—if you can chuck that weight early in the day.
Work in dedicated spurts
Certainly, this is applicable to the whole day, but it’ll set a great tone for the rest of your day if you can achieve this kind of focus in the morning. Maintaining focus for any length of time is a small miracle these days, with our smart phones, social media, busy schedules, and—oh! Look at the kitty!
Anyway, those distractions just slow you down. If you want to be productive, whether it’s writing a term paper, completing a class project, or doing an assignment at your job or internship, try to dedicate your full attention to the task at hand. Turn off your phone and/or block access to the Internet. Of course, even in a cat-video-free world, it’s hard to keep up that focused effort for long. So don’t. Instead, set an alarm, even if it’s 25-minute “Pomodoro” intervals, and really give the work your all until the timer goes off. We’re talking head-down, 100% effort, in it to win it. (You might even find you don’t want to stop!)
Stand up, stretch, walk around, drink some water. Give yourself 10 minutes in every hour of work—because, obviously, you’re going to be so focused and productive at this point, you’ll have easily worked away for a solid hour.
Listen to your gut
We may not be encouraging you to eat breakfast, but we are going to tell you to eat something. In this case, we mean listen to your gut literally and eat when you’re hungry. Try to get a balance of protein, fats, complex carbs—you know the drill. (And if you don’t, we recommend this article on finding that balance!)
Last but hardly least, perhaps the most effective way to have a good morning is a good night. You need to sleep!
By now you probably have a good idea of how much sleep you need to feel your best, whether it’s seven hours, nine, or somewhere in between. Make those hours sacred, and try your best to get that much rest every night. Though the occasional all-nighter won’t kill you, it also won’t do you any favors, and you should resist the urge to burn the midnight oil when you can.
If you find yourself not getting enough sleep for days or weeks on end, it’s time to take a step back and figure out what’s the underlying problem is. Chronic sleep deprivation can have some side effects ranging from the unfortunate, like forgetfulness and weight gain, to pretty serious, like increased risk for depression, stroke, and heart attacks.
Also, you’ll sleep better if your room is just a bit on the cooler side (60–67 degrees) and as dark as you can make it (blackout curtains!). Yup, you want a cool, dark place. Just like a potato.
And there you have our top tips for having a great morning! But if we missed your favorite method, let us know on Twitter @CollegeXpress.