How To Start Off Your Day Constructively

December 08, 2015

Things Productive and Organized People Do Before Noon

I am not a morning person.  Those that have lived with me over the years can attest to this.  I’ve always been much more of a night owl; I would craft my college English papers late at night, catch up with friends on the phone well after I should have been in bed, and decide that the best time to make a photo album or clean out my closet was past 11pm.

But over the years, as life’s responsibilities set in, this staying up late and then either sleeping late (college) or having to get up early for work has just not gelled well for me.  So like many of us, I’ve changed my habits over the years in order to better accommodate not only my work schedule, but the quality of my life as well.  As much as I would love to snooze in the mornings and binge-watch Scandal at night, I am mindful of the fact that I really do feel better and get more done when I make better use of my morning hours.

So when I read this article entitled “10 Things Productive and Organized People Do Before Noon,” (, I discovered helpful tips on how to be more mindful in setting myself up for success all before lunch time.

I found a lot of their suggestions valuable and although I know that we all need to listen to our bodies and go at our own pace, this nudged me to take a closer look at my schedule, routines, daily habits, and quality of life.  Is eating breakfast really that important?  Um, yes.  Do I have to make my bed?  Well I recognize that when I come home to a made bed I feel more organized, tidier, and happier, so perhaps this suggestion is right on the money.  (Speaking of money, did you know that studies show that making your bed is correlated with how well you stick to a budget?  This could explain why I spent too much money on shoes in my 20’s…).

Here are some other tips that they recommend:

1) Get up early.  Whoa, what did we just talk about?  Does whoever wrote this article not understand that I am not a morning person?  But the research is compelling.  A study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology ( found that those who wake up earlier in the morning and consider themselves “morning people” tend to be more proactive and willing to take action than us night owls (ahem).  They even suggest that people get into the habit of getting up early on the weekends too!  As much as I’d like to protest, I do find that the more consistently I go to bed at the same time (early) and wake up (early), the better that I feel.  This often times leaves me with a little bit more time in the mornings to do some deep breathing, stretching, prepare a smoothie for breakfast, and OK, even time to make my bed.  (Who likes getting into an unmade bed at night anyway?  Not me).

2) Here’s another tough but good one in my book:  They suggest exercise in the morning.  I typically don’t get my body movin’ and groovin’ until after work, but I love the idea of getting active in the morning.  This in turn can reduce stress right from the get-go and supercharge productivity.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m generally more relaxed and in a better mood after I work out, which may not only benefit me, but my co-workers as well!

3) Avoid digital distractions.  We’ve spoken about this before and for some reason, I just can’t seem to do it.  Is there really any text message, email, Facebook post or Instagram picture that is so important that I have to see it the second my alarm clock goes off?  Not really.  This article makes a great suggestion, which is not to use our phones as alarm clocks.  How come I never thought of that?!  I for one am going to try it and see if erasing digital distractions first thing in the morning can help me feel more present and aware from the time that I wake up to when I get into the office.

4) Tidy Up.  I’ve actually started doing this more in the evenings when I get home from work, but I like the idea of leaving the house in good shape before I start my day as well.  Although many of us feel rushed in the mornings, if we get into the habit of literally just taking 5 minutes to put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher or throw out junk mail, recycle catalogs, and remove any clutter, when we come home at the end of a long day, we may just feel a little bit “lighter.”

5) Have you ever heard that Mark Twain quote “Eat the frog first?”  I just love that because we all tend to postpone the things that we don’t want to do.  This article suggests making a list of things that you need to do beginning with thinking through what you’d like your day to look like, and then create an actionable to-do list from that vision.  Then eat the frog!  (In other words, tackle the most challenging thing on your list first).  In the same vein Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg Germany, has sized up his own research ( )to conclude that morning people are better able to anticipate problems, and then figure out how to minimize them.  Here’s to that!

6) Drink Water.  We all know how good hydration is throughout the day, but research suggests that drinking 16 ounces or more of water first thing in the morning can actually fire up your metabolism.  Plus just think about how dehydrated you get from going 7-8 hours without drinking any water while you slept!

7) Know what goes great with water?  Breakfast!  Did you know that 31 million people skip breakfast every single day?  For me I just can’t eat right when I wake up, so I usually take my breakfast to work and eat it at my desk.  There have been lots of studies that understandably link eating breakfast on a regular basis to high levels of concentration and focus.  Makes sense, right?  Don’t forget about the quick breakfast ideas in the blog post about doing away with morning stress.  This is just another little friendly reminder to smash some avocado on a piece of multigrain toast, grab a yogurt and some berries, or smooth some coconut oil over multigrain waffles.  Give yourself the fuel that you need for the day and set yourself up for success right from the get-go!