4 Tips for Productive Mornings

early mornings

If you’re a morning person, this post is not for you — you’re blessed.

And some entrepreneurs have the luxury of sleeping in and getting work done at midnight, when they’re nice and peppy.

But some of us have to see kids off to school before we can start our day.

Or maybe we have to do our work-at-home jobs during traditional business hours.

So what do you do when you’re feeling groggy and uninspired in the morning?

1. Nutrition Solutions

Have you ever had this experience? You wake up feeling OK, you feel clear-headed during your shower, you make some coffee and a little breakfast and start sipping and munching as you start your work, and then hit a kind of wall?

You’ve gone down before the coffee really pulled you up. You feel your blood sugar dropping and start to feel heavy and slow. It’s easy to blame this on the beginnings of work weighing too heavily on your mind, but it could be nutrition.

If you’re eating a muffin or something like bacon, plan to hit a wall. From the muffin you’re getting a carb spike and from the meat, lethargy from a taxed digestive system. If you’re going to go with a muffin, try to whip up (at night) muffins made from grains like Teff, millet, buckwheat, etc., you’ll have less glycemic problems.

High-fiber, lower glycemic fruits like apples and pears can pump energy into you slowly, rather than spiking your blood sugar. It’s important to find what works. Even if it’s a garden salad at 8 a.m., stick with it.

2. Do Something Before Working

Now, this of course requires you to get up early and to make time to do a pre-work activity. But doing something like exercising, meditating, making one play on Words With Friends, etc. can be a good way to bring your brainwaves into focus rather than just jumping into work.

A reason that running or some other workout can be good is that these things usually have a finite end. Things like surfing the web can be a more addictive activity that could drag out for an hour or so.

Exercising, a quick bout of cleaning or maybe prepping some food for that night’s dinner can be a good activity for clearly marking the distinction between your pre-work and work days.

3. Work Through Grogginess

There’s an inherent paradox is morning grogginess. Your brain feels like a rock or like water-logged driftwood, yet it’s ready to work.

Fiction writers are often encouraged to write as soon as waking, since it’s then when their brains are closest to their dream state. Is there a pure wisdom in the nearly-asleep mind? Many think so, and one line of thought is that while it’s painful to think while sleepy, that doesn’t mean your thoughts during this time aren’t good ones.

In other words, if you do your best to power through what sleepiness remains, you can get good work done, making amazing use of time that often has people just staring into space. In addition to the productivity — the main goal — you’ll be giving yourself an incredible psychological boost.

4. Work on the Big Stuff

Sometimes the idea is to do a bit of filing (digital or paper), a check of your bank account, a bit of arranging, etc. in the morning to burn off the morning mental fog. If this works and productivity comes afterward, that’s fine. But these little tasks don’t really invigorate someone like a workout and can just make one feel lethargic.

The reason going on to tougher and meatier jobs right away is a good idea is that as you start to hit your stride energy-wise, you’ll be in the midst of the day’s monster project. That allows the later morning — and the rest of the day — to go much more smoothly.

We can’t all be morning people but we certainly can put our best effort in trying to find productive work-arounds for the problem. And who knows, while you’re getting more done, you might find yourself enjoying waking up. No guarantees though!

Do you have tips for being more productive in the morning? Leave them in the comments!

(Photo by jamelah e. / CC BY)

Jeff Maehre is a fiction writer and freelance copywriter. His fiction has appeared in Story, The Northwest Review, Cutbank, and Phoebe; he often blogs and writes other copy about social media.


  1. Katie on the 26th January

    Working in the morning is terrible for me! I prefer waking up late and working in the evening and at night.

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  2. Andrew on the 27th January

    Good post. I think I’m the one doing the small administrative tasks in the morning before doing bigger work. I recognize that I could get my day started the best if I would exercise but always I hurry to office to begin with the errands.

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