Ways of working

Transform your mornings with five unique routines

Everyone has their own morning routine. This could mean going out for an early jog, making porridge, or turning on the radio to listen to the news. Studies have shown that practising meditation and mindfulness in the morning can have real benefits, like improving your happiness levels and immune functions. Others suggest that jumping into a cold shower can help increase your circulation and keep your heart healthy.

If you have trouble rolling out of bed and heading into work, here are few weird and wonderful morning routines that could increase both your energy levels and your productivity.

Make your own sunrise

No matter how little sleep you think you need each night, your body clock has other ideas. Getting enough shut-eye and keeping natural circadian sleep patterns (wake-up and bed times) is one way of feeling refreshed each day. Another is taking the science into your own hands.

Waking up to natural light is better for you than a sound-based alarm, as the sun’s rays make you produce melatonin – the alertness hormone. You can simulate the same experience with a sunrise alarm that has a daylight bulb.

Count your coffee beans

According to his musical understudy, Beethoven used to start his day by counting out exactly 60 coffee beans for his morning brew. While we can’t prove that this has any effect on the quality of a cup of coffee, many other known geniuses had such weird and regimented daily routines.

Jane Austen insisted on checking that a certain door hinge remained squeaky, to warn if anyone approached. Charles Dickens took three-hour walks every afternoon. Artist Andy Warhol called friend and collaborator Pat Hackett every morning without fail. Even today’s psychologists put faith in the power of ritual, so there must be something in it.

Enjoy an algal bloom

Superfoods are pretty popular right now, and for good reason. Seaweed has been scientifically backed for its nutritional benefits. In Wales, the laverbread variety is still eaten on toast, and in Japan they indulge in the same species for sushi and snacks.

Seaweed has more iron than steak, more calcium than cheese and is the only plant-based source of vitamin B12. Some species even have bioactive substances that lower blood pressure, aid weight loss and possibly even prevent cancer.

Write free form

Celebrated by creative writing bibles like The Artist’s Way, free-writing means filling a couple of pages everyday, but without any clear goals or guidelines. You just write.

Apparently, this technique can improve your creativity for the rest of the day. It also helps to minimise stress levels by giving your ideas and emotions time (and a page) for themselves. And who knows what ideas and projects you might come up with in your free expression time.

 

Eat the frog

The origin of this routine is a Mark Twain quote. The writer said that, if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you probably don’t need to worry about anything worse happening afterwards. The principle’s simple. Think of the biggest or most unwelcome task in the day ahead, and do it right away. This way you won’t procrastinate.

Some studies say that working your way through small, achievable tasks is a faster route to a productive day. Give these routines a go, and you could start your day on a positive foot before you’ve even had your breakfast.