This week, Lifehacker shared 10 great steps to help us upgrade our morning routines and get out the door (or to the desk) faster. Below, the steps and a couple of tech items to help you achieve them.
- Save the Morning for Thinking - no email, no screens, just concentration, planning and mindful work.
- Track Your A.M. Habits - what's holding you up? Knowing how longs things take will help you plan backwards.
- Put Your Kids on an Itinerary - kids thrive on routine, so plan a precise one to get everyone out the door.
- Eat for Better Sleep - eat sparingly at night, and eat bananas, honey, almonds and other peaceful-sleep-inducing foods.
- Choose Your Most Important Task Over Email - keep an hour in the morning to dedicate to pressing tasks, instead of being distracted by the demands of email.
- Trade Coffee Jolts for Smaller Perk-Ups - Don't drink it all at once.
- Wake Up Without Any Caffeine - If you don't do tea or coffee, other cues like light and exercise can help get you going.
- Set a Morning Prep Reminder the Night Before - set an evening alarm and go around the house, readying your keys, clothes and breakfast for the next day.
- Crank Out Some Push-Ups - nothing snaps you out of grogginess like exercise.
- Know Your Peak Performance Times - learn when you're most productive and creative, then play to your strengths.
The thing that helps us the most is step 3, morning prep. We program the coffee machine (a regular old Mr. Coffee) to start up as we're waking, filling the house with an aroma that helps tempt us out of bed. Some people swear by sunrise alarms, reviewed here in 2009. This version ($93) may be just the thing you need to get going in the AM.
Step 6, Choose Your Most Important Task Over Email, and step 10, Save the Morning for Thinking are close runners-up -- it's easy to get distracted and lose productivity. One good way to focus is unplugging yourself completely.
At night we try to avoid screens for several hours before bed, as it lets our brain settle, and doing the same in the morning is sure to help, along with prioritizing important tasks. But if you want a bit more wired help, here are nine Android apps for waking up or winding down.
Don't ask us to give up our caffeine though. (I'm looking at you, Step 4.) We're going to try spacing out smaller caffeine boosts as detailed in step 5 and see how well it works.
Read the full article at Lifehacker.com, and share your own habits and tips with other Unplggd readers in the comments below.
(Alarm clock image: Flickr member japi14 licensed for use under Creative Commons. Keys image: Flickr member dsevilla licensed for use under Creative Commons. Coffee image: Flickr member stigwaage licensed for use under Creative Commons)