Making Mornings Work for You

Written By: Sydney Grierson

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates 

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a strong impact on the way we go about our daily lives, especially when examining from a career perspective. With many companies moving into a permanently hybrid or full-remote work environment, this has created a long-lasting change for workers to adapt to. Even for those who see this change in a positive light, getting into a rhythm that allows one to be productive and mentally happy takes time, trial and error, and effort.

In the book “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” by Laura Vanderkam, the author examines how we can utilize our mornings to create positive change in our professional and personal lives. I, personally, found this book to be a surprising treat that helped me reframe how I structure my days when I am working from home. It creates a realistic approach and perspective into how utilizing our mornings can better support areas such as mental health and ability to reach professional and personal goals – rather than a how-to guide into living a life like Bill Gates or Elon Musk. And in COVID-19 times, when lockdowns took place and life was flipped upside down, this book allowed me to adapt in a more peaceful way.

One topic that Vanderkam explores is the idea of focusing on tracking your time and considering the logistics of your ideal routine. When we take a step back to see how we are actually spending our time, it’s easy to notice trends. Are you spending too much time focusing on emails in the morning? Are you rushing to your work laptop a minute before the day starts because you lay in bed on your phone for an hour? Are you saving family time specifically for the one hour window between getting home from work and your kids’ bedtime? When creating new habits, also allow yourself the time to actually develop and tweak those areas. Once you identify the areas that you want or need to improve, it’s important to realize that change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in a perfect way. Especially in times of COVID, make sure to be kind to yourself through the highs and lows that you may experience through change.

The author also explains that mornings should be used for tasks and goals that are “important but not urgent”. And what is “important” to one person might be completely different for another. I like to use my work from home mornings to spend additional time with my pets and get at least twenty minutes of exercise. On the other hand, my significant other uses his time to read and catch up on important news. We tend to think of after work hours as the time that is saved for ourselves, but why can’t mornings be used for the same? And these same ideas can be used for professional work, too. When one accomplishes “important” tasks from their to-do list, it sets a positive and productive tone for the rest of the day.

Overall, it’s important to take a step back every now and again to identify what areas of your professional and personal life you are satisfied with and where you can make improvements. Remember to start small and be patient with yourself. And why not try something new by implementing these things or moving them to the morning? Give it a try and see how you like it!