Dr. Mac Powell Discusses Morning Routines That Set You Up for Success

Establishing and sticking to a morning routine helps you prepare for a successful day ahead. Here, Dr. Mac Powell offers a few ways you can increase your productivity, boost your mood, and achieve the most you can out of your day.

A Good Morning Starts with a Good Night

While this is technically a nighttime routine, getting a good night’s sleep gives you the fuel and perspective you need for the day ahead. We all need different amounts of sleep, but most people need between six and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to maximize the benefits. Try not to drink caffeine, eat too much sugar, or watch programs that can disrupt a good night’s sleep.

The blue light from phone screens can keep you up and disturb your circadian rhythm. If you need more help to relax at night, try drinking herbal tea, meditating, exercising, aromatherapy (many people swear by lavender essential oil for helping them rest), or taking a warm bath before heading to bed.

Prep for the Day

You don’t want to be in a rush in the morning, so prepare for the day ahead by setting aside your clothes, making lunch, and putting any other items you might need throughout the day by the door so you won’t forget them. By prepping for the day ahead, you’ll have a much more relaxed morning and won’t have to worry about forgetting something or—even worse—realizing you forgot something when it’s too late.

Wake Up Early

People who wake up early are more likely to be productive and positive than those who stay up late and sleep in. Most of the successful entrepreneurs and CEOs that I work with wake up before 6 a.m. every morning to get their minds ready for the day. Most of them also work out early and (which we will discuss below) and spend at least fifteen minutes meditating or engaging in a practice of mindfulness that centers them in the presence and prepares them for the day to come.

Get a Workout In

Although this may be the most difficult of the routines, it’s likely the most important. A morning workout gives you a chance to refresh yourself and wake up your mind. It may also help lower your blood pressure and relieve stress. It doesn’t have to be a vigorous workout at the gym, but a 15-minute run or a few sets of planks and jumping jacks can be all you need to get your blood flowing.

Plan Your Day Out

Finally, take a few minutes to plan your day out and remind yourself of what needs to get done, and what’s most important on your to-do list. Start with the most difficult tasks so that you have significant momentum, and enjoy the process of crossing completed tasks from your list as you work toward your larger goals.

About Dr. Mac Powell:

Dr. Mac Powell has been a performance consultant and licensed therapist for nearly twenty years.. With over a decade of higher education management experience, Dr. Powell actively contributes to the strategic direction of higher education. He served as chair of the American Council of Education’s Commission on Educational Attainment and Innovation, and he is a former commissioner on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior Commission, a graduate of the WASC Assessment Leadership Academy, chair of the Council of Applied Master’s Programs in Psychology, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Performance Psychology.

As the author of over 50 articles, three books and two book chapters on the subjects of education, clinical psychology and performance psychology, his recent scholarship focuses on the role of accreditation in consumer protection, educational attainment, and the challenges of rising tuition costs for students. Dr. Powell speaks around the world on leadership, the role of personality in building teams and performance, and the future of higher education.

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