If you’re anything like me, you wake up some mornings feeling like it’s time to go back to bed. Somehow you manage to drag yourself from the bed to the coffee maker without opening your eyes, and once in a while, even a hot cup of Joe isn’t enough motivation. Emails, newsfeeds and mental checklists kept your brain churning until an ungodly time the night before, and now you’re suffering the consequences. This vicious cycle of late nights and early mornings recently got me wondering about how I could start my days more productively and as a result, carry that productivity throughout my busy days. Here’s what I’ve found has helped me:

Jump Start your Body

Sure, when you first wake up you might feel like you have as much energy as an old wet sock. I get it! But if you force yourself to get up and do a few pushups or jumping-jacks, you’ll be surprised at how much more awake you feel. A quick round of exercise is a great way to get the blood pumping and knock the sleep from your eyes. Studies have shown that exercise elevates your metabolism and increases your mental acuity for several hours following a work out.

Grab a Cold One

No, not a beer (even though it probably is 5 o’clock somewhere). I’m talking about a shower. Aside from the many health benefits of a cold shower, like easing stress, stimulating weight loss and improving circulation- cold showers save time. The cold water will not only help jolt you awake, it’ll also keep your shower time to a minimum. You still get to start your day off feeling clean and refreshed, but you’re also not tempted to waste valuable time standing in the hot water wishing you could sleep standing up.

Fill ‘er Up

When you hop in the car for an eight hour road trip, chances are, you don’t start your journey on a quarter tank of fuel. My guess would be that you make sure to fill up the tank before you settle in behind the wheel. In the same way, your body needs to be reenergized before tackling the day ahead. A well balanced meal and a cold glass of water can go a long way toward your overall energy level.

Have a Plan

Instead of lying in bed at night and allowing your mind to be flooded with all the things that need to be done tomorrow, try writing a to-do list of the top 10 things on your agenda. Getting this information onto paper, or into an app on your phone, can really help relieve your mind of the burden of trying to remember all the “stuff” that needs to be accomplished the following day. Not only will you probably sleep better without that burden, you also won’t have to worry about forgetting anything from the night before. Take a few minutes (perhaps while eating your breakfast), to review the notes you took and even add to the list if you’ve thought of something to add.

Take a Moment

Now that you’ve accomplished a few minor tasks, take a few minutes to relax and focus your mind. Your day is bound to get crazy as soon as you get to the office. Now is a great time to gather your thoughts and enjoy a few minutes of quiet. Whether you decide to spend this time in prayer, meditation or breathing exercises, you’ll find that you feel more mentally prepared to take on the day.

What is your morning routine? Tell me your secrets to jump starting your day.

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