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HIT your morning stride

Published: 
Sunday, July 8, 2012

 

Do you stumble into a new day with a hangover of yesterday’s tiredness and stress? Are your early morning thoughts as jumbled as your junk drawer or office files? Are you a nervous wreck before you’re halfway through the morning? Do you realise at the end of the day that you never quite hit your stride? Yes? Whether you spend your days at home or at the office, preparation will help you to hit your morning stride and have a productive day.
 
Clean and organise your workspace. 
A disorganised space fuels and sustains a disorganised mind. It fosters mediocrity, complacency, inefficiency and low productivity. It stimulates mental fatigue. Set up your workspace to welcome and motivate you for the day’s tasks.   
 
Refresh your to-do list. 
Cross off the tasks you accomplished. This simple act will show you what you can focus on in the tomorrow. If you want to spring into action in the morning, re-prioritise the items on your to-do list so that you don’t waste time on tasks that are best tackled later in the day.  
 
Maximise your commute. 
Whether you have to deal with the after-work vehicle flood or the rush-hour human tsunami, fretting won’t change a long and harassing commute. Accept that it is what it is. Relax, read (if you take public transport) or listen to music you like.   
 
Save what’s left of your day’s energy. 
Home life can be chaotic, especially if you have children. Stepping through the front door may be tantamount to stepping on a landmine. Save whatever sanity survived the hectic day. Talk yourself out of the negative emotions. Look up, not down at the stuff on the floor, furniture, table, counter top or in the sink. Hold the vision of what your home will look like after you have worked your magic.  
 
Eat right. 
Tiredness and stress can trigger unhealthy eating. Put some distance between how you feel after a hard day and what you put in your mouth. Put off eating until you relax for a while.
 
Set the stage for your morning routine. 
Select and lay out your work clothes. If you brought work home, place everything back in the file, envelope or briefcase to grab and go. Set out children’s uniforms and school supplies. Decide what’s for breakfast, assemble the ingredients on the counter and lay out the breakfast dishes.  
 
Enjoy a relaxing activity. 
A fun activity brings in a light mood and deepens relaxation as it takes your mind of the day’s challenges. Additionally, half hour or more of relaxing and lightly stimulating conversation gets you in a better mood and deepens your relationship with loved ones. 
 
Savour some alone time. 
Even 15 minutes alone can set you on a calm emotional path. Engage in an activity that draws you away from the stress of the day and drapes you with calm, clarity and contentment.
 
Get enough sleep. 
A restless night produces a frustrating and unproductive day. Create a simple pre-bed ritual to help you ease into a good night’s sleep.
 
Prime your spirit. 
Wake early enough to observe you spiritual practice. Acknowledge and thank God for His presence in your life and His authority over everything that will transpire during the day. 
 
Do you wish you could hit the ground running in the morning, with energy, enthusiasm and focus? It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do or your base of operations. It doesn’t matter if you manage a household or a major corporation. A habit of simple daily preparation will ensure that you hit your morning stride with ease, vigour and    a positive frame of mind. 
 
Cheryl Wright is a writer and editor. Her essays, feature articles and columns have been published  online and in print since 1998. She edits personal  
and business documents and content for print and 
online publications.
 
Curing the ‘I hate Monday’ Syndrome

 

Do you saunter into work each Monday with a spring in your step and joy in your heart? If so, you’re in the minority. More than 50% of the working population say they hate going into work Monday morning.
 
Even if you’re not satisfied with some aspects of your job (i.e., salary), you can still be content by recognising the fulfilling side of work. But you’ve got to take active steps. Here are seven ways you can feel content on a Monday.
 
1.  Try on some positive feelings. Researchers say your brain will believe the feelings are real. Example: If you’re feeling tired, imagine yourself surging with energy. If you’re feeling pessimistic, force your mind to create an optimistic thought. If something at work makes you feel beaten down or stressed, straighten your posture, raise your eyes and walk taller. 
 
2. Distance yourself from the source. You can recharge your energy by moving away from people and situations that sap your strength. 
 
3. Seek relationships that give back. Surround yourself with people who support you, cheer you, mentor you, challenge you or give you straight answers. Schedule a phone call, lunch date or walk with at least one of these supporters every week.
 
4. Move faster than your boss. Taking initiative and taking charge will help you develop more enthusiasm for your work. For example, don’t wait for direction, but organise a response and implement it. 
 
5. Research your way out of a funk. Browse a bookstore to find a magazine that gives how-to advice on a subject you’re interested in but haven’t pursued before, like an edgy journal for creative techies.
 
6. “Flip” negative thoughts into positive ones. First, pay attention to automatic thoughts. These are usually “can’t” or “shouldn’t” statements. Second, be aware of how these thoughts affect your mood. Third, zoom in on the thought that creates the feeling, such as, “This won’t work.” Fourth, flip that statement to a positive intention. Example: “I can make this work.” Finally, pay attention to the new emotion this flip-switching has created, and “hold” it for 17 seconds.
 
7.  Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” You can often find a learning opportunity in even the lousiest situation. 
 
Good luck.

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