What’s the first thing you reach for the instant your eyes open in the morning? I bet it’s your smartphone. And within 105 seconds, you’ve check your inboxes, Instagram, Facebook, and everything else in the digital world, right?
I used to do this too. And before 7:05 a.m., I’d already feel stressed out. My heart would race at the touch of a mailbox icon, which flooded requests, questions, comments, and calendar invites into my brain all at once.
This still happens whenever I let it, but those first 10 minutes after waking are the most potent for setting the tone for your entire day. What if you spent those 10 minutes differently? Here’s how, on my best days, I set up for a badass 24 hours, feeling like a total boss:
Lay out clothes before you shower.
I got this advice from a friend, and it feels totally glam without costing a thing. Often on my commute home the night before, I consider my plans for the next day and what I’m going to wear. This is a massive time-saver!
Then, before I hop in the shower, I lay my outfit for the day out on the bed—accessories included. I pretend a personal stylist did it for me.
Awake with intention.
Ever since a friend gifted me the 5 Minute Journal, my days have never been the same. Each morning, instead of fishing for my phone on the nightstand with one eye open, I allow myself to enjoy a moment of sitting up, fully waking, and reaching for my journal and pen.
In this 5 minutes, you get the opportunity to...
-Be inspired by a motivational quote or weekly challenge.
-State 3 things you’re grateful for. Today, mine were lunch with a beloved friend, a new jacket I’m excited to wear for the first time, and the ideas that are flowing to me for my next book.
-Write down 3 things that would make today great (that you can control). This morning, I chose walking my dog in the park, finishing a blogging project I’ve been working on, and ditching dessert at dinner.
-Make 2 positive daily affirmations. Mine were: "I am vibrant and healthy," and a "I am always, always fun."
What a good morning already!
Take comfort in rituals.
Every morning on my way to the office, I used to grab a large iced coffee and whatever was hot at Pret-A-Manger. I was always starving and in a mad rush.
Now I think that making breakfast can be a lovely ritual. When you stock your kitchen with food you enjoy, take a couple of minutes to prepare it, and sit down to drink and eat, you start the day satisfied and focused. In the winter, I even like to bring mine to bed!
Open up some headspace.
If I have time, I like to sit with a second cup of tea (you can take the girl out of England!) and listen to my Headspace or Abraham Hicks app. If I think my phone is a minefield, or if I’ve been barraged with texts overnight, I’ll just take a few minutes to read my latest self-help book instead. Right now, I’m reading How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. It’s hilarious, and giving yourself the opportunity to laugh in the morning is totally underrated.
Relish getting ready.
When I’m getting dressed, putting on makeup, preparing my bag, etc., I power up a motivational YouTube video on my iPad (which I keep push-notification free). This can be some Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay affirmations… and on the mornings I’m feeling feisty, Tony Robbins.
This is how I always squeeze in a little self-help. I flit from room to room and listen, catching what I can—you don’t have to sit and listen to a whole lecture. I will always—without fail—get a golden nugget that sets me up to feel rockin’ that day. This morning, Louise Hay said, "Your only job in this world is to love yourself; everything else works out after that." Boom! Thanks, Louise.
Go—energized and awake!
Only then do I check my phone, en route to meetings, to the spin studio, to the office. There’s no rush to check all of your apps; think of the time you wait for the elevator, stand on a subway platform, or sit in traffic. The external world can wait! Plus, after an invigorating morning routine, you’re in a way better mental space to handle anything that pops up. And don’t feel anxious about a delay—I promise the Queen of England did not call you overnight.
Some days, I totally need the extra sleep, scramble to leave the house in 20 minutes, grab a peanut butter bagel and bad coffee at the nearest deli, and run toward the first empty cab in sight.
But my little routine happens as much as I allow it to (an earlier night in bed helps). So if you only do one thing for yourself, just keep your paws off your phone first thing, will you? Invest in a $10 alarm clock if you need that to make it happen.
This way, you get a chance to think, and you choose how to set the tone for your day, not the outside world. Everyone else will get the next 16 hours of your attention... and life is too damn important to live from the inbox out!
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!