If you want to get more out of each day, start doing these 8 things before noon

Do you often have days when the morning has flown by, yet you haven’t done anything productive?

Although you might not like to hear this, it’s often not down to a rapidly growing to-do list, but rather, you didn’t set yourself up for a productive day.

Because here’s the thing…

The activities we do (and don’t do) in the morning determine how the rest of our day goes.

To increase your productivity, try doing these eight things before noon.

1) Get outside

The first thing many of us do when we wake up is look at our phones.

But according to scientist Kristen Holmes, the first thing you should do upon waking up is go outside and look at the sky. 

She explains that 5 to 10 minutes of (natural) light exposure first thing in the morning allows you to get all the photon energy your body and mind need to wake up fully.

While sitting on your balcony or porch will cultivate these benefits, going for a morning walk is even more beneficial.

Why?

According to science, early morning is also the best time to exercise, which brings me to the next activity you should do before noon…

2) Exercise

If you often wake up feeling drowsy but struggle to fall asleep at night, make working out one of the first things you do in the morning.

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Physiology found that 7 am is the optimum time for exercise.

Working out at this time helps shift your body clock, so you feel more alert in the morning while getting tired earlier in the evening. 

So, if you want to maximize your mornings to relax later in the day, this is one of the most significant changes you can make. 

Moreover, various research studies have found that exercise improves mental health and productivity. 

So you will likely find that working out in the morning helps you stay focused on your work and prevents you from getting stressed over minor things.

3) Meditate

While we would like to think that we wake up calm, centered, and ready to tackle the day, it’s not the case for most of us.

If your mind starts racing before both feet are on the floor, carve out some time to meditate before you begin work.

Here’s why…

Meditation is scientifically proven to increase mental clarity (i.e., slow down brain activity), which allows you to focus better on things without constantly getting distracted.

What’s more, when you jump head first into the day without taking any ‘me time,’ you’re much more likely to get stressed and overwhelmed.

Taking 10 minutes to meditate, practice breathwork, journal, or do some light yoga stretches may not seem like much, but you’ll quickly notice the benefits. 

Mindful activities like these give you a rare opportunity to be present and connect within before the busyness of the day takes over.

There’s another reason why I choose to meditate in the morning…

As research has found, it’s easier to stick to healthy habits if you do them in the morning rather than the evening.

4) Avoid coffee for the first 45 minutes of waking up

high achiever in the morning If you want to get more out of each day, start doing these 8 things before noon

Coffee helps us feel more alert and awake in the morning. And as a major coffee addict myself, I’m not about to tell you not to drink it…

However…

There is emerging scientific research around when exactly we should drink our morning coffee, and guess what?

It’s not immediately after waking up.

According to Dr Amy Shah, you should not eat or drink coffee for the first 45 minutes after waking up.

This is all to do with a neurotransmitter called adenosine.

Adenosine is a naturally occurring chemical that makes us feel groggy when we wake up. 

This chemical naturally clears out after 45 to 60 minutes of waking up.

But…

Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors, not by clearing it out faster. 

So when we drink coffee first thing in the morning, we prevent adenosine from clearing out.

And when that caffeine wears off in a few hours, the adenosine is still there. 

As a result, that groggy feeling comes back, leading us to drink another coffee, and so on.

So…

If you can’t get through the day without 3 or 4 coffees, it could be because you drink it too early in the morning.

By waiting 45 minutes to drink your first cup of Joe, you will have more sustained energy, allowing you to have a more productive day.

5) Plan your day

A solid plan is critical to getting the most out of our day.

So, one thing you should do before your work day begins is prioritize and schedule your tasks.

While there are many time management methods, I have yet to find one as effective as the 4 Quadrants Matrix.

This strategy involves organizing all the tasks on your to-do list into four categories:

  • Quadrant 1 – Important AND urgent tasks
  • Quadrant 2 – Important but not urgent tasks
  • Quadrant 3 – Urgent but not important tasks
  • Quadrant 4 – Not urgent nor important tasks

As you can see, the 4 Quadrants Matrix helps you understand your day’s priorities, allowing you to focus on what matters and not waste time on quadrant 3 and 4 tasks.

By spending the morning working through your quadrant 1 and 2 tasks, you’ll have completed all the most important things by noon, allowing you to have a stress-free rest of the day.

And this brings me to the next point…

6) Do the hardest & most creative tasks

We tend to put off the things we dread the most and those that require a difficult decision.

Whether it’s a tough conversation, a challenging problem, or our taxes, we lower our productivity when we keep putting these things off. 

How?

When a difficult task or decision is not yet handled, we ponder and stress over it until it is. This steals our energy and attention away from everything we do in the meantime.

So, to get more out of your day, start with the most complex tasks.

By making them the first priority, you get them over and done with. Thus, the stress and anxiety surrounding the task don’t cloud the rest of your day.

I also find that I am more creative in the morning, so I strategically schedule my most creative and mentally taxing work before noon.

Then, I block out the afternoon for less mentally taxing tasks, like editing, emails, and admin.

Interestingly, many productivity experts agree with my schedule.

Daniel Pink, author of “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” says our creative ability is highest immediately after waking.

Pinks explains that 8 am to 11 am is when our attention span is at its peak. After 11 am, our likelihood of getting distracted increases.

Therefore, do all your creative and high-focus tasks before 11 am to get the most from your day.

7) Eliminate distractions 

the art of war in everyday life strategic lessons from sun tzu for personal success If you want to get more out of each day, start doing these 8 things before noon

While distractions may be more frequent in the afternoon, in an age where we are constantly attached to smartphones, interruptions are still commonplace before noon….

But only if we let them.

To maximize your ‘performance peak,’ AKA before noon, eliminate all potential distractions.

This includes:

  • Keeping your phone off or in another room
  • Closing your office door 
  • Avoiding your inbox 
  • Having the TV or radio on in the background (ad-free focus music is ok)

Here’s another thing that may help you eliminate distractions while boosting your cognitive functioning…

8) Keep a water bottle with you at all times

Before I start my morning work tasks, I fill up a 1.5-liter water bottle and bring it to my desk.

This way, I won’t run out of water, get thirsty, and have to go to the kitchen, where many potential distractions await.

But here’s another reason why I do this…

I used to start my work without having any water nearby. I would then become engrossed in my high-focus, creative tasks, and before I knew it, I had worked for 3-4 hours without having a single drop of water.

The result?

Mental fog, headaches, and inability to focus ALL afternoon.

Once I realized the culprit might be a lack of water, I did an experiment.

I started bringing my 1.5-liter water bottle to my desk at the start of every workday and challenged myself to drink it all before lunch,

I was amazed by the difference. I was much more alert in the afternoon, which allowed me to get far more done than previously.

Here’s why…

Our brains consist of 80% water. So if it is not getting enough hydration, we quickly feel the effects. 

In fact, according to scientific research, our brain tissue shrinks in size when we don’t drink enough H20.

This results in headaches, mood changes, and decreased cognitive ability.

So drinking more water is a simple yet highly effective way to get more out of your day.

Final thoughts

From getting morning sunlight and moving our bodies to strategically scheduling our days, there are many things we can do to increase productivity.

The most significant shift for me was doing all my creative and high-focus work in the morning. I get through these tasks much quicker doing them in the morning than in the afternoon. This one change alone has allowed me to get so much more from each day!

So give these eight things a go and see which is your biggest game-changer.

Gemma Clarke

Gemma Clarke

I am a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and an experienced content writer in the spirituality and personal growth space. I’m passionate about sharing my expertise through the power of words to inspire and guide others along the path of personal and spiritual development.

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