Most people can easily identify themselves as either early birds or night owls. According to a recent study in Emotion, an American Psychological Association journal, those more comfortable in the morning tend to be happier people.
The study involved 700 participants of all ages, collecting information regarding the respondents’ emotional states, health and preferred time of day. The happier, healthier people were those who labeled themselves ‘morning people’, while the night owls reported more lethargic and depressed attitudes.
Being a morning person has many advantages, the most simple of which being a full night’s sleep. A morning person also sleeps and rises with the sun, which is biologically correct and undoubtedly has an impact on both the quality and quantity of a person’s rest. Society also caters to a morning person’s schedule.
Morning people are generally more productive at the workplace, too. They are more focused and alert, and complete tasks faster than those who roll out of bed and into the office.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, early-bird employees complete these 12 tasks before noon:
1. Writing out a work to-do list- the night before!
Sozo Firm’s Andrew Jensen explains: “Some people like to do the to-do schedule in the morning, but then they might have already lost office time writing it out. It helps to do that to-do schedule the night before. It also will help you sleep better.”
2. Getting a full night’s sleep. Drowsiness and lack of sleep have a direct effect on concentration and productivity. Make sure to always get true rest on work nights; health experts recommend at least 8 hours every night.
3. Eliminating the Snooze button. Adding several bonus minutes at a time will only result in you dozing back off and finding yourself behind schedule. If you’ve had a full night’s rest, it should be easy to climb straight out of bed to begin the morning routine.
Jensen says: “Anyone can be made into a morning person. Anyone can make morning their most productive time. It could be that for the entire week, you set your alarm clock a little bit earlier, and you get out of bed on the first alarm. It may be a pain at first, but eventually you’ll get to the point where you’re getting your seven to eight hours of sleep at night, you’re waking up with all your energy, and accomplishing the things around the house you need to before going to the office.”
4. Exercising. Scheduling your yoga, Pilates, swim or job for the morning boosts your body and mood for the rest of the day.
“Exercise improves mood and energy levels… There have been studies done on employees who’ve exercised before work or during the work day. Those employees have been found to have better time-management skills, and an improved mental sharpness… Those same studies found these workers are more patient with their peers,” Jensen says.
5. Getting into a personal routine. According to Jensen, the morning should be dedicated to activities for you as well, such as reading the next chapter in a book, meditating or using the internet.
“It’s important to have that quiet time with just you,” he said.
6. Eating breakfast. There’s a reason it’s called ‘breakfast’, and this meal is most important after last night’s fast. It will also fuel energy and concentration needed first thing at work- so avoid any heavy, processed carbs.
7. Getting to work on time. With their schedule planned and busy, morning people have an easier time getting in to the office on schedule.
8. Checking in with fellow workers. This improves productivity and enhances the atmosphere at the workplace.
9. Tackling difficult tasks first. Thanks to last night’s to-do list and the morning energy, bigger projects can be taken care of quickly and efficiently.
“Don’t jump into meaningless projects when you’re at your mental peak for the day,” Jensen said.
10. Avoiding unnecessary meetings.
“You should use your prime skills during the prime of the day. I believe that mornings are the most productive time,” he says. However, “sometimes you have to schedule a crucial meeting, or a client meeting, in which case you’d want to plan for a time when employees and at their peak.”
11. Following up on messages. Sozo Firm recommends scheduling email and messaging breaks at specific intervals throughout a workday.
12. Taking a mid-morning break. This can be a little walk to stretch the legs, or even just 5-10 minutes of surfing the web, in order to refresh.
Jensen says: “You should take 10-minute breaks occasionally. Companies that ban any kind of Facebook, texting or personal calls can find it will be detrimental. Those practices increase employee satisfaction.” He added, “The best employees will respect their employer’s time.”