It’s no new news that establishing and sticking to a morning routine can work wonders. From increasing productivity levels and boosted mood to improved focus and beyond, there are no shortage benefits for having a morning routine.
But when we talk about morning routines, we often focus on incorporating steps to yield success. But in reality, avoiding certain things in the morning altogether can be just as effective to make your morning routine count. What things should you be avoiding to have a more productive morning? Here are just a few anecdotes from successful women to consider factoring in after your alarm goes off.
1. Your phone
If this one sounds impossible, you’re not alone. But Nellie Akalp, CEO and Founder of CorpNet.com, says spending her morning away from her phone has benefits. “I usually wake up around 6 am daily, and I try my best every weekday to actually avoid my phone,” she says.
“I like the morning hours to focus on myself and my kids as much as possible. As a business owner, my phone is my life, so it’s hard! But If I wake up and check my emails immediately, I get sucked into work life, and everything else takes a back seat. But I find that when I avoid checking my phone in the mornings, I can get in a great workout, eat a healthier breakfast, get my teenage children in order, and overall it just helps my morale for the rest of the day.”
“I work hard and sometimes put in long hours, just not before 10 am,” says DeAnna Dailey, Founder of Team Five, Inc.
“I own and manage a multi-six-figure small business with a small staff. I’m not a morning person and never have been. Getting to my office first thing in the morning is the least efficient way I can spend my morning time. I work best from 10 am to 10 pm, so it wouldn’t make any sense for me to work outside of those hours when I can’t give my best.”
In addition to avoiding her phone and emails, Laura Bartlett, Founder of House of Coco Magazine, avoids talking to anyone before 9 am. What does she do instead?
“The first thing I do is morning pages, where I brain dump my thoughts onto three sides of paper,” she says.
“This helps me to focus and eliminate unnecessary thoughts first thing. Next, my morning routine is an indulgent bubble bath (me time), reading a chapter of my current book, a meditation and a guided visualization.”
Another suggestion that might be tough to swallow comes from Lifestyle and Parenting Expert Veena Crownholm.
“When you give your body time to wake up with sunlight, your central nervous system wakes up naturally,” she explains.
“One cup of coffee or caffeine will be more effective if you wait and you can drink less, which should help you go to sleep earlier and have a better night’s rest.”
Instead of coffee, Crownholm makes sure she properly hydrates with plenty of water.
5. Social media
“I’m an online business which means we spend a lot of time on social media,” says Shauna Allan, founder and CEO of Modern Match Lingerie.
“It’s one of the ways we get to connect with our community members. And what I also know to be accurate is social media can be a timewaster if you’re not hyper-focused on what your intention is. I leave all time spent on social media for the daytime. Instead of looking at the picture-perfect lives of others, I use this time to journal. Being in gratitude, ideas for work or family life and inspiring thoughts.”
6. Phone calls
“I do not take calls before 9 am,” says leadership coach Stephanie Michelle.
“In fact, my calendar is blocked off until 10 am, allowing me to get 8-9 hours of sleep, exercise and have breakfast in the morning. This is a non-negotiable for me that allows for greater productivity and happiness in my life.”
7. Tough workouts
“Morning workouts should be strategized to generate energy, not tap you out before you even get going,” says Andrea Marcellus, fitness expert and creator of the AND/life app.
“Also, if you work out at too high of a heart rate for too long, your body will burn out the stores of glycogen in your muscles. This leaves many people feeling depleted, so they eat and drink more than usual to replenish themselves. So, on top of midday exhaustion, over-exercising can also lead to taking in more calories than you actually burn and preventing loss of unwanted body fat despite your best efforts.”
“I very deliberately avoid sugar in the morning,” says writing coach Rigel Celeste.
“No donuts or sweetened yogurt or maple syrup (that’s a tough one sometimes as waffles are my kids’ favorite breakfast), and I’ve even become accustomed to black coffee to avoid that as a source of sugar as well. I find that starting the day out ‘clean’ and sugar free leaves me with more energy and focus throughout the day and helps reduce my cravings for other unhealthy foods as the day goes on. It’s one of the smallest changes I’ve made that has had one of the biggest impacts on my productivity, health and overall outlook.”
— Danielle Page
This article originally appeared on Ladders.