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Tweaking Your Morning Routine Can Make You More Productive All Day
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Tweaking Your Morning Routine Can Make You More Productive All Day

So, you finally woke up after snoozing the alarm for multiple times. Checked your Facebook, got freshened up, and stood in front of the mirror figuring out what to wear, only to realize that you are already late for work. You rush out to the office and do your work still feeling sleepy. By afternoon you are out of energy and all you want is to get home and hit the pillow.

If this sounds too familiar to you, then you are at the right place for help. The advancement in cognitive science and the increased number of studies have provided us with very accurate information on how you can transform your entire day just by tweaking your morning routine.

However, before you get into that, you must learn a little bit about self-control and a psychological term called ego depletion.

Importance of self-control and willpower

From time to time we tend to think of self-control or willpower, as an infinite resource. Parents and elders often motivate us by saying that with more willpower you can accomplish anything you want. On the other end, they blame us for failures by pointing out that we didn't put enough willpower into the goals as successful people did.

According to researchers at Nottingham University , "despite the human capacity to regulate the self, many behavioral and social problems stem from persistent lapses of self-control". "Problems from obesity, drug abuse, violent crime, inability to manage finances have their roots, directly or indirectly, in self-regulation failure", says in the paper titled ' Ego Depletion and the Strength Model of Self-control' .

Ego depletion

However, one of the recent breakthrough in the study of will power and self-control pioneered by Roy Baumeister of University of Queensland points out that willpower draws from a limited "reservoir" of self-control that, when depleted, results in reduced capacity for further self-regulation.

It means our will power is similar to a muscle in our body. Just as a muscle requires energy to exert force over a period of time, actions that demand high self-control also require strength and energy to perform.

Similarly, "as muscles become fatigued after a period of sustained exertion and have reduced capacity to exert further force, willpower can also become depleted when demands are made of self-control resources over a period of time". Baumeister and colleagues termed this state of diminished self-control 'ego depletion'.

How to improve your day by preserving self-control

Most of us follow a morning routine that drains our willpower, just because of the sheer number of decisions you have to make earlier in the day. As a result, you are out of willpower to stay focused or to stop procrastinating, and your productivity drops sharply as the day progress.

So here are three tweaks you can make to your morning routine that will transform your entire day:


1. Pick your clothes on the night before

There is a scientific reason why people from Jawaharlal Nehru, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama to Hugo Barra wore the same outfit to work every day. By wearing the same dress, they were saving their limited willpower for important things. Yes, it is not possible for everyone to go to work wearing a uniform, but one simple way to preserve your willpower is by picking your clothes for the day on the night before.

2. Have a proper breakfast

While searching the for physiological mechanisms for self-control, psychologist Matthew T. Gailliot and his team found out that self-control relies on glucose as an energy source . His studies demonstrated that ego depletion coincides with decreases in blood sugar and glucose. People who eat proper breakfast have more stable blood sugar and glucose levels and can fight off ego depletion easily.


3. Plan your day the night before

The best way to get most out of your finite willpower is to use it with focus. Choose and prioritize the tasks you are going to work on the next day before going to sleep. Schedule less important tasks for the afternoon and important ones that require decision making for the morning.

4. Protect your morning

Apart from the above-mentioned tweaks, it is important to protect your morning from social media and emails. Use the first few hours of your day to meditate and to exercise. And make it a rule to check news, social media alerts, and emails only after finishing your breakfast.

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