Make your mornings more productive

Cartoon by Gemma Correll: How to get out of bed - get a cat!

Why not use the extra nine minutes you get each morning from not hitting snooze to get your day organised?

We have loads of advice on how taking a few minutes out of your day to get organised can make you feel calmer, clearer and more in control. Why not try a few and let us know how you get on via our Facebook page or Twitter?

The Night Before

10 O'Clock Rule

This is called the 10 o'clock rule, but it could be the 9 o'clock rule, the 11 o'clock rule or whatever suits you. Simply set your watch or phone to beep every night at 10 o'clock.

Whatever you are doing when your alarm goes off, get up and prepare for morning. The beauty with this is that very quickly you won't need the reminder, you will just get into the habit of automatically getting ready.

Hey! We said Don't Hit Snooze!

Things you might want do are:

  • Pack your work/school bag
  • Put your mobile on charge
  • Get your clothes ready for the morning
  • Prepare breakfast (or at least plan it! It's better to nip the corner shop now for some milk than panicking in the morning)
  • Set your alarm (but #DontHitSnooze when it goes off!)

Once you have figured out what you need to do each day of the working week, make a note of it and stick it on your bedside table or stick it in your phone so you can check it off each night.

In The Morning

Different people have different routines in the morning (check out Kate Cross's morning!), but really productive people spend some time preparing for the day ahead. Here are some tips to try and make your day run smoother.

Check your Calendar

If you actually put appointments in you diary, well done. If you check it regularly, even better!

It's funny how when you made that dental appointment six months ago you were convinced you would remember it. You just didn't remember it this morning.

Take a few minutes to check what you have coming up today and tomorrow to avoid that sickening feeling when you realise you have missed an appointment or meeting… and potentially have to wait months to reschedule it.

Glamorous woman writing in notepad
Try buying a posh notepad for your task lists - and you can pretend to be this lady.

Top three tasks

Do you think every morning "I really should do…." and then get side tracked and only remember the task in the evening?

This can go on for days and then you just start to feel despondent at how badly organised you are.

Each day set yourself three tasks that you want to do and make sure you do them. They might be small ones that you keep putting off ("I must ring Mum") or larger one ("I really need to start that assignment/project") but writing it down in the morning will bring it to the forefront of your mind for the day; and checking it off in the evening will give you that warm glow of having achieved something.

Do this every day and you'll soon start motoring through tasks.

Chunk it up

Sometimes our long term goals get suffocated by our day to day chores. How often have thought "I'd love to learn a foreign language" or "I would love to learn to tap dance"? Sometimes these big "someday, one day" goals never come to anything as we don't know where to start.

Well, a simple way to get going is to break a big task into small chunks.

So, you want to learn a foreign language? Why not make one of your three tasks for today to spend half an hour at lunch browsing the internet to find out what is there, or to ring a local college to see if they do a course? It may only take five minutes to start on the road to your new life, and you have just acquired nine more minutes a day by not hitting snooze.

Use your smart phone

You probably lose more time browsing social media on your phone than this tip will save, but that's a different article altogether!

There are loads of free apps which can help you get organised, but just using the calendar, notes and email apps that probably came with your phone will help you take control. Reminders are a great way to prompt you when you are out and about to do things.

Also, if you just can't resist hitting the snooze button then you can usually disable the snooze function on you phone's alarm, so it's not a case of "Don't Hit Snooze" but "Can't Hit Snooze". Go on, try it. Dare you.

Weekly

If you want to take your organisational skills to the next level, why not introduce a weekly planning session - ask yourself, what is in my calendar for the coming week? What three big tasks do I want to achieve this week?

Take a bit of time to get your head around the upcoming week. If you know what to expect, then you should be calmer and most importantly, happier.