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7 ways to get the most out of your mornings

By Michael Crump | 03 October 2017

We all want to make the most of our mornings, right? The “all-nighter” is a rite of passage for many students, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! In fact, students who self-identify as early risers have higher marks on average than their fellow “night owls.” If you make it a priority to wake up earlier, you’ll find that you have all the time you need for exercise, eating right, reviewing your work and strategising about your future.

Here are 7 Ways to Make Your Mornings Bigger & Better

Whether you’re an online student pulling an all-nighter to prep for an upcoming assessment or a career professional working late at the office to face down a looming deadline, there’s no doubt that working into the night can be stressful. Remember the last time you pulled off one of these late nights? Chances are you didn’t feel good doing it, and you certainly didn’t feel well the next morning!

The obvious solution is to rise earlier in the day and use your newfound time to focus on your studies. You won’t just feel better - you may even perform better on your schooling as a result! A study of 824 undergraduate students at the University of North Texas - Denton, USA, found that students who identified as “morning people” had grade point averages (GPAs) that were a full point (3.5 versus 2.5) higher than their night owl peers.

It looks like there may actually be some science behind the saying, “the early bird gets the worm!” So what will you do with all the extra time you gain from shifting your sleeping and waking habits earlier? Consider any of the following strategies for catching your own early morning worms: Do you rise and shine with the sun? If so, there are plenty of great ways to use this time! Are you an early bird or a night owl? Rising early can help you get ahead!

#1: Exercise

couple exercising in the park

Stop me if this sounds familiar…  You wake up so late in the morning that it’s all you can do to grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door. After that, you bounce from classes to meetings to study groups. By the time you get home and get your homework in order, it’s nearly bed-time - leaving you no extra time to get your exercise in. Here are 10 Easy Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk. 

Finding time for exercise becomes a lot easier when your alarm clock goes off earlier. Even if you can get in the habit of waking a half hour earlier than normal, you can use that time to get a quick productivity-boosting workout or jog in before heading off to class. As a perk, the endorphin boost you get from exercise can feel more powerful than the cup of coffee you used to need to get through the day!

#2: Prepare a healthy breakfast

While we’re on the subject of healthy living, forego your usual bowl of use Weet-Bix and use some of your newfound morning time to cook up a healthy breakfast. An omelette packed with energy-producing vegetables or a bowl of fresh made muesli will give you the energy you need to sit through a long day of classes (or to work through the evening on your online night classes). Here are 10 Brain Foods to Help You Boost Your Productivity

#3: Meditate

young asian woman meditating

According to some experts, meditation can reduce your likelihood of being hospitalised for coronary disease by 87 per cent, and the possibility that you’ll get of getting cancer by as much as 55 per cent. That’s some pretty powerful stuff! Here is How to Meditate to Regain Focus & Learn New Skills

Despite these benefits, many people find meditation to be inaccessible; believing that their minds are too cluttered to engage in this activity. Nonsense! Meditation doesn’t have to involve complex mantras or long periods of sitting wrapped up like a pretzel - it can be as simple as focusing on your breathing for 5-10 minutes.

No matter how you choose to approach it, there are plenty of free apps and programmes online today that can get you started with meditation. Take a few minutes each morning to meditate and set your intention for the day.

#4: Finish your study work

Pushing to stay up late to finish your "homework" usually results in two things. You might get your work done, but you’re also more likely to have made mistakes and less likely to have retained the information you studied when you’re tired. Should You Listen to Music while Working & Studying? 

The obvious solution is to focus on getting up earlier in order to free up time to finish your homework. If this sounds impossible, try shifting your waking time back by just 15 minutes a week. Your body will get the chance to acclimate to your new schedule without the harsh shock of immediately jumping ahead by a few hours (which is likely to leave you hitting the snooze button again and again until your normal wake-up time).

#5: Review your work 

reviewing work

Remember all those mistakes I mentioned that people make when they’re tired? Even if you don’t need to use your morning time to finish your homework, it’s a good idea to review it with a fresh set of eyes to ensure that any errors you made are caught. And since this should only take you 20-30 minutes, you can combine this good habit with others on this list to make your mornings as productive as possible. Here are 5 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Study Space

#6: Plan

Once you’ve shifted your waking time earlier, try to set aside at least 10-15 minutes of your new free time to map out your day. Using a paper calendar, a planner or an app like Planner Promake a list of any classes or meetings you need to attend, any homework assignments you have coming due, any projects you need to get started on or any people you need to connect with. Having all of these priorities listed in front of you reduces the risk that you’ll forget something important later on.

Start your day off right by scheduling important assignments and priorities. Check out 9 Little Attitude Adjustments That Add Up to Success. 

#7: Send out emails

sending emails concept

Some productivity experts recommend waiting to check your email until you’ve got a few hours of productive work under your belt, but once you’ve put together your daily schedule, you may find it more helpful to send off your messages while your daily priorities are fresh in your mind. Find out How to Manage Meetings in 10 Easy Steps. 

Need to meet up with a fellow student to work on a project? Send the message now so that he or she will receive it before starting the day. Need to let your boss know about time you’ll need to take off for a final exam? Send the request early in the morning so that you don’t wind up putting it off (and ultimately forgetting about it) later on.

#8: Strategise about your future

Finally, if you’ve still got time left over, reserve a small chunk of time each week to think about your future goals and what you’re doing to achieve them. What type of job do you hope your new degree will help you land? Are you in the right programme for this type of work, and if so, are you taking advantage of all the opportunities available to you to boost your resume?

Honing your vision of the future in your mind will make the steps you need to take now to achieve it clear. Remember to think about How to Build a Strong Relationship With Your Boss

Studying online could be the way to get ahead

Getting more skills by studying online is a great way to motivate yourself - no matter what time of the day it is. 

A leader in outstanding vocational qualifications and online short courses, Upskilled has innovated the flexible online delivery of education and training for professionals and motivated job-seekers alike. Check out this comprehensive range of online courses here

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