5 great morning rituals to help maximize your workday.


How people spend their morning can impact their productivity for the entire day. In fact, the first two hours of the day are when people are their most alert and can be their most productive time, says Duke psychology professor Dan Ariely.

However, most people's morning routines are scattered. So, whether they're "morning people" or not, that productivity potential is often lost.

Revamping your morning routine can change the tone of your day. Here are five amazingly simple productivity routines practiced by some of the world's top business minds. Try them out--and share them with your staff!

  1. Write down 3 things that went well yesterday

    Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, cites scientific studies that prove the correlation between positive thinking and productivity.

    For example, in a study of doctors, those who self-reported a positive mood before making a complicated medical diagnosis were more accurate and able to make the diagnosis 20% more quickly than doctors who said they felt "neutral" about the day.

    Focus a few minutes of your morning to recognize what went well the day prior. Not only will remembering how much you have to be thankful for help you to focus on what's going right instead of wrong--it can help improve your mood and ability to focus on the positive despite challenges that come your way.

  2. Start your day by tackling the thing you most dread

    A famous Mark Twain saying goes something like this: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." The message applies to anyone, anywhere: Tackle that one thing on your "to do" list you don't want to do first--when your mind is sharp, at the start of the day. Ultimately, you'll minimize the time (and pain) you have to spend thinking about it and completing it.

  3. What's your intention?

    You don't have to be a yogi to benefit from setting an intention. In fact, as Fast Company profile revealed, Oprah Winfrey often asks the question, "What is your intention?" of herself--and her staff--as part of the decision-making process on nearly every project. The question forces you to focus your effort, and reveals where you may be confusing "busyness" with productive business tasks.

  4. Shock your...

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