If there’s one thing I could change about myself, I’d be a morning person. Mornings are always so hard for me. I don’t know why, but even if I get enough sleep, I always have to drag myself out of bed and crawl to the coffee pot. It usually takes a few hours for my brain to un-fog and work like it’s supposed to work.

Like many of my freelancing friends, I do my best work at night. This is conducive to my schedule since I take care of my children during the day, but I still strive to be a better, happier, more alert person in the mornings.

So, I’ve developed what I hope is a good morning routine for freelancers or at least some rules to follow in the morning to have a more productive day.

Don’t Check Your Phone Right Away

This is the hardest rule of them all when it comes to an ideal morning routine. We all want to check our email, reply to tweets, and see who is on Snap Chat as soon as we wake up. The problem is that many of us receive all of our news via our phones and Facebook feeds, so if something tragic happened or you simply find something irritating on your Facebook feed, it’s just not the best way to start the day.

Instead, make your way into your kitchen and have a quiet cup of tea or coffee before diving into the news of the day. This will help you to be ready for anything that might come your way.

Exercise

I am not a big runner or weight lifter, but I do enjoy doing yoga. It’s a nice, quiet form of exercise that helps me to stretch and wake up and greet the day. As freelancers, it can be hard to stick to an exercise regime because we work at all different hours of the day and night. However, it’s much harder to work out after a whole day has passed, so if you get it over with in the morning, it’ll help jump start your day.

Tackle the Hardest Task First

It’s tempting to take on the easiest, simplest task in the morning. After all, the day is just getting started and sometimes it feels better to ease into a tough day full of to do lists. However, if you pick the one task you’re dreading and do it first, all the rest of the tasks will seem much, much easier.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a call to a challenging client, a tough proposal you need to write, or learning something new that will take a lot of time and energy. Just pick the one thing you know will take up a lot of brainpower and go for it.

Ultimately, how our day progresses is completely up to us. We decide, as freelancers, when we work and when we don’t, but we also decide what the mood of our day will be. So, start your day slowly and calmly by avoiding your phone, get some exercise in, and try to tackle your hardest project first.

If you start each day like this, you’ll not only look forward to your mornings, but you’ll have much more successful days as well.

Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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