What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day.

Everyone has had those mornings when they oversleep, they’re rushing to get ready, they can’t find their charger, and then traffic sucks on their commute. Then they get to work and nothing seems to go right. They’re in the wrong mental or emotional state to deal with the challenges of the day.

On other days they wake up feeling well-rested when their first alarm goes off, they leave for work a little early, and have time to grab a quick breakfast before they get to the office. They get to work and are ready to face the day’s challenges.

When you have a bad morning you have a bad day, and when you have a good morning you have a good day. It’s that simple.

So what can you do to make sure every morning is a good morning? How can you make sure you’re ready for whatever the day brings?

A Good Work Day Starts At Home

Your work day may not start at home, but how you get ready for work in the morning still affects your work day. If you wake up poorly rested or if you rush to get ready for work, you start your day feeling tired and stressed. You are more irritable and are more likely to feel frustrated with your work and snap at your coworkers later in the day.

Here are a few things you can do to have a good start to your work day, even before you get to work.

  • Get ready the night before. Make sure your bag is packed, your clothes are clean and set out, and you know what you’re doing for lunch before you go to bed at night. Getting your stuff ready the night before means you’ll have less to do and stress about in the morning.
  • Give yourself enough time in the morning. If you snooze your alarm several times or sleep in until the last possible minute, chances are your mornings are rushed. You’re running around frantically trying to get ready and get to work on time. Rushing around like that isn’t a great way to start your day. Set your alarm early enough to get ready without rushing to keep your mornings calm.
  • Eat something. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, if only because it helps tide you over until lunchtime. Try to eat something before work, even if it’s just a piece of fruit or some cereal. The extra energy will help get you going and power through your morning.

Start Good Habits At Work

You can’t neglect the beginning of the work day when you talk about morning work habits. What you do at home can help you get your day off to a good start, but what you do when you first get to work is what sets you up for a productive day.

  • Check your messages first. Don’t reply to any emails or phone calls yet, but use the first few minutes of your work day to read through your messages. This will help you set your expectations about what needs to be done that day so you don’t make plans and then have them immediately derailed by an email or an old phone message.
  • Make a to-do list. After you’ve checked your messages, make your to-do list for the day, note which tasks need to take priority, and write down when your meetings are scheduled for that day. If you have a big project to work on, break it down into smaller tasks so you can cross things off as you go. Crossing off those smaller tasks will help you recognize what you’ve accomplished so far and help motivate you to work on other things.
  • Get one small task done. Once you’ve finished writing your to-do list, pick one really small easy task from the list to do right away. Replying to an email or two is a good choice, especially if it is one that won’t lead to more emails. Then you can cross that task off your to-do list. Getting something on your list completed early in the day can help you feel accomplished and put you in a good mental state for the rest of the day.

Don’t Stop There

While morning work habits are important to start your day off right, you can’t neglect the rest of your day and expect things to go well.

Try to avoid social media throughout the day. It’s an easy mental break, but it can quickly turn into a time-waster and productivity-killer. It stops the momentum you’ve built up dead in its tracks.

Instead of turning to social media when you need a break, try doing another quick and easy task from your to-do list. Or, if you really need a break from all of your work, get up from your desk and walk around. Go to the bathroom, get some water or coffee, grab a snack, or just do a lap around the office space. Anything to get you up and away from your desk.

Getting up and moving around gets your blood flowing and can help clear your mind. Plus, leaving a task and coming back to it can help you see the task in a new way.


Good work habits and a morning routine can’t make all of your work problems disappear, but they can put you in the right headspace to deal with your problems productively. Start your day off right and the rest of the day will follow.