Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed and felt grumpy all day? Those days often have sneaky culprit: a bad morning routine. 

A good morning routine can help improve focus, put you in a positive state of mind, and set you up for a day of success. With a bad morning routine draining creative energy and decreasing concentration, we set out to find a few simple morning habits with a proven track record for success. 

1. Set your goals the night before

You’ve probably woken up to a handful of emails and a series of meeting invites before. If you haven’t already defined your goals, you’ll be busy responding to these messages all day.

One solution is to set high-level goals each night before heading to bed. With your priorities set, you’ll be able to see which requests are important, and which ones can wait a little longer.

2. Begin your morning with positivity

Many successful people, by default, have great foresight and do their best to avoid potential problems. However, this level of skepticism doesn’t mean you have to be a pessimist. Studies suggest an optimistic outlook can help you push through difficult situations and accomplish your goals.

When your alarm goes off, think about all the things you’re thankful for and looking forward to. Likely, over time, you’ll find your attitude at work improving too.

3. Less caffeine and sugar, more water and protein

Caffeine and sugar are among Australia’s most popular morning pick-me-up. However, by

cutting down a bit on coffee and sugary breakfasts, and replace what you can with water and protein, you’ll be hit with a burst of longer lasting energy and avoid that afternoon crash.

If you just can’t avoid that sweet-fix consider filling the void with natural fruits. It may not feasible to quit coffee cold turkey, but replacing one cup for water or natural fruits is a step in the right direction towards a healthy morning diet.

4. Exercise before work, even for just five minutes

Exercise increases focus and releases endorphins and, according to the experts, can help employees improve their productivity.

Few people have the dedication for a 5AM jog, and most workouts are completed after work when your creative energy is mostly depleted. So, even if it’s only a few sit-ups or lunges, by adding a five-minute workout to your morning routine you’ll be helping buff-up your concentration too.

5. Find your tailor-made creative outlet

Whether it’s meditating, chatting with family members, journaling or listening to music, it’s important to find a morning ritual that jumpstarts your creative thinking. Picking an activity that works for your personality is essential to helping you break out of your morning auto-pilot. A few ideas include:

Meditative: enjoy five minutes of silence or mindfulness.

Social: call a friend, chat with a family member during your morning commute.

Expressive: listen to music, write in a journal, or create your own artwork. Each activity will train your brain to be more flexible and creative.

6. Figure out what morning routine works for you

While we’ve heard that morning people are more productive, it's more important to get in tune with your body clock than what time you wake up. According to Sleep.org, your body actually knows what it should be doing and when - so don't force yourself to be part of the 5AM club if you can't fall asleep before midnight!

Whether it be eliminating decision making tasks in the morning or moving your most important work to earlier in the day, it’s all about finding a routine that works for you. If it seems daunting to overhaul your morning routine all at once, introduce one new practice a week and see if you notice improvement.