How does your morning usually look? If it involves hitting "snooze" repeatedly and rushing out the door, you're probably not in store for a productive day.
If you want to take on the work day and win, you need to make your morning routine as simple and stress-free as possible. That means being prepared ahead of time, getting quality sleep and doing things that will wake you up, boost your energy and motivate you to make it through the day.
Ready to rise and shine? These seven simple tips can help.
Pack your lunch in advance
One easy way to cut out added morning stress? Decreasing the number of tasks you need to complete when you wake up. If you're one to bring your lunch instead of stepping out midday to pick up food, you may want to consider preparing your meal the night before.
Rushing to make your lunch right before you walk out the door takes up time from your morning routine that could be used for other productivity-boosting activities and adds another responsibility to your to-do list: washing the dishes. Instead of waiting until the morning to pack your lunch, try preparing everything right after you've made dinner — this way, you're cutting down on how often you have to do the dishes, and in the morning all you have to do is open the fridge, grab your food and go.
Lay out your clothes the night before
Another way to cut down on responsibilities in the morning is to take some time before you go to bed to choose and lay out what you're going to wear the next day.
Unless your job requires you to wear a uniform, deciding what you want to wear can often be frustrating and time-consuming, and if you're distracted and in a hurry while you're getting ready, you could end up leaving in clothes that don't even match. Prevent that from happening by raiding your closet the night before, choosing pieces that work and laying them out so that in the morning, you can just get dressed and save yourself the hassle.
And if you want to get really creative with your closet, check out Business Insider's genius way to plan your outfits (and change things up) using Pinterest.
Switch out your alarm clock
Are you used to getting jolted awake by an obnoxious alarm clock? It could be the reason you keep hitting the snooze button or why you might still feel tired and cranky first thing in the morning, and it's called sleep inertia.
According to the New Yorker, "sleep inertia refers to that period between waking and being fully awake when you feel groggy," and the more abruptly you're woken up, the worse it gets. [10 Most Sleep-Deprived Careers ]
So how can you combat this to make your mornings less miserable? Try switching out your typical alarm clock for an alarm clock that slowly wakes you up using light and gradual sound — the light simulates a sunrise and makes waking up feel more natural. Or, you can use an app like Sleep Cycle, a smartphone alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns based on your motions. Just set a half-hour time window of when you need to be up, and the alarm will sound off when you're in your lightest sleep phase during that time period.
Wait to check your emails
It can be tempting when you first wake up to grab your phone and check all of the emails, texts and social media posts you missed while you were snoozing, but it might not be the best way to start your day.
It's tricky, because it seems like it would be more productive to start your day getting your emails and notifications out of the way, but according to the Huffington Post, it can be quite damaging. Why? As author and consultant Julie Morgenstern told the publication, email is reactive, not proactive, so you wind up "bouncing from task to task, letting your inbox set your agenda."
Instead, take a tip from Tumblr founder David Karp, who told Inc. that he waits until he gets into the office to check his emails in the morning.
Get in a few minutes of exercise
Exercise has a lot of benefits for your physical and mental health, but it is especially effective in the morning if you want to be more productive and motivated.
Exercising in the morning is an energy boost and gets your endorphins up, according to the Huffington Post, which means you'll be more awake and ready to take on the day. And a morning workout can boost your mental clarity, too — the HuffingtonPost reported that you can feel these effects for four to 10 hours post-exercise.
Plus, exercising in the morning can help you sleep better at night. Exercising too close to the time you typically go to bed can actually make it harder to fall asleep, the Huffington Post reported.
If you can't get in a full workout, try to at least set aside a few minutes to stretch and do some light exercise to help perk you up in the morning.
Eat an energizing breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You've probably heard that a thousand times, but it's true — the right breakfast can be the boost you need in the morning to stay motivated, plus, in the long run, it's good for your health.
According to US News, eating breakfast can boost your metabolism and help you feel fuller longer, but more important, it can make you more productive. But it's not just eating breakfast that matters — it's about eating the right foods.
Nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky told US News that foods rich in vitamin B, like oatmeal, avocados, bananas and pineapple, can give you an energy boost and help improve your concentration.
Plan out your goals (but not your to-do list)
Planning your goals for the day can be a great way to start your morning, but if you get too detailed, you could find yourself feeling discouraged instead of motivated. According to Fortune, detailed planning only works well if you have one major task to complete for the day, but the longer your to-do list is, the less specific you should get.
Why? Because the more detailed you plan out your responsibilities, the more you realize how difficult it may be to complete them, professor Amy Dalton told Fortune.
"[You'll] feel overwhelmed and, because you don't think you can pull it all off, you're less committed." Dalton said. "By contrast, people who don't form specific plans are more likely to believe they can achieve it all.
So, if you're feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, take a step back and look at the bigger picture instead.