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Lemon water, lists and exercise

Former Olympian and founder/director of Melbourne’s Studio PP, Steph Prem, swears by these quick and simple daily practices to establish a positive mindset for the day.

The first few hours of the work day can have a significant impact on our productivity levels, impacting the rest of the day – and even the week. Establishing a morning routine at home and at the office sets us up for the day so that we can get the most from it.

While it’s natural to carry baggage from the prior day’s, or even week’s stresses, try to treat each day as a fresh new start and set yourself up for success – physically and mentally.

1. Get up early

Creating time for introspection by getting in the right headspace is essential in order to manage your stress and responsibilities for the day ahead.

Aim to steer clear of your phone and any devices for the first 20-30 minutes of your day – easier said than done, I know – which keeps you more present. By responding, being reactive, to others in the first part of your day you can elevate your stress and change your state of being.

If you’re in a leadership position, it’s important to be present, mentally and physically for your team and it’s easier to do that if you clear some space for yourself first.

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2. Exercise your body, and your mind

We know that exercise is good for your physical and mental health, but excessive exercise can exacerbate your stress levels, play havoc with your hormones and negatively impact your energy throughout the day.

Mix up your strength, cardio and flexibility workouts accordingly based on the level of stress you expect the day ahead to bring. Have a big day? Ease into it with a gentler workout.

Exercising your mind is always a good idea, 10-15 minutes of meditation can be just as effective at helping you deal with a stressful workday.

3. Drink warm water with lemon first thing

Lemon water cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys, boosts vitamin C and alkalises the body (just ask Elle Macpherson).

Too much acid in the body decreases the supply of oxygen, which decreases the cell’s ability to repair and collect nutrients.

4. Clear your inbox

Carve out 15-30 minutes of dedicated email catch-up time on those “I’ll get to it later emails” in your inbox – those emails that linger for days, weeks and maybe even months.

By taking dedicated time every day to attend to a couple of those more difficult emails, by the end of the week, you’ll be less overwhelmed.

5. Write the ultimate list for the day

The first hour of the workday is the best time to evaluate your priorities and work out what to focus on. Starting the day by splitting your to-do list with a list of ‘What you absolutely need to accomplish today’ vs ‘What you can accomplish tomorrow’ can mentally break down the overwhelming nature of your to-do list.

We tend to get distracted first thing in the morning with reactive emails and requests when there may be more pressing tasks that need dealing with. Make your to-do list and stick to it.