05/28/2013 09:05 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2013

Entrepreneurial Energy: 5 Tips to Increase Your Morning Productivity

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Entrepreneurs are busy people. We have a lot on our plates, and we would like to think we are very productive people. But, are we operating at our most productive levels? I invite you to take a short quiz today, focusing on morning productivity, to find out.

Below are two brief scenarios. Read each one and then decide which describes your morning routine better.

Scenario 1: Your alarm chimes in the morning, you swing your feet over the edge of the bed and you stroll out to your living space. Thankfully, everything that you need for the day was packed the night before, the automatic coffee pot turned itself on 15 minutes ago, and you feel well-rested and ready to take on this new day!

Scenario 2: Your alarm chimes in the morning, you hit snooze. You hit snooze again. You finally decide to get out of bed, but now you are rushing around because those 20 minutes of extra snoozing have caught up to you. You struggle to get the coffee made in time, and you can't even think about what to pack for lunch yet because you need to remember to gather those important documents from the printer before you head to the car.

So, how did you do? If you identify more with the first scenario, I would almost bet that as you continue reading, you are most likely implementing some of the productivity tips listed below. And if you identify more with the second scenario, there is good news -- you can have calmer mornings, which will translated into better days.

5 Tips to Increase Your Morning Productivity

  • Packing lunch can be a drag if you are tired or uninspired. The best time to complete this task is after dinner each night. If you take leftovers, all you have to do is transfer from the serving dishes to the to-go containers. This saves you time in the morning from dragging everything out and packing it all up again. You also can think clearly about healthy food choices, because you are not really hungry, nor rushed for time. I follow the same general routine each day for lunch, which makes packing easy: 10 a.m. snack, main dish, yogurt, fruit, 3 o.m. snack, water canteen. Put all the items in the lunch bag, in the fridge, so literally all you have to do, is "grab and go."
  • Set everything out the night before and pack up what you can. This is a big time saver! I pack my bag with all the stuff I will need for the day including house and car keys, important documents, my calendar, cords for electronic devices, etc. I also program the coffee pot to start 15 minutes before I get up. I absolutely love waking up to smell of fresh coffee. Because I am a morning exerciser, I also put out all of workout clothing. I have learned that if the clothes are laid out, I have NO excuses.
  • Before going to bed, write down the top 3-5 things you want to accomplish the following day. I call this my "Must-Do" list, as opposed to my "To-Do" list, because it places a higher importance on them. If you outline these items before bed, your mind actually "works" while you sleep, sometimes figuring out answers before you wake up. (Brain science is a fascination of mine!)
  • Avoid the AM electronics trap. You know what I mean, right? You roll over and check our messages and status notifications on your iPhone. Or you get out of bed and open the email on your computer. AGGGHHH... forget it... 30 minutes has gone by and now you are strapped for time. So many people allow their devices to dictate their time, and that is not what all our wonderful technology was designed to do -- this technology is supposed to be saving us time. Getting caught-up in the a.m. onslaught of what happened on Facebook and Twitter, or in your inbox, while you were snoozing, is a surefire way to blow up your morning routine and throw everything out of synch.
  • Get a good night's sleep. It is no surprise that we are all rushing around with way too much to do and not enough time to do it all. But we must listen to our bodies and take care of our health needs first. I find that 7 hours of sleep makes me a very, very happy and productive woman. Because I get up each morning at 4:30 a.m. to write, exercise and begin my day, this means I must be in bed each night at 9:30 p.m. Do your math- - are you getting enough rest to be a productive and happy person?
Starting your day off on a calm note is essential for a productive day and to keep you operating as your best entrepreneurial self! If you learned something new, I encourage you to try a few of the tips above to see how they change your day's outlook and productivity levels.

I would enjoy hearing about your tips for a productive start to the day. Please leave a comment below to join the discussion.