Young woman in pajamas
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By Gina Argento
April 20, 2017

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “What’s your morning routine before going to work?” is written by Gina Argento, president and CEO of Broadway Stages.

Finding your morning routine is essential for generating energy, health, and focus. I believe that having a consistent routine allows you to stay organized and achieve overall productivity.

I do my routine to become better aware of the state of my mind and body. When I start my day with a fresh attitude and clear head, I’ll have a positive outlook for the day ahead. If I wake up late or don’t follow my usual schedule, my entire day becomes a mess.

I begin my weekday morning routine at 5:30 a.m. (but I allow myself to sleep in on weekends). My first step is getting ready for the gym. It’s so important to begin my day with physical activity so I can rejuvenate and alleviate stress. It also helps to wake me up in the mornings and give me that extra push I need to get started. Exercising helps reduce stress when I get to work too, so I look at it as an added bonus.

When I get home from the gym, I quickly jump in the shower. Then I immediately check on my kids to make sure they’re awake and getting ready for school. I’ve learned from past experience to never assume they’re waking themselves up, so this has now become part of my morning routine. I then prepare their breakfast and school lunch. Around 7:45 a.m., when my kids are off to school, I can focus on myself and finish up with my pre-work morning.

A crucial part of my morning is checking my email for any pressing matters that may have happened while I was asleep. Because I run a large business, I have many people that depend on me and I need to be available for them. Additionally, I don’t like to come to work without checking my email, so I’m not blindsided by surprises.

Once I’ve mulled through my emails, I give myself a half hour for breakfast. Eating a filling and healthy breakfast has many benefits: It helps improve your performance at work and home, boosts your energy levels, and increases strength and endurance. Sustaining endurance throughout the day allows you to work more effectively and increases your productivity. This is particularly important to me, since I’m always running around from meeting to meeting and getting involved with multiple projects. You’ll rarely see me at my desk.

I enjoy breakfast beyond the meal itself. It also provides me valuable time to eat, relax, and catch up on the morning’s news. I’ll have plenty of time to exert myself when I get to the office.

Before I leave to work, I finish my routine by reviewing my to-do list for the day—which I write the night before—and checking my email to make any additions to the list. I have found that being organized and setting goals for each day helps increase my productivity. As soon as my goals are in place and I have finished all my pre-work to-dos, my morning routine has officially been completed and I can head out the door.

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