Scenario A: You wake up after a good night’s rest. You eat a healthy breakfast. When work starts, everything seems to fall in place. You are in the zone. All your A-tasks for the day get completed and you make progress towards your goals.
Scenario B: You wake up grumpy. The electricity goes out while you are trying to boil water for tea. When you get to your car, you discover you have a flat tyre and the spare tyre has no pressure in it. By the time you get to work, you are ready to take your anger out on anyone unfortunate enough to get in your way. You can’t seem to focus. You give up on getting any meaningful work done before lunch and just want the day to end so you can go back to sleep.
Do the two scenarios sound familiar? Chances are you have experienced both days at some point. When someone is angry early in the morning, we ask if they woke out of the wrong side of the bed. How your mornings start often set the tone for the rest of the day. If you start the day on a positive note, things go uphill from there. Start the day angry, however, and you can quickly find yourself failing to focus on important tasks. This is due to the effect of what are called force multipliers. A force multiplier is an (often) seemingly small event that can have a disproportionate effect on your mood.
A force multiplier can either be positive or negative. A positive force multiplier creates more positive energy that gets you through the day. A negative force multiplier, on the other hand drags you down. Examples of positive force mulitipliers include having a good night’s rest, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day in advance, getting to work on time and receiving an I-love-you message from a loved one. Negative force multipliers include events like having an argument with your spouse in the morning, not getting enough sleep, skipping breakfast and receiving bad news.
You can take advantage of positive force multipliers to improve your productivity every day. This can be achieved by planning to start your day with events that make you happy. For example, morning exercise, taking 30 minutes to read a self-improvement article every morning or listening to your favourite songs for 20 minutes. It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as it puts a smile on your face.
A positive force multiplier for me would be a fresh cup of tea in the morning. I have one every morning as soon as I wake up. It improves my mood and also provides the energy kick I need to go through morning exercise. By the time I’m done and take a bath, I can review my to-do list with a smile before heading off to work.
If you don’t know what your positive force multipliers are, begin listing out the things that make you happy. Are there any you could incorporate into your mornings?