tips for a productive morning

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What to do: Come up with a morning ritual. This worked for the 161 creative minds whose routines are revealed by writer Mason Currey in his book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Some of the more hard-core examples are the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, who said that the repetition of his routine (wake up at 4:00 a.m., work for five to six hours straight, then run or swim—or both) becomes "a form of mesmerism"; and Anthony Trollope, who wrote 3,000 words every morning before heading to his postal worker job. (And then there's the unorthodox approach of Benjamin Franklin who, Currey says, took daily nude "air baths" after rising).

What it does: As you repeat the ritual, it will become a habit. And the brain loves habits—they spare cognitive energy and make us more efficient. Soon your brain will be craving the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing your ritual, and it will become automatic.

How it makes you more productive: Murakami has written 13 novels (and has completed more than 33 marathons); Trollope completed over 24. Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. Enough said.

Next: Ways to boost your energy when you haven't slept