Getting upright: How to set yourself up for a successful day

RYAN LAVIN | OPINION COLUMNIST | rplavin@butler.edu

Mornings. For many Butler students, mornings mean a run to Starbucks for a caffeinated kickstart. For others, it means hitting your snooze button until 9:50 a.m., then throwing on whatever you can find and running to your 10 a.m. lab.

One of the most important things about mornings, however, is the fact that they are a wasted opportunity. People often sit on their phones for a half hour before they finally get up, or drag themselves from place to place when they are up and about.

From the moment you get up, you can do incredibly simple things that will make your day more productive and worthwhile. Here are a few ways you can set yourself up for a great day.

One of the first things you should do in the morning is make your bed as soon as you get out of it. Climbing into a nicely made bed at the end of the day is an amazing feeling, and it’s easy to get there by taking a minute after you get up to make your bed. Then, no matter how well or how badly your day went, you know your immaculate, university-issued bed is waiting to console you with open arms.

Retired Navy Admiral and SEAL Commander William McRaven said in a speech in 2015, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”

Taking a minute or two the night before classes to write yourself a list of tasks you want to accomplish the next day is an extremely helpful way to stay on track throughout the day. Then, as the day goes on, you can cross off the activities you did during the day.

Once the day is over, you can throw the list away and feel satisfied that you finished what you intended to do. One other thing you can do before you go to bed is set your backpack up for the next day.  You will not need to scramble in the morning to put all your homework and textbooks in your bag and wind up forgetting something in your dorm.

I know I’m going to sound like a parent or a nutritionist, but eating a good breakfast in the morning helps you to stay more alert and energetic throughout the day. If you get up 10 or 15 minutes earlier and set time aside to go to Atherton for a good breakfast, you will help yourself to be more aware and awake throughout the day. The made-to-order omelets are always a good choice for a healthy and filling meal.

Surprisingly, to this point, I have resisted the temptation of drinking coffee in the mornings. I have a simple alternative to coffee, however, that is both healthier and cheaper. I have found that drinking a bottle of water soon after you wake up helps you to become more alert within seconds.

Water doesn’t contain the ludicrous amount of sugar in a caramel macchiato, nor the ridiculous levels of caffeine in Starbucks’ brewed coffee.

An article published by Harvard Medical School, for example, says that “most people need about four to six cups of water each day.”

I find that drinking water frequently throughout the day helps me to be more alert and keeps me focused on the tasks that lay ahead of me.

The Harvard article further states, “Of course, there are many reasons why water is still the better choice. Remember, sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and inflammation, which can increase your risk for developing diseases such as diabetes. Too much caffeine can give you the jitters or keep you from sleeping.”

As college students, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With all the sugary temptations existing on campus, drinking a sufficient amount of water every day can be a significant step towards getting fit.

One activity I have found rewarding since arriving at Butler is going to the HRC every morning and working out. To me, a morning workout helps me mentally prepare for anything the day might throw at me. I also see the results of my work by looking more lean and fit. If you can find some time to go to the HRC anytime throughout the day, I would definitely recommend it.

If you find yourself in a constant a.m. slump, push yourself to eat an egg or two, drink some water and get off your butt. You’ll notice the difference quickly!

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