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Is there a secret to becoming more productive? Mel Robbins, author of The Five Second Rule and The High Five Habit, recently shared her number one hack to being more productive tomorrow on The Mel Robbins Podcast. The world-renowned motivational expert routinely researches science-backed tools and tips to promote a better life. In regards to productivity levels, the single biggest hack that helped her create a rock-solid morning routine, she shares, is putting herself to bed properly.

“Your morning routine begins the night before.”

Robbins differentiates who each person is today from the person he or she aspires to be tomorrow. “What if instead of bemoaning the choices that you made last night, what if you got serious about making sure that the future you — the one that’s waking up tomorrow morning — is actually waking up feeling really good?” she asks. By practicing five habits, she argues, people can set themselves up for “success, for ease, for structure, for confidence, for winning.”

Mel Robbins’ five habits to set yourself up for success and ease in the morning

1. Use the 3-2-1 Rule

Robbins urges people to follow the “3-2-1 Rule” which adds practical structure to the evening hours to improve sleep quality.

  • Three hours before bedtime, stop eating and drinking alcohol to promote health and rest.
  • Two hours before bedtime, stop working, as working too close to bedtime can affect your thought processes while sleeping.
  • One hour before bedtime, turn off all screens whether it be TV, phone, or computer. The blue light emitted from electronics interferes with the brain’s ability to shut down and sleep. “You do the three, two, one rule, you’re going to get a great night’s sleep, and you’re not going to be so stressed,” Robbins insists.

2. Make things easier for yourself.

Mel’s second tip varies for every person, but “making things easier for yourself” can mean simply putting out clean exercise clothes so they’re ready to go in the morning. This practice increases the likelihood of following through with exercise plans, Robbins says, “because you’ve made it easier for you.” For actors, keeping a backpack stocked in the car with audition essentials, so they have one less thing to think about in the morning or having audition clothes ironed the night before, ready to go. Parents can pack the kids’ lunches the night before. If you wish you were in the practice of drinking more water in the morning, strategically place a water bottle where you do your wake-up routine. “Have healthy foods in the front of the fridge,” Mel advises, “and have a little dish that you always put your car keys in.” Doing such tasks beforehand requires “less energy than having to do it when you’re stressed out in the morning.” she says.

3. Give yourself a clean slate.

This tip has to do with cleanliness — namely, loading the dishwasher, wiping down the counters, clearing clutter, and taking out the trash. “Do not take today’s messes into tomorrow. Do not saddle the future you with crap that the you today should be doing tonight,” she urges. This practice is non-negotiable, just as people lock their front doors and shut off the lights. “Psychologically, walking into a physically clean slate helps you mentally feel like you’ve been given the gift of one when you wake up in the morning,” Robbins says.

4. Set your alarm to truly support yourself.

People tend to fall into habits and not really give full thought as to what would be best for them. So Robbins asks people to think more deeply about what they truly need to feel supported. “Tonight when you set your alarm, make a decision about the person you are becoming. Tonight, be very intentional about what you truly need to start your day feeling supported, confident, at ease. How much time do you need to truly put yourself first, take care of your health, and put a little bit of time into something that matters to you?” she asks. This is the priority that most people fail to recognize. “When you think about the person you want to become in this next chapter of your life, what does that person’s morning routine look like?” Robbins prompts. If the answer requires an extra hour to be added to the morning routine, set the alarm clock accordingly.

5. At bedtime, tuck your phone into the bathroom, closet, or kitchen.

Mel is adamant: There is no phone in the bedroom, period. “Before you tuck yourself in, tuck that phone anywhere but the bedroom,” she says. But keep the ringer on, just in case a loved one needs to reach you. “There’s no reason to hear every text alert going off at hours into the night. Additionally, using the phone as your alarm will get you out of bed promptly to shut it off come morning. Robbins implores people: “We have to get the one thing that’s been robbing you of your attention and energy all day away from you. Do not let people have access to you once you get into your bedroom.”

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