Simple Morning Hack to Boost Productivity

Woman sleeping in her bed with her pug. Morning hacks to boos productivity article


Despite best efforts, mornings can be difficult. Unless you're one of those lucky people who just naturally loves to be up early, those first waking moments are a losing battle. It seems that no matter how many alarms you set and notes you write, you end up forgetting something important or dropping the ball. You get to the office and realize you left your lunch in the fridge at home, or you were supposed to fill that prescription days ago. But hey, not your fault! Blame it on your well-intentioned but very tired alter ego: Morning You.

The good news is there's a very simple trick to beat Morning You at their own game. By creating a visual to-do list, you're setting yourself up for success in the morning and will reap the benefits all day.

What is a visual to-do list?

A visual to-do list is a reminder method that relies on props and hard-to-miss cues. While the practice of handwriting a to-do list has its own merits, these lists can be easily misplaced or overlooked, completely defeating the purpose. Instead of relying on your memory recall, a visual to-do list relies on your brain's ability to think associatively, which is a much more reasonable task for the early morning.

Notes on a book, creating a to-do list

How do I make a visual to-do list?

Making a visual to-do list is easy and can be done in 3 steps:

  1. Determine task(s) that need to be completed
  2. Select a prop or visual that best represents each task
  3. Strategically place props in can't miss spots around your room or home

The best way to explain a visual to-do list is to see it in action. Here's an example of a morning using a visual to-do list.

Using a visual to-do list

Let's say tomorrow, you need to...

  1. Renew your car's registration
  2. Bring lunch to work
  3. Buy more coffee creamer

Before you go to sleep tonight, lay out your visual to-do list so nothing falls through the cracks in the midst of your morning.

  1. Car registration: Tape the notice from the DMV (or your current registration or some other piece of documentation) to the back of your front door or on your bathroom mirror. Somewhere you can't miss it.
  2. Lunch: Place your empty lunch bag (or a non-perishable snack) on top of your keys. In the process of grabbing your keys, something you won't leave the house without, you'll have to physically move the bag or snack. This will jog your memory and make sure you don't forget the rest of your meal.
  3. Coffee creamer: Place a coffee mug next to your shoes. Or maybe something less breakable if you're exceptionally clumsy. Seeing the coffee mug will reinforce the reminder to stop at the store.


Using a visual to-do list is an easy (and certainly more unconventional) way to make sure you're getting all of those little tasks done over the course of the week, helping you be more productive during the day. By taking care of your personal chores and errands with a visual to-do list, you can dedicate precious time and energy to work-oriented tasks while you're in the that frame of mind.

Have you ever tried using a visual to-do list or have any similar life hacks to make mornings easier? Let us know!



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