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By Ines Guillaume

No matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to operate at 100 percent at all times of the day. The afternoon work slump is real – and can affect our ability to complete tasks efficiently.

Here is the big secret to maximizing your day: The early bird gets the worm! In fact, the truth behind the expression is backed up by numerous studies. Waking up early allows you to accomplish more tasks and maintain a higher level of productivity. Only 10 percent of the population consider themselves ‘early birds,’ but for that minority a pattern of success is clear:

- Mika Brzezinski, Know Your Value founder & "Morning Joe" co-host, wakes up a 4:00 a.m.

- Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, wakes up at 3:45 a.m.

- Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, is hitting the gym by 4:30 a.m.

- Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, wakes up at 5:15 a.m.

- Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, is at work by 6 a.m.

The key is an early rise and a great morning routine. Here are some tips and tools to help you stay organized, maintain a positive attitude, and be more productive.

Know Your Value editors, writers and experts only recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! While every product is independently selected, Know Your Value does have affiliate relationships. If you buy something through our links, we may receive a small share of the revenue.

Bedtime Routine

- Go to bed 10 minutes earlier and wake up 10 minutes earlier. Build up from the first day, week by week, consistently shifting your schedule back another 5-10 minutes until you have reached your desired wake-up time.

- Avoid screens before bed. Leave your phone in the other room or out of reach to limit how much you use it before bed or first thing in the morning.

- Set your alarm clock. Try using an alarm clock that produces a white light to help you wake up naturally. Your body will learn to react to the light over time, making it easier and less stressful to rise earlier.

(Know Your Value pick: Philips Wake-Up Light, $98 on Amazon.)

- Stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle on your nightstand. If you are someone who always forgets to drink the appropriate amount, try using a water bottle with time tracker markers as a reminder for how much water you should be drinking.

(Know Your Value pick: Three Drops of Life 32oz. Water Bottle, $22 on Amazon.)

Get the blood flowing and the neurons firing

- Have a morning dance party. Turn up your speakers and break out your best dance moves to get your blood pumping. Listening to your favorite hits helps release dopamine, making you happier and less stressed.

(Know Your Value pick: Alexa-enabled Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Tropical Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker, $129 on Amazon.)

- Shift your scheduled gym session to the morning. Exercising in the morning will get your blood flowing and helps you to focus on important tasks. If you are not the gym type, there’s no need to worry — you’re not alone. There are plenty of other ways to get your blood circulating: take a walk, go swimming or go for a bike ride.

- Find time to meditate in the morning. There are many books available, but if you are new to meditation try a beginner’s guide.

(Know Your Value pick: "How to Meditate with Pema Chodron," $14.73 on Amazon.)

Plan your day – jot down ideas and goals

- Organize your day from the start. Use a planner to organize tasks, meetings and outings for the week. Staying organized will increase your productivity, so you spend less time figuring out what needs to be done and more time completing the tasks themselves.

(Know Your Value pick: Lemome Undated Daily and Monthly Planner, $8 on Amazon.)

- Keep a section in your planner for ideas. It is a good practice to write down ideas, no matter how big or small, to help stimulate your creativity.

- Set goals. Dedicate a section of your planner to setting goals. This will help you focus your energy.