I started waking up at 6 a.m. every day -- here's what I'm able to accomplish with the extra time

Running ipod 2Emmie Martin/Business InsiderA few days a week, I start the day with an early workout.

For over a year, I woke up for work around 8:15 a.m., got ready in a hurry, and rushed into the office.

But after hearing friend after friend tout the benefits of an early start, I finally decided to become a morning person — and stop starting my days flustered and unfocused.

Now I get up around 6 a.m. and spend the extra time exercising, preparing for the day, and getting myself in the right mindset for what’s to come.

Read on for a glimpse into my (much more productive) morning routine.

I set my alarm for a bright and early (read: dark and cold) 5:40 a.m., but usually end up snoozing and getting up around 6 a.m. Hitting snooze is supposedly a horrible habit, but it helps me wake up gradually instead of jarring into focus right away.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Crown Heights, Brooklyn, before the sun is up.

First thing, I'll usually read and journal -- and scroll through Instagram. I'm currently reading 'Multiply' by Francis Chan, so I crack that open. Making time to do something cathartic like this first thing in the morning always puts me in a positive mindset to face the day. And as a practicing Christian, this time also involves prayer and devotionals.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Currently reading: 'Multiply' by Francis Chan.

I snack on some cereal while reading, and mentally prepare myself to go for a run.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
This cereal might technically be for children -- but it's delicious.

Around 6:30 a.m. or so, I head out to run. I'm training for a race in November, so making time to get outdoors has become non-negotiable. It was a hard habit to develop at first, but now getting those endorphins in early energizes me for the entire day.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Yes, my iPod is from 2006.

Mid-run, it finally starts to get sunny. I love exercising before work because I not only get to explore new parts of my neighbourhood, but it's amazing to see it when everything's quiet and just waking up.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Changing leaves, the best part of fall.

After a quick post-run shower around 7:30 a.m., it's time to get ready for work, which usually doesn't take me very long. Just brushing my teeth...

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Well, this is flattering...

...and putting on a little makeup.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Straight primpin'.

For breakfast, I toss yogurt, spinach, frozen strawberries, and an unpictured banana into the blender for a green smoothie. I plan to grab a more substantial bowl of oatmeal (and Nutella) at work. No matter how late I'm running, I never skip breakfast -- I can't function without it.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Putting spinach in smoothies is the easiest way to feel healthy without having to actually eat salad. I recommend it.

Next, I throw together a salad for lunch. Today, it's one of my favourite combinations: kale massaged with olive oil and topped with chickpeas and feta, with an apple on the side.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Even if you smother your salad in cheese, it still counts!

I usually aim to leave for work around 8:15 a.m., but I'm running a few minutes late today -- probably from the extra time I spent taking 1,000 pictures of my lunch -- so I grab my backpack and head out at 8:21 a.m.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
This photo was totally staged. My bag can normally be found strewn across the floor of my room.

I hop on a 4 train into Manhattan, where I spend my commute reading. I always choose a novel for the train so I can get lost in the story and forget how close I'm standing to 20 other strangers. This week, Andy Weir's 'The Martian' served as my distractor.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Franklin Avenue, my home sweet subway station.

I get off the train in Union Square and head into work at 9:05 a.m. Now that the sun's up, it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Clear skies in Union Square.

The biggest perk of waking up earlier is getting to work earlier -- without feeling rushed. You'll notice I didn't check my email or Twitter before arriving in the office. By taking my time in the morning and waiting to start work until I'm physically there, I've been able to start each workday much more focused and productive. I'm able to get in the zone before the office gets loud and distracting.

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
I swear I'm hard at work and not checking Twitter...

And now, time to write!

Emmie Martin/Business Insider
Another day of list writing ahead of me.

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.