"Good Morning America" is teaming up with Reader's Digest on a special series, "13 Things Experts Won't Tell You." This month, Reader's Digest unveils the secrets to boosting your energy at work.
6 a.m.: Waking Up
Tried and true: Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you actually need to wake up, so you can rise gradually and mentally prepare for the day ahead.
Expert tip: Go to sleep with your blinds at least halfway open: When the sun flows in, your brain will slow its melatonin production and start generating adrenaline, so you'll be half-awake by the time your alarm goes off.
App for that? The Sleep Cycle alarm clock ($0.99, iPhone) analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you up when you'll feel most rested.
7 a.m.: Before Your Commute
Tried and true: Have a small breakfast to kick-start your metabolism.
Expert tip: Even something as simple as string cheese with an apple and roasted nuts will help you stay energized—protein and calcium are key.
8 a.m.: On the Way In
Tried and true: Living close to the office might help perk you up. Researchers say commuting contributes to stress, exhaustion, and days missed from work.
Expert tip: If the commute's unavoidable, simple mental exercises can help cut through the tension: You can meditate whether you're sitting or standing on a bus or train, and you can take advantage of pauses while driving by practicing mindfulness.
9 a.m.: Take a moment to get organized
Tried and true: A cluttered desk can cause stress, but it's not exactly easy to find the time to clean one up. The early morning, before tasks pile up and meetings come together, actually makes a great time to do so.
Expert tip: Before you launch into your inbox, take a minute or two—five, even—to collect yourself and your papers. Sort through what's essential and recycle everything that's not. Some say that the trick to staying focused is to do all of this while standing.
App for that? Evernote (free; available on a variety of platforms) can drastically cut down on your desk mess with its virtual notebooks and organizational tools. Just be careful: Even digital notes can pile up if you don't stay on top of them.
10 a.m.: Time for coffee?
Tried and true: One professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School calls coffee a "lifesaving miracle drug", but when it comes to its ability to wake you up, a lot can depend on your habits. Too much coffee can lead to stress and even quirks in perception, so resist the urge to double down in one morning.
Expert tip: If you've held out, 10 a.m. could be a good time to have a cup: since caffeine takes about 45 minutes to fully absorb, you'll be covered for a good chunk of the morning, and you won't have wasted any of your buzz before work's really underway.
App for that? CaffeineZone ($0.99; iPhone) graphs your caffeine intake and lets you know when the right time to refuel is. It also warns you if you might expect too much of a buzz based on when you expect to go to sleep.
11 a.m.: Skip the snack
Tried and true: Mid-morning munchies happen, but they may not do a whole lot to boost your energy level. Plus, a recent study suggests that they can obstruct weight loss.
Expert tip: Eating a snack shortly after breakfast probably isn't necessary depending on the timing of your lunch -- one registered dietitian at SHAPE calls it "mindless eating" that isn't based on hunger. She suggests keeping at least three, and no more than five, hours between meals, so keep your schedule in mind as the morning goes on and your stomach starts to growl.