Typically, you can control what happens at the very start of your day. Make the most of this time to set yourself up for a productive, successful day.
- Identify activities you need to do to set a routine that will help you meet your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs for the day.
- Be flexible, tweaking your activities and timing until you find exactly what works best for you.
- Carry out the activites you’ve planned. Establishing new habits can be uncomfortable, but stick with what you know you need, and it will become easier and perhaps even your favorite part of your day.
Are you maximizing this one part of the day you have the most control over?
Last week, I had the nowadays somewhat unusual experience of speaking to a live event in person. I connected with Thrivent Advisor Network advisors for their annual meeting and shared further with a small group after my presentation about the importance of routines. They asked me about my routines when I was swimming and about what I do now. . .
The first thing in the morning is the one time of the day where you stand the most chance of being able to do exactly what you want and know you need to do. My routine begins early in the morning.
- When the alarm clock goes, I don’t hit the snooze button. Get up and get moving.
- I intentionally set your alarm for the next morning each night. Avoid setting your alarm clock to automatically go off the same time Monday to Friday. Set it each night and take a moment to register the current day is done and start getting your mindset into the next day.
- I immediately get up and jump into an ice-cold bath. Actually, no, I don’t. A lot of people do, though, and if that works for you, that’s great. I’ve literally jumped into cold bodies of water on early mornings more times than I can count, and those days are personally over for me. But again, if it works for you, great. You’ve got to develop your own system and your own process.
- What I actually do next is hydrate and caffeinate: I get a water bottle of room-temperature water that I’ve set out the evening before, and a cup of black coffee.
- Next I get my blood flowing. I head upstairs to do a 10-15 minute sit-up and push-up routine to get my blood flowing, especially to my brain. Medical research shows that the sooner in the day that you get the blood flowing to your brain, the more effectively it keeps moving through the day.
- After that start, I have my 30-minute devotional time. For me, that’s a time of Bible reading and study which gets me thinking about God and reminds me of the context of being a part of something far bigger than just myself, which is a huge help to me. I want to encourage you to also spend some time in some meditative activity to get yourself in the right frame of mind spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically for what lies ahead in the day.
- Then I head into my office and start with looking at the three or four most critical tasks I chose at the end of the previous workday so I am prepared to begin working on my most important priorities of the day.
I do all of these things before I check the headlines or email. I won’t permit someone who doesn’t know anything about me to start influencing me mentally and emotionally before I even get out of bed.
I want to encourage you to also take control of the first part of your morning because we know that as soon as we start getting on the internet or opening up emails in the morning, anything can happen, and your great plans for the day may suddenly get changed. Guard your mental and emotional state in the early morning. You’re going to have plenty of time to dial into headlines and emails when your workday begins. But for the beginning of your day, protect yourself and your thoughts and remain focused on what you want and need to do at that time.
So, to do this most effectively,
- Set a routine. Write down the steps you want to take.
- Be flexible. Fine-tune and adjust these steps so they work well for you. They should stretch you a little bit out of your comfort zone, but you don’t want to get too casual with them so that you become complacent about what you’re doing.
- Take the steps you’ve identified. Actually do them! As you establish a new routine with new habits, it may be a little uncomfortable to start with. But stick to it! Keep building your routine, day by day, already knowing what you will do next. After a while, it will become more comfortable and even automatic.
This is a great process to begin building into your daily activities now so that you go into 2022 with some momentum, knowing that you’re going to take control of your day by beginning it with a systemized routine that you enjoy and setting yourself up for success.
I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.