How do you start your day? For many high achieving individuals, the morning is the key to a productive and fulfilling day.
Planning ahead, even the day before can reduce anxiety and stress for the next day’s meetings, deadlines and requirements. After you take away the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per day, you are left with a solid 16 hours to work, eat, shower, workout, relax, run errands, spend time with family and friends, and anything else you wanted to accomplish! It’s clear that planning makes a huge difference in the likelihood of you having an excellent productive and fulfilling day.
After from those less frequent, urgent tasks that require extended hours and to “drop everything,” a large majority of daily events can be planned out, and thus prepared for. Achieving larger goals in life often starts with achieving smaller steps along the way. Having a daily routine can be very helpful in doing this. Day by day, you will see improvement and with consistent results, you can transform your life.
Benefits of having a regular healthy schedule include:
• increased energy
• increased optimism
• better focus
• clarity of purpose
• increased confidence
• open to opportunities
• greater awareness
Here are seven steps adopted by successful people to set the tone in the morning so that they can get the most out of each day. These are suggestions that you can adopt in any order you like that helps you to be your best. You may find that following just one of these tips makes a big positive difference for you. Having greater confidence can lead you to pursue new opportunities and having deeper awareness can help you identify and create great relationships.
Morning rituals can be very helpful because the morning offers you some time for yourself before your busy work or school life begins. This is why many successful business owners and government leaders get up early to start with positive habits that help them every day.
Working out in the morning is by far, one of the most important things you can do every day. Numerous government leaders and CEOs of the most successful companies on the planet, can attest to this. Aim to have a cardiovascular or strength building workout session for at least 30 minutes in the morning. Ideally, you can do 45 minutes to an hour but your schedule may vary per day and prevent this. Working out helps you take care of your body, clear your mind, set priorities and be more productive throughout the day. Working out regularly can significantly boost your mood, give you good energy throughout the day and increase your confidence, drive and optimism. Alpine skier Mikhaela Shiffrin has shared that she does a two-hour workout every day with cardio and weights.
2) Spend Some Quiet Time
Whether you have ten minutes or a full hour, take some time to meditate or pray and visualize. This quiet time with yourself can help crystallize new ideas and help you figure out things you need to do that day. It can also help clear out your mind of any anxieties, fears and worries so that you are at ease. Giving thanks and appreciating what you have can have a tremendous positive effect on your attitude and thus your openness to new opportunities and relationships. When you come from a place of gratitude, you are appreciative, welcoming and optimistic. There is a saying that ‘It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” When you take the time to appreciate what you have working in your life, you may be amazed to discover that you have so much in your life that is already positive and affirming. By keeping a sense of appreciation for what you do have, you are able to better receive new opportunities.
You may find it helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal. You can also visualize how you would like like any interaction or meeting you have, to go by effectively ‘day scripting.’ What is your intention for the day? How do you want to be in your day? Perhaps your intention is to have positive interactions with other people. Perhaps it is to not criticize yourself. Set an intention that is personal to you and commit to doing it for at least seven days. You will start to see a difference in your mindset. Obstacles may disappear or become less intimidating.
3) Drink Water
When you wake up in the morning, you are a little dehydrated. Drinking water in the morning is essential for your health. Aim to get in a few glasses of water before noon and a full 64 ounces (eight standard size water bottles) in for the whole day. It helps to keep a water bottle with you to remind yourself to drink enough and to keep track.
4) Have a Good Breakfast
Breakfast really powers your day and is considered by nutritionists, doctors and fitness instructors to be the most important meal of your day. Far too often, people skip breakfast or rush out the door after just having coffee to make it to work on time. Aim to have a good breakfast and if you need to plan it out the day before, do that so you have breakfast available at home. For some, a nutritious green smoothie is the perfect quick, healthy breakfast and for others, a bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Choose a healthy breakfast with less sugar that will give you good energy to fuel your day.
Take some time to learn in the morning. It could be 30 minutes to an hour, depending upon the time you have. Focus on learning something new that is helpful to your own personal development.
You may have an endless to-do list, which can leave you frustrated and overwhelmed. The key to achievement is focus and that focus is achieved through prioritizing your tasks. Take a look at your to-do list and simplify it, placing the most important tasks at the top and narrowing it down to just three. Aim to finish those three goals in the morning before noon. If a task is more time-intensive but still a priority, make progress towards that goal and keep track of your progress. Start with your important, urgent tasks and keep going forward. Prioritize and keep your day top-heavy, doing the most important tasks at the start of the day.
In an interview with the Economic Club in Washington D.C., Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also shared that he pushes any top priority meetings that show up in the late afternoon for the next morning. Bezos aims to have all his more mentally stimulating and challenging meetings in the morning from 10 a.m to 12 p.m.
7) Have a Winning Attitude
As you build a great schedule for yourself that takes care of your body, mind and spirit, you will find you have increased energy, focus and confidence. You also consciously can develop a winning attitude - one where you follow through on your promises and where you see your end goal in mind and go out and achieve it. Having a winning attitude affects every part of your life positively. It requires determination and drive. You can renew this positive perspective through physical activities such as working out, gardening and activities that help you reconnect with your spirit, taking good care of yourself and engaging in affirming and positive communication with people that are important in your life. An attitude of persistence is essential to having a positive, winning mindset. You have to commit to completing things you agree to, where you know you will do what you said you were going to do. You also have to have a ‘thick skin’ where you do not let negative behaviors of other people, news you read or any other negative influence that you experience, prevent you from going forward. Regardless of what someone says to you, you have to keep going forward on what you had planned to do.
Here are some additional tips for your work day.
When you work on a task, aim to be focused on it till you complete it. If it is a large endeavor, break it up into smaller tasks and take breaks every two hours. While some jobs and emergency response projects require ongoing email access 24/7, most do not. You can schedule out and plan your email usage. It has become common habit for people to spend hours on their smartphones daily and to check their phones every few minutes. This behavior is not productive and prevents you from focusing on any meaningful endeavor fully.
You may find it helpful to check your email in the morning as you start your day and then again two more times, once in the afternoon and one later in the evening. You can set a time when you stop checking email like 9 or 10 p.m. before you go to bed. Aim to have some time to yourself so that the last thing that you think of in your mind as you drift off to sleep, is not worrying you and preventing you from sleeping well.
Get up and move from your desk every two hours at least. Try to walk whenever you can can to get in some movement and avoid head, neck and shoulder pain from sitting at a desk for hours on end. If you do snack during the day, choose healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and energy bars. Your afternoon cup of coffee may help you jumpstart a slow or sluggish afternoon, but aim to stop drinking any caffeine before 5 p.m., several hours before you sleep.
Whether you are running a business or you have several financial expenses of your own to tally up, aim to do it during the day well before dinner so that you can approach it with a clear mind. This will also help you sleep better at night. Keep a working list of your expenses, so that you can prioritize payments and keep making progress on larger goals.
Letting Go of the Day
Finally, it is time to let go of your day. You may find it helpful to literally tear up your written to-do list and throw it away, signaling the end of your work day. Far too often, CEOs and small business owners are plagued by guilt, feeling that they have not done enough, despite having accomplished many things during the day. This is because they have a lot to do to run their businesses and achieve goals they have in mind. As you let go of the day, it is important to take a moment to also review mentally what you achieved that day and appreciate that. Plan out some priorities for the next day so you can fully let go of your day when you leave your office or end your work day. Later when you go to bed, you also can take a moment to go over what you did not achieve that day or obstacles you faced and let them go. It is important to let go of negative experiences so you can be free to enjoy your next day with a clear mind and positive spirit. When you go through mentally any event from the day that did not go as you wished, try to visualize it occurring the way you wanted. This act also frees you up from any sense of guilt or fear and if you need to ask for forgiveness for your mistakes, do so in a prayer or meditation. Then you can truly let the day go and enjoy your night and sleep well.
For those night-time oriented individuals like the developers at Potato London who do not operate at their best during the morning, but do their best creative work later in the day or at night, you can still use these ideas in a schedule that works best for you.
Remember, to give yourself enough time to adopt new habits. 21 days or three weeks is a general rule of thumb when it comes to making behavior changes and truly adopting a new habit. Stay positive as you make progress. You will find that as you master the elements of your own life, that you are able to achieve bigger goals and take on more leadership responsibility in many other areas of your life. Personal self-mastery is key to high achievement and success. We hope you find these tips helpful in creating a more rewarding, fulfilling and successful life.