Set a Morning Routine for Success and Productivity

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Why is now the perfect time to set yourself up with a morning routine?

New years are always a great time to take a fresh start on your goals. From years of experience, I’ve learned that I’m much more likely to have the year turn out well when I make a written list of goals and wishes. (Wishes are things I’d love to happen but for which I may not have the time, energy, or resources to commit). 

Another simple way to get the year off to a brilliant start is to begin your day with a powerful morning routine. Design one that works for you wherever you are in life. For example, currently, I have two teenagers. I like to be with them while they munch on breakfast in the morning. So my day starts with unloading the dishwasher, doing the laundry, and making breakfast for the girls, not with meditation and yoga. Then, once they are off to school, I might jump in the sea for an icy plunge, take a hot shower or sauna to warm up, get dressed, meditate, and journal. When that is done, then I start work. 

I take my cue from one of my most productive clients. She has a three-hour morning routine. Her morning routine includes an hour each of exercise, meditation, and journaling before starting work at 9 am. She claims that those hours invested in self-care make her much more effective the rest of the day. I have to agree!

Another client who is incredibly effective uses his best morning hours at home to think and write for mentally challenging projects. He does this before cluttering his brain with life admin (i.e., checking emails or voicemails). Once he has done three hours of intense focused thinking and work, he gets some exercise, goes to the office for meetings, and handles the day-to-day work.

His secret for getting huge and significant projects accomplished every year is to make a written list of his top big goals. Then, each day he takes a few minutes to jot down the answers to three simple questions (Tip 35 in Coach Yourself to Success):

1. What’s important about today?
2. What must get done today?
3. What’s important about the future? 

This is an easy way to use Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrant Time Management technique without thinking that hard. You’ll naturally focus on your most important work. And because you think broadly about the day, you may discover that sometimes the most important thing is not to work, but a cherished person’s birthday or special occasion.

Answering these questions makes planning your day easier. Also, it helps you focus on what matters instead of getting caught up in unimportant stuff. If you have a lot of “must get done today” items, you likely haven’t been asking, “What is important about the future?” This question impels you to plan. What is coming up that you can prepare for today? Is it a report due next week or your grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary next month? Keep asking these three questions and you’ll soon catch up with the “musts.”

Take a few minutes early in the year to think about your ideal morning routine. What would make every day better for you? Then, once you’ve established a solid morning routine, you can think about an evening routine. By starting and ending every day well, you’ll be off to a great start this year! 

You can join the Coach Yourself to Success online course for more support throughout the year. 

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