Hello! Rob Brown of Encore Partners here again. It’s time for day five of the 21-day Time Mastery Challenge.
I hope you enjoy what you’ve been doing so far…the way that you’re re-looking at the way you handle your productivity on a day-to-day basis. The way you look at your time on a day-to-day basis. You’re thinking, “I can get more stuff done if I really take this seriously. I can get more important stuff done if I implement some of these critical, simple, but critical, ideas.”
So far, we’ve created a bunch of space. We’ve unsubscribed from other people’s priorities, we’ve built a simple email management system, and we’ve started a social media, smartphone, and distraction diet.
Yesterday, you built time in your day to return emails and calls. So, you’re starting to take control of some of that extra time that we’ve created.
I hope you’re feeling like you already have hours back in your days, and if you don’t, you will soon.
Today, I want to talk some more about your daily building blocks. In particular, I want to focus on your morning routine. This is the morning routine that you do BEFORE you head out to work, before you sit down at your desk, not the things you do once you get to your office.
What you do before you head to work is vitally important to the success of your day.
In fact, let me read you a quote. This comes from Benjamin Hardy who has written a couple of books and writes very frequently on the topic of morning routines. It’s kind of long, so bear with me.
“People are living their lives reactively. Wake up and immediately check their smartphone. They feel rushed and busy immediately upon waking up. Their whole day and life reflects how they wake up. Consequently, their health and relationships suffer. Moreover, their overall happiness and well-being are lacking, as they are not living according to their highest values and goals. The purpose of the morning routine is to get you out of survival mode. You do that by giving yourself space in the morning to orient yourself with the person you intend to be. You also orient yourself toward your highest goals and priorities.”
Wow, that’s a mouthful. But there’s a lot there and I encourage you to re-listen to this portion of the video or read the transcription of that quote because there’s a lot of really important stuff in there.
Most importantly, if we don’t start our day planning to be the best person that we can possibly be, the person that we intend to be, the day tends to take hold of us and we don’t get things done the way that we should because our attitude isn’t reflecting what we really want to be.
So, it all starts with the morning routine. Morning routines do not have to be complicated but they do mean that you have to think about what it is you’re doing in the morning and how you may need to change it…to get your day off to a better start.
So, let’s look at how to do that.
First of all, for those of you who are getting up at the last possible minute…you know who you are. You’re hopping in the shower, throwing some food in your face, and then jumping in the car to go to the office. After that alarm clock has gone off, you want to have as little time at home before you head to the office.
You may need to give yourself an extra 30 minutes every morning.
You may need to wake up 30 minutes earlier to really build a solid morning routine. And I would encourage you, as you think about the things that I’ll go through during this presentation, pick the ones that you think will have the biggest impact on you in those extra 30 minutes and give them a try.
Practice them for a while. Turn these routines into habits.
I promise you, you’ll feel better about your day. You’ll be working on your priorities which means you’ll be more productive and you’ll get more done. And that’s a big part of what we’re trying to do during this challenge.
Another important thing to do is think about sleep. I would encourage you to go to bed at least seven hours before you plan to wake up.
Go to bed at least seven hours before you plan to wake up.
You know, there are studies that say 7 hours is enough, some say 6, and some say 8. Seven is a good compromise. If you’re getting seven good hours of sleep, there’s a better chance that you’ll feel more alert and alive in the morning and you’ll really be able to get into your morning routine and get on with your day.
Those of you who survive on a lot less sleep, this may not apply to you. Although, you may want to think about it. You know, is burning the midnight oil, only getting four hours, five hours of sleep a night…is that really helping you get more done?
Or is it really making you more tired?
I’d encourage you to think about that, going to bed at least seven hours before you plan to wake up.
Next, don’t start your day with technology.
Don’t start your day with technology. (Or, for that matter, don’t end your day with technology.) We talked about this in the “diet” portion of this program…technology can be a distraction. When we immediately jump into our technology, we’re immediately allowing the emails, the news we’re reading, the things that we’re watching on TV to take hold of our day.
We can’t think about those things that are really important to us.
So, for at least, that first 30 to 60 minutes of being awake, stay away from technology. And I really encourage you to stay away from technology at the end of the day, too, before you go to bed. We’ll talk about this more later in the program.
But, for now, let’s just focus on those morning routines. Let’s focus on thinking about getting up an extra 30 minutes early, getting at least 7 hours of sleep, not starting your day with technology.
So, you may be thinking, “Okay, now I’m up, I have that extra 30 minutes.” Or, “I already had a bunch of time in the morning because I usually leave a big amount of time before I head for the office.”
“What do I do with that time?”
“How do I make it more productive?”
“How do I distract myself from that technology?”
Well, the first place that I would start is with some form of prayer, meditation, or an expression of gratitude. You know, just taking 2, 5, or 10 minutes to close your eyes and thank God for all of the good things going on in your life. Meditating around those things that are important to you…that bring you back to the person you want to be…to just being thankful. That is a great way to use the first few minutes that you’re awake in the morning and you’re really ready to get going.
Prayer, meditation, gratitude.
Another big thing that I would encourage you to do is I would encourage you to journal.
Journaling, having a separate notebook where you handwrite what you’re thinking about when you wake up in the morning. Maybe it relates back to those things that you’re grateful for, the things you were praying and meditating about. Or you can focus on your biggest goals and challenges, those things that you don’t get to pay attention to sometimes during the day because you feel too busy.
Just spending 20 minutes journaling every morning can be a great way to start your day and get you working in a way that you’re acting in the way that you intend to be. You’re the best person that you can be…think about yourself in the perspective of being the best person that you can be.
So, Journaling can be another big part of your morning routine.
In fact, one of the other days of this challenge, I’m going to share some specific ideas on how I would encourage you to journal…combining it with prayer and meditation and gratitude. For now, just think about recreating your morning routine and building in that prayer, that meditation, that gratitude and some journaling to help bring it further into focus.
Another alternative, if perhaps you don’t feel comfortable sitting down with a journal, I would encourage you to read something meaningful or listen to uplifting content. Pick a book, it could be the Bible, it could be a business book or a motivational book that you’ve been meaning to read or study for years but you just don’t take the time to do it.
Read something meaningful for 20 or 30 minutes each morning.
I have a friend who talks about reading something that was written prior to the printing press, some of those big classic books that talk a lot about life and meaning. That can be a good place to start.
If you are a little bit more auditory, this may violate slightly the technology ban, but you could listen to something, some uplifting content. There are a lot of great podcasts out there that focus on things that are important to you and the way that you want to live your life or run your business. Look for those. Not the podcasts that get into politics and things like that, so this can be a little bit dangerous. Read something meaningful or listen to some uplifting content, it can be an important part of a solid morning routine.
Next, I want you to sit down to breakfast.
I don’t care if it is a 10 or a 15-minute breakfast where you and your spouse just drink a cup of coffee, eat a light breakfast, and just have some pleasant conversation. You can’t forget your family. If you have kids, maybe it’s setting aside another 10 minutes or so just to play with your kids, to have fun with them or have breakfast with them. Don’t forget your family, don’t go off in a rush and start the day without spending time with the people and probably the things you are most grateful for.
Don’t forget your family.
Morning routines are a big topic. I am surprised at all of the articles that I hear people talking about. I have to admit, I love toying with some of those ideas. For example, right now, I try to take a cold shower every morning. It’s sort of based on the fact that a lot of people talk about Tony Robbins and how he takes a swim in a 50-something degree pool every morning.
It releases the endorphins
It really wakes you up and gets your blood flowing in a way that you feel extra energized. Maybe you can try that.
In my diet right now, I’m trying to have 30 grams of protein every morning as part of my morning meal.
I’m not a big exercise person in the morning, I can’t exercise in the morning. But some of you may be exercise people so you’re exercising for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or even an hour every morning. You know, maybe you can even combine your exercise with listening to some of that inspirational material…not on that treadmill watching the talking heads on TV and allowing them to distract you. Listen to some good inspirational music. You could combine some activities if exercise is something that you already have built in to your morning routine.
And something else, this is one of my favorites, don’t put your alarm clock within an arm’s reach of your bed. Make sure that your alarm clock is far enough away from your bed that you have to get up out of bed to turn it off. For those of you who like to crawl out of bed at the last minute, this may be the key to getting up that extra 30 minutes so you have more time to build out your morning routine.
So, those are a lot of ideas or a lot of ways to shape your morning. But for right now, as your thinking about your morning routine and how to apply these ideas based on things you may be doing well with your morning routine already or may not be doing at all because you’re a sleepy head, think about it this way…
In building your morning routine the first thing you want to do is make sure you’re building good sleep in to your routine. Are you getting at least seven hours of sleep?
Second, no matter what, avoid technology, avoid technology. Don’t let technology enter your thought process until 30 or 60 minutes after you’ve woken up. Don’t let technology distract you and take over.
Build prayer, meditation, gratitude into a way that you begin thinking each day.
Journal or read.
Spend time with your family.
And think about how your morning routine can impact positively your diet and your exercise.
So, that’s your assignment. I want you to build a new morning routine. Maybe tweak what you’re doing, maybe create one from scratch. But these are the elements that you should include in it and we’ll talk more about this as the program moves along. But for now, this is a great way to get started.
A morning routine is essential, essential to really getting that time back in your day and using it in a way that massively improves your personal productivity.
Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.