Start Your Day on Purpose And You Will Have Your Best. Day. Ever.
by Thomas Oppong
The ability to wake up exactly when we want is the first step towards a meaningful day. If you’re beginning each day on purpose, the first variable under your control is when you wake up. Once you master that, your first 60 or 90 minutes can be used productivity.
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Use them to achieve your goals and accomplish some pretty amazing things. If you win most of your days, the years will take care of themselves.
Hal Elrod, author of “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life” explains:
“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life — in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.”
Rather than depending on your mood and your circumstances for a great start to your day, choose to be proactive and make mood and circumstances respond to your work.
Jim Rohn said “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
A default routine for so many people is to immediately pick up their phone, check the news, email and social media and go about their day. There’s no way you can think clearly, focus and do your best work in the morning if you are constantly reacting to others’ expectations or getting distracted by the news.
Jocelyn K. Glei, founding editor of 99U, and author of “Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done” says, “Kicking off the day without a plan opens you up to the dangers of ‘reactive work,’ letting other people’s demands dictate what you do with your day.”
Our minds and body are fresh in the mornings, take advantage of your “clean slate.” Resist the urge to replay yesterday’s soundtrack, get sucked into worrying about tomorrow, or get distracted by the news.
According to social psychologist Dr. Ron Friedman, if you spend the first 10 minutes of each day checking and answering email, you’re priming your mind for a reactive state.
Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” says “If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is check your phone to read your email or scan through your social media before you event get out of bed, you might be an addict”.
If you have clarity of purpose every morning, your focus will change.
You will spend the first few hours of your day doing activities that bring value and meaning to your life.
Focus on high-value activities in the morning
Many successful people spend the first hours of each day alone, to reflect, think, meditate, create or read. Find something that motivates you and look forward to it every morning.
Time management starts right from the minute you wake up from bed. You are most active and productive in the morning, hence the need to do everything in your power to make the first few hours count.
Dan Ariely, behavioral economist at Duke University, says:
“It turns out that most people are productive in the first two hours of the morning. Not immediately after waking, but if you get up at 7 you’ll be most productive from around from 8–10:30. One of the saddest mistakes in time management is the propensity of people to spend the two most productive hours of their day on things that don’t require high cognitive capacity (like social media).”
Start your morning on purpose, at a specific time. If your mornings are rushed, the simple solution is to get up a bit earlier. This means going to bed a bit earlier too.
It pays to commit to a few value activities every morning and over time you will create your own optimal morning ritual. Don’t try to fit too much into the mornings though. You don’t want to procrastinate.
Commit to one or two if that will work best for you. For me, it’s exercising, reading (posts saved to Pocket) and writing. Don’t just have things you think you should do but don’t really want to do.
You should have a sequence that starts your morning ritual. But the drawback to having a routine is that it can get boring.
Occasionally you need to mix it up when things get stagnant. Take a chance on something new if you have to. Do something that’s out of your comfort zone. Surprise yourself.
Ian Fleming, who is best known for his James Bond series of spy novels maintained a rigorous morning routine to stay prolific. He once said:
“Writing about 2,000 words in three hours every morning, ‘Casino Royale’ dutifully produced itself. I wrote nothing and made no corrections until the book was finished. If I had looked back at what I had written the day before I might have despaired.”
There are thousands of reasons to get up each morning and start your day right. You’ve got to find your reason. Once you find it, do everything in your power to make it happen.
A purposeful morning isn’t something that just falls into your lap — it’s created consciously. You don’t have to implement all these ideas at once, but try one or two out and see if your mornings improve. I think you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.
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