Too often I hear people (including myself) say: “I don’t have time for that”. Yet, when observed, there is so much time wasted in their day-to-day life. Taking my past self as a prime example: I would spend time each day checking Facebook, watching shows, browsing the internet, and simply doing nothing of any productive value each day. Then at the end of the day I would look back and ask myself what I had accomplished. Often times the list would be completely empty. Now, I took some time to look back and ask myself how I managed to break that cycle and finally get some things done with my time.
In this post I’d like to focus on the importance of mornings, and how they effect your entire day. I’ll go through my morning routine, which will hopefully give you ideas on how to construct a routine for yourself that cultivates productivity.
The first hour of each day is worth 16
While most people have the tendency to wake up each morning and spend the next few hours of their day “waking up”, this is one of the worst possible things you can do to your productive self. This sets the day up for an loose and unproductive routine. Simply blaming it on “I’m not a morning person” doesn’t fix the fact that nothing is getting done in those crucial first hours of the day. If you’re unhappy with how much you’re getting done each day, the first hours are most likely a huge part of your problem. Setting up a routine for each morning, starting the minute you wake up, is something I highly recommend. Using my morning routine as an example, I’ll list out some ideas that hopefully inspire you to cultivate a morning routine that allows for a productive day:
Right when I wake up I brush my teeth, wash my face lightly with water, and begin jogging on the treadmill for the next 45 minutes. This wakes up my body and mind, and allows me to multitask in the form of reading and checking up on things that need to be checked on while I’m on the treadmill. I check on stocks I’ve invested in, check emails, read the news, listen to podcasts, attend to any business that occurred over the course of the night, and (here’s the big one) plan my day out and write my todo list for the day. Already from these first 45 minutes I’ve managed to exercise some, wake up to the fullest degree (both body and mind), and plan out exactly what I want to do with the day. This usually useless and completely unproductive time has now become the most important part of my day. It sets the whole mood for the day, and allows me to choose exactly how I want the day to go. All before the day has even fully began.
“Your first ritual that you do during the day is the highest leveraged ritual, by far, because it has the effect of setting your mind, and setting the context, for the rest of your day” – Eben Pagan
The next thing I do is shower (I just jogged after all 😛 ). Not only does this give me more time to reflect on the things I went over, learned about, or planned out for myself while on the treadmill, it allows me to feel fresh for the upcoming day. This is why I always recommend to anyone seeking to enhance their productivity: shower every morning! Nothing gives quite the boost to your productive day as stepping out of the shower feeling fully revitalized and refreshed.
Next up in my day is my morning meal and coffee. While many people say coffee can become a crutch and that it’s not always a positive thing (this can be true for some), I have been using it every morning to get myself into a state of mind that allows me to focus on the most important tasks I’ve written on my todo list. This, as well as eating a healthy breakfast, sets me up to focus and work on things I need to get done for the next 3 to 4 hours uninhibited. After only the first hour of the day, my day is already productive and set on a productive path.
I will continue to lay out ways to manage your time and cultivate healthy time management habits in future posts within this series. For now I hope from this post you can see that it’s amazing how much of an effect your mornings can have on how productive you are throughout each day. If nothing else, take time each morning to plan out what you want to accomplish during the day. Having the thoughts of what you need to get done inside your mind at the earliest possible time each day causes you to think about them more throughout the day. This in turn increases your potential to actually finish the tasks.
I hope you take this post as a motivator to begin cultivating a morning routine that allows you to be as productive as you want to be in the future 🙂