Reboot Your Day with a New Morning Routine
How do you start your day for success?
Your morning routine can have a profound impact on your day. If you hit the ground running, rushing to face your worldly obligations, you’re more likely to feel tired and overwhelmed for most of your day. On the other hand, if you begin your day in a calm and centered fashion, you can energize yourself and truly make the day your own.
Kicking your morning off in the right way can have a huge impact on your day-to-day experience, not to mention your business and your effectiveness as a leader.
It’s incredibly powerful to discover what works best for you each morning. Although none of us has control over external circumstances, we can choose the mood we bring to a situation and how we respond to what happens. It’s up to each of us to set the tone for the day we wish to have.
Here are six strategies to start your day in a way that sets you up for more successful outcomes – and more enjoyment at the same time:
- Take some morning “me” time.
Many of the most successful small business owners I know are committed to getting “me time” first thing via a morning ritual. For example, one executive committed to a short cardio workout while listening to inspirational audio books early each morning. He reported that this combination not only energized him and cleared his mind for the workday but also inspired him to think big, put things in perspective and bring more creative ideas to challenges in the office. He does this before sitting down with his family for breakfast at least three days per week.
Another small business owner client meditates and focuses on positive affirmations for the day before doing anything else – eating, exercising, checking email or social media. She then diffuses a combination of essential oils based on what she’s needing that day. This sets her up with a more peaceful, centered mindset while also creating a calm atmosphere in her workspace that clients notice and appreciate.
Personally, I find it essential to have “me time” before diving into the day. Although I vary my morning routine depending on what I need, it always includes silent meditation, usually yoga, a workout or a run, and intentions for the day. Committing to this time first thing in the morning helps me be calmer, fully present, and make better decisions. I’m also better able to bring my best to those I care about: clients, family and friends.
Research suggests that you’re more likely to fit consistent physical activity into your day if you exercise in the morning. Many colleagues and clients choose to exercise first thing in the morning simply because they’ve found that — even with the best intentions — other things will get in the way as the day progresses.
In fact, studies have shown that the tasks you do during a busy workday can make you less motivated to do things like workout at the end of the day.
The good news is that you’ll benefit from even a short burst of exercise first thing in the morning. Studies show that taking a brisk 30-40 minute walk or 20-30 minute jog can leave you calmer. It can also boost your planning, problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
If your business requires an early start to meetings, don’t sit. Get a stand-up desk or do walking meetings with your employees or team.
One friend enjoys a short 2-mile commute to work on his bicycle each morning. This gets his blood pumping, gets him outside first thing in the day and also allows time to decompress on his way home each night. Because he rode to work, it keeps him committed to riding back home at the end of the day.
Even better news: you don’t need to be an athlete to benefit. Research shows that the benefits of exercise kick in pretty much as soon as you start doing it.
- Fuel Yourself.
You’ve probably been told not to skip breakfast since childhood. It turns out this is excellent advice on many levels: what you eat not only fuels your body, giving you the energy you need to get things done. But it actually affects your mental abilities and your overall productivity, too.
This is because our body converts most of what we eat into glucose or blood sugar. This fuels our brains, giving us the energy we need to stay awake and alert. When our blood sugar is low, it’s harder to concentrate, our attention drifts and we may even feel lethargic or mentally foggy.
To get the most benefit from your morning meal, eat foods that allow for a steady stream of blood glucose to enter your body. Although everyone is unique, this typically includes foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains and eggs. These foods provide a mix of protein, fibers and complex carbohydrates.
Having breakfast also kick starts your metabolism and helps you burn calories throughout the day.
How to set yourself up for success with breakfast? Plan it before you’re hungry and prepare it before the moment you need to walk out the door. If that seems like too much to ask of your morning time, try making it the night before. There are lots of healthy options that can be made in advance whether you like a fruit and veggie smoothie, boiled eggs or overnight oats.
- Do your hardest and most important tasks first.
To give yourself an immediate sense of accomplishment, try doing your most challenging and most important tasks first.
Is there a conversation you need to have that you’ve been dreading? A sales call you’re not looking forward to? Perhaps your most important work involves an hour or two of uninterrupted time that you’ll only get first thing in the morning.
Whatever that task may be for you, marking it off your to-do list can give you an immediate boost. The feeling of accomplishment often stays with you through the rest of the day. You may even look forward to the rest of your day more with that challenging task behind you. Taking care of it first thing prevents it from weighing on you, taking up mental space, possibly even stressing you out or keeping you up at night.
If your important tasks include checking your email or phone first thing, a reality for many business owners, scan your messages quickly without diving in. Look for important messages that truly require immediate attention. When and where possible, be proactive in setting your priorities for the day before other requests take over.
- Be Inspired.
What activities inspire you or leave you with a feeling of connection? Personally, I love to watch the sunrise when possible. Perhaps you enjoy listening to an inspiring audio book while you’re working out or the ritual of eating breakfast with your family and talking with your kids about school or after-school activities.
One client is inspired by walking her dog. She enjoys his sense of playfulness and complete presence in the moment. She says it’s a great reminder not to take herself or her life too seriously – and to bring focus in the moment to her day and her team.
Try doing one thing that inspires you at the start of your day and notice how the rest of your daily experience changes on those days when you do it.
- Start With a Full Calendar.
How to make this all happen? Start with a full calendar.
Personally, I used to love the idea of an empty calendar – even if it was just for the weekend. This was because a clear calendar offered me time and flexibility to think, to work, to workout, to do whatever the heck I felt like doing.
But for many of us, especially if you own a small business or manage a team, an empty calendar isn’t very realistic. That said, you can fill your calendar with those things that are most important to you and to your business – before others fill it for you.
One of my coaches, who’s also a colleague and a friend, is an early morning person. His morning hours are so valuable to him that he regularly blocks 3-4 hours first thing in the morning for months in advance. He uses this time for his own morning routine, including time for deep work that requires focus and uninterrupted time – tasks like writing and podcasting.
Try scheduling time on your morning calendar for things that will set you up for the most success and enjoyment throughout your day. If someone asks for a meeting during this time, let them know you’re not available and offer an alternate time.
What morning ritual or rituals help you set yourself up for more success in your day? If your current morning ritual is more along the lines of coffee in the car while you rush to work, consider one small change you could make to give yourself “me time” first thing in the day.
Follow these tips to get your day off to a bright start.
If you enjoyed this post and would like help setting yourself up for more success in all areas, contact me directly to see if you qualify for a complimentary strategy session.
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