We all have such busy lives, it seems like the list of to do’s keep getting longer and longer. By noon maybe you’ve crossed one or two things off your to do list or accomplished something important towards your long term goals.
Or perhaps you’ll wait until tomorrow (again) to get started because you have the perfect plan that you want to start from the very beginning of your day, in the morning.
The reality is that the only time to start creating more time in your day, is in the present. You need to have a sustainable plan that is easy, yet effective.
And the way to consistently create days that are fulfilling and bring you joy, lies in your morning. Your morning sets the tone for the day.
An effective morning routine can give you more time in the following ways:
- You wake up earlier. Giving yourself time to practice self care AND get one of your to do’s checked off your list, before your normal day begins. You can slowly begin getting up earlier, a half hour each couple of days until you reach the time you would like to consistently get up each morning.
- You do the same thing every morning when you wake up, so that it becomes automatic-a habit. A habit is something you repeat regularly-and over time automatically. Establishing good habits, helps you improve incrementally every day and over time these small habits, create an amazing difference in your life. Doing the same thing each day, you become better at it, and you become more efficient when doing it, because you’re not spending time worrying about what needs to be done or how to do it.
- Make part of your morning routine, planning out what your day will look like and when you’ll get things done. I use my calendar to schedule out when I’m going to do things like exercise, check/respond to emails (1/2 hour only twice a day), write, grade papers, etc..I keep in mind The Pareto Principle-which states that 80% of the things we accomplish in a day, only come from 20% of our time. So, I make sure that I have focused time on things that are most aligned with my goals and try to use that time as efficiently as possible. If you’d like a complimentary copy of my time management/calendar system, click here.
Over the years as I’ve heard stories, read books and observed people who are living lives they truly love-overcoming what seemed like insurmountable odds to reach their goals, I noticed several things.
- They get up early, like really early.
- They journal first thing in the morning, before checking email or any social media. Journaling first thing in the morning helps you clear your mind and prepare for the day. Also, usually when we first awake we are still in a dream like state that’s highly impressionable. You want to set the tone and focus on what is important to you-through thinking and writing about these things. You don’t want the input of others through email or social media to influence your mindset for the day. With a clear mind-set your intention for the day. I find that after clearing my mind, and setting my intention for the day, that then writing what I’m grateful for-really sets the tone for a lovely day.
- They meditate-with a clear and grateful mind. Meditation helps change the neural (thought) patterns in our brains which is the place where our limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits continue to thrive.
- They practice affirmations to change their thought patterns and limiting beliefs. I find doing this right after meditating is great because I’m still in a relaxed and receptive state. Some of my favorite affirmations are:
- I’m at peace with who I am
- I deserve to be happy and loved
- I am doing my best and it is enough
5. They read to learn new things, for inspiration, or to simply relax. I really enjoy reading books or blogs that inspire or teach me new things. I have a few favorites that I go back to again and again depending on how I feel that day. I find that in reading for at least 10 minutes every morning, I feel like I have greater insight and bigger ideas throughout the day. It’s like Stephen Covey says, you’re priming the pump.
6. Finally, they exercise. This may be a just a few minutes to get the body up and moving and the blood flowing or it may be a trip to the gym. When we start out the day doing something good for our bodies-we make better decisions about what we eat and drink throughout the day. Plus it feels good to stretch and move and connect with our bodies. We receive such important information about our health, relationships, and overall well being from our body. In connecting with it regularly through exercise-we can pay attention to what it’s telling us.
I am able to get through steps 1-5 in an hour. I set a 10 minute timer for each and if I need more time on one than the other-I adjust accordingly. This gives me an hour before my family is up and about to get at least one thing on my to do list-done for the day AND checked off. Nothing feels better than crossing off one thing from your to do list-while it’s still dark out. What a wonderful way to start the day!
If you already have a morning routine that works for you, leave me a comment and let me know what works. If you found any of these suggestions helpful, please give them a try. They really will change your life, one day at a time. If you’d like to get a complimentary copy of my calendar, click here.
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. “
Have a lovely week!!!