In this article, you will learn how to start your day on the most productive path. There are essentially 3 common habits or elements that the most successful people practice.
3 Steps to Start Your Morning Routine on the Right Foot
Morning Routine of successful people consists of 3 common habits:
1. Quiet Time or time of reflection
2. Clarity on what goals or achievements to be achieved.
3. Physical Activity of some sort
Over the past decade or so, I have been curious about how the most successful people start their day or their morning and even their evening routine. After all, you must learn from the most successful people, right? I have over the course of time implemented or tried to follow some of their best practices and incorporated them into my daily habits.
I have noticed that there are some common themes or habits that they have when they start the day. And no I am not going to cover the crazy wake up times like 4.30am even though I have to confess that I have tried the 5am morning routine and since I am naturally a morning person, it wasn’t too difficult for me to do. However, I do not consider the early wake-up times to be critical for a successful morning routine. What I will be sharing is not the morning schedule but elements or components that makes up a successful routine. This is so that you are able to create your personalised routine that works for you.
The critical elements are:
1. Intentional and Allocated Time to reflect, plan and align the actions with the why.
2. Routine that is consistent and can even be considered boring but that eliminates unnecessary decision making.
3. Self-care that incorporates physical activity, reading and by the way, reading emails is the not the reading that I mean, and have a healthy diet.
Let’s break them down.
Time to reflect, plan and gain clarity on purpose and outcomes.
Start the day with clarity on what you want to accomplish for the day. To do so, you must spend some time to reflect on your day and ask yourself the following:
- what went well?
- what did not go well?
- what could you do differently?
- what could you stop doing?
After reflecting on what you did, you can then plan out what you want or need to do for the day. Ask yourself:
- What do you want to accomplish or achieve for the day?
- What specific goals do you want to achieve?
- What changes from yesterday do you want to make?
- What are your priorities for the day?
Then you will take the step to align the goals and action items with your purpose in order to ensure that you are always in alignment. It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the actions and achievements that could cause you to lose sight of your purpose and values. It is easy to get distracted and make the wrong turn. Think about when you are trying to get to a certain new destination. You set the destination into your Maps and click on start directions. You are able to follow the instructions until you are distracted and only realise the mistake when you hear the “rerouting” phrase. It is easy to get off track if we do not constantly pay attention and ensure that we are doing what we need to do that leads to the intended destination.
Routine that is consistent and that eliminates unnecessary decision making.
I am sure that you have heard about Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg’s clothing strategy which is basically the same colour and same outfit every day. Why? To eliminate decision making in the morning. Of course, when I first heard about it, I thought, that’s crazy, how difficult would choosing what to wear be? Well, it isn’t hard, but it can be time consuming. Confession time, there are days, when I am staring at my wardrobe and find myself saying, “I have nothing to wear.” So yes, I guess there is a problem and yes there is a decision to be made. If you are suffering from decision fatigue, then maybe eliminating small decision making could help you.
The idea of a consistent routine is so that you don’t have to think about things that should not require any effort. For example, brushing your teeth, taking a shower and eating breakfast, are habits that are built into your day, whether you realise it or not. You don’t actually spend too much time thinking about. In fact, you won’t spend any time thinking about it if you practice either one of this:
- Do the same thing every morning which includes eating the same breakfast, wearing the same type of clothes, exercise the same route and so on.
- Prepare the night before what you are to do the next morning so that you don’t have to think about it in the morning. For example, setting out what you want to wear, prepare your breakfast or set out the ingredients that you want to use, put out your exercise clothing and accessories that you would need.
Either of these practices will create routines that will help you to eliminate distractions and unnecessary decision making.
Start the day without drawing on your decision-making energy bank. Decision fatigue is something that we encounter whether you realise it or not. We are tired of having to make decisions especially if we are constantly making decisions even on the smallest and insignificant areas.
One of my previous managers told me once, “in life, there are only a handful of major decisions that we have to make that will have significant impact.” If you think about it, its very true, major decisions are made by answering questions like:
- What do I study in college?
- What career do I want to pursue?
- Who do I want to get married to?
- Life and death decisions
- Financial decisions.
Whatever routine that you establish, needs to be practiced consistently and that eliminates as many small and unnecessary decision making as possible. Decision fatigue is something we want to avoid especially at the start of the day. You will need your decision-making strength throughout the day in order to make the right decisions not just in the workplace but in the home as well. More importantly we know that as the day progresses, we get tired and tiredness is one of the main causes of lapse in judgement or poor decisions to be made.
There is always some form of self-care elements in successful people’s routines. Self-care routines can be:
- High Impact Physical activities such as walking, running, going to the gym, CrossFit and others. Any activities that get the heart pumping.
- Low impact physical activities. Yoga, Pilates, and stretching are great examples of low impact activities.
- No impact physical activities. Mindfulness, meditation and prayers are some of these examples.
Personally, I think that it’s a great way to start the day. I usually start the day with a morning walk for around 30 – 45 mins or when I have more time 2 hours of walk or hike depending on the day and how busy my schedule is. I love my walk times as it is my quiet time to spend meditating, listening to music, reflecting, and just appreciating the simple beauty that nature provides.
I am sure that you would also know that research has shown that exercising in the morning and getting sunlight in the morning are 2 of the best things you can do to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.
Start the day with self-care routine that you can do consistently and that you enjoy doing. For my example, check out lisalamcoach.com.
Let’s put it all together and see how your morning routine might look like.
- 6:00 am Wake up time
- 6:15 am Bathroom routine
- 6:30am Quiet Time or Reflection time
- Reflection: Ask 4 key questions. What went well, what did not go well, what will you do differently, what will you stop doing? Write them down.
- Planning: Set out what is the day’s goals or key activities. What do you want to accomplish with each meeting that you have scheduled or the people that you are meeting?
- Alignment: Align the goals and activities with your purpose to double check on the alignment and prioritisation. It is easy to get lost in the key action items and drift away from your purpose over time if you do not constantly do a check and balance.
- 7:00am Physical Activity of some sort. During this time, listen to music or podcast, look up and appreciate the gift that nature gives you.
- 7:30am Get Ready to go to work.
So let’s put all of this together, the ideal routine for you should consist of intentional time to reflect and plan, routine that you can consistently practice and which eliminates unnecessary decision making especially in the morning and self-care management and practices. If you are not happy with how your days have been, maybe it’s a great time to take a step back and see if any changes need to be made. Alternatively, if you are happy with your routines but want to change it up, then this is also a great opportunity to do so.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life. As always, please subscribe, follow and share this blog with your friends. Take care and step into the everyday with purpose.