Morning routine as a productivity tool

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Create your next career move in 5 steps
June 12, 2015
light-coffee-pen-working blog article

Time management concept is dead. What’s next? The power of Morning routine:

Feeling overwhelmed, things are piling up in to do list? How to stay focus and be able to prioritize during the day when you feel that you can’t manage your task? There are always more to do than the space available in your Agenda? The concept of 4 quadrants of Steven Covey (important/urgent scale) doesn’t work anymore? How to overcome nowadays constant distractions and piling up tasks, messages, and emails? What left within our control in the modern digital world?

The answer is – our mornings. By waking up 1 hour before our usual time, we can have this precious quality resource.

This is the time we can control and invest in self-development.  To plan, learn, reflect and to work on our most important goal.  Create a sequence of rituals or habits which contribute to your grow, before jumping to emails.  There are a lot of apps which help to stick to the routines and to track the new habits, like Good Habits, Way of life or Coach.me.

There are various approaches to the morning routines. I personally like the one from Hal Elrod, who propose the system called SAVERS.  This is the consequence of 6 actions, approximately 10 minutes each:

Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing

You are free to customize it-  change the order, skip or replace some of the actions or do some of them in the evening. And of cause there are other tasks to be done, like  breakfast, shower, dress and prepare yourself for the day before leaving to work. The main idea is to have a ritual to follow the first thing after waking up. The statistic shows that the willpower is the strongest in the mornings.  So this is the ideal time to  follow the plan which makes the whole day productive and efficient.

So, what is the content of those rituals?

Silence

aims to create space in your head. Paradoxically to be more efficient in your thinking, you need to stop thinking for a while. This is as well about living the present moment, enjoy being vs doing. Later on,  you’ll have the whole day of actions, so enjoy this privileged moment for meditation, being here and now – breathing, feeling, sensing…  Headspace is a good app to use for 10 minutes meditation if you need simple guidance to begin the practice.

Affirmations

this is a declaration of your focus or intention of the day. What you want to achieve or, even more powerful. whom you want to become.

Visualization

spend some time visualizing which end results you want to achieve and how you get there. Beware- a lot of people would do a mistake by visualizing the end results only.  Yet the latest researches shows that the brain take as much pleasure to imagine the result as you would already achieve it and then relaxes, so you need to visualize the process how to get there. For example, your goal is to write a book.  You visualize the action as well – how sit down every day in front of your computer, how you enjoy the process of writing, how inspiration comes.

Exercise

no need to explain the benefit of physical activity in the morning, even couple of movements help you to wake up the body and prepare yourself for the productive day.

Reading

this is the best moment of reading the book, non-fiction one (and not the news!!) , which helps you to be more knowledgeable in the area you want to progress and move towards your targets. Set up a goal -a time slot  or number pages you commit reading every day. Remember about a power of compound effect. The small efforts on a daily basis produce greater results than doing heroic things once in a while.

Scribing

stays for journaling. Although this can be done in the evening, morning journaling sets you for a day. Typical questions  to ask yourself: What I’m grateful for? Practicing gratitude is an extremely powerful tool to train yourself look at the bright side of the things.  Train yourself to notice new things you’re grateful for every day.

Then, ask yourself: what would make my day great? what is my main focus  for today? Then spend some tie analyzing the previous day: what I can be proud of? What could I do better? What I’ve learned about myself? What new ideas I’ve got? Or  you can use Morning pages (The Artists’ Way, by Julia Cameron) or free writing technics. The idea is to  write three pages about anything, simply transcribing your thoughts.

Another option is to follow the evening routine.  Planning the next day, prepare the clothes to put in the morning, reflecting and journaling -pick what works for you and stick to it.

What would you add to this list? What are your ritual and habits to follow?  What works/doesn’t work for you?

Resources :

Apps (links for IPhone):

habits tracking: Coach.me (acquired applications like Full and Lift, which I liked to use), Way of LifeGood-habits
Elena Ivanushkina
Elena Ivanushkina
Elena is professional PCC certified coach by ICF ICF (International Coach Federation), helping managers and executives develop their leadership capacities and enhance their professional competencies in challenging and changing environment of organizations.

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