Want to be Successful? Try This Before Breakfast
Do you ever feel groggy in the morning or like you don’t feel like contributing anything to make a productive workday? You’re clearly not alone – in fact, I’m feeling that very way right now! Alas, there is something that we can do that might help motivate people like us to be more successful throughout the day and in turn spread that feeling to others.
In honor of the 43 working days left till Sage Summit, we’ve decided to share ideas with the community, from the community, using hashtag #blyDEA via Twitter. Many people can attest to how physically exercising in the morning often improves the way you feel and can also improve your daily performance and outlook. Though what of mental exercise? After all, our brains need to be worked-out as well and I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as a cranial treadmill. Nevertheless, there are things we can do to get ourselves in the right mindset. It will take a lot of willpower, but once you are set in the right routine, both your personal and professional life will improve and you’ll love yourself for it!
Tips on Optimizing Your Mornings
1. Monitor Your Time Closely
The biggest part of learning how to spend your time is learning how you spend it right now. Losing weight is a similar feat. Nutriotionists often advise clients to keep a food journal in order to have a tangible record of eating habits. This alleviates mindless eating. In the same vein, how you’re spending your time should be written down frequently. This spreadsheet from Laura Vanderkam is an excellent way to begin tracking your time, or if you’re old school, a paper and pen works too!
2. Imagine the Picture-Perfect Morning
Just like ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne states, it is essential to have clear positive thoughts throughout the day. After you know how you’re spending your time, ask yourself what a great morning should look like. It’s different for everyone, but mine would involve running on a cool Autumn morning followed by a smoothie and book in the park. Here are some other ideas for morning enrichment before you begin your workday:
- Strategize, think, and strategize some more: Spend every morning creating goals for the outcomes you’d like to see at work. People often complain of having no time to think, but what about the 1-2 hours that many of us have available before work? Instead of thinking about how you can’t wait until the day is over, instead think about what you can do to make the day better and perhaps even go by faster.
- Read material from some enlightening source: This is a great way to benefit from other people’s research and strategic thinking, and gain new insights into your field. Personally, I do this every morning. It allows me to come to work every day with a fresh set of ideas and information that I am in turn able to share with my peers. The sharing of knowledge is contagious and often entices people to want to learn more as well.
- Make a checklist: The sense of completion is often gratifying. If you begin the day making a checklist for work, and by the end of the day, all boxes are checked off, seeing that can often provide a sense of achievement. If you get in the habit of doing this, it will eventually become routine and so will your daily achievements!
3. Create the Habit and Make it Last
This is the most important step. Turning a desire into a ritual requires the utmost willpower. Consider these fives steps to optimize your routine:
- Don’t rush into things: Go to bed and wake up fifteen minutes earlier for a few days until your new schedule seems feasible.
- Don’t Overexert and use all your energy: Building a new habit takes effort, so take care of yourself while you’re trying. Eat right, eat enough, and surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you succeed.
- Do not overwhelm yourself with self-improvement: If you want to sing, meditate, and write a book, choose one of these and make it a habit before adding another.
- Keep visual record of your progress: Charts are a great way to record success. Since habits take weeks to establish, you should keep track of how you’re doing for at least thirty days. Once skipping a session feels like you forgot something–like forgetting to brush your teeth–you can take your ritual up a notch.
- Bribe yourself, it won’t hurt: Habits will, in their own time, produce their own motivations, but until then there ain’t nothing wrong with promising yourself a treat for that extra push. And keep in mind that your morning rituals shouldn’t be of the self-flagellation variety. Choose things you actually LIKE doing: your before-breakfast ritual has the potential to become your favorite part of the day.
Although establishing a new routine is no easy task, it is something that is attainable for each and every one of us. Habits are of course hard to break…which only emphasizes the importance of developing new and healthy habits. If you find yourself in a workday lull, it could be because something is missing from your morning routine.