5 Powerful Ways To Kickstart Your Day

Your early morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. What does yours look like?

Do you drag your­self out of bed, stum­ble to the bath­room, get dressed in a fog then search for your phone and keys before leav­ing for work? Or are you up ear­ly, ensur­ing that you’re well pre­pared to kick­start your day? I’ve cer­tain­ly done both over the years (and every­thing in between) & learned valu­able lessons in the process.

Here’s what I found real­ly works when you need to kick­start your day:

1. Remove/limit internet access (the night before)

This is one habit that I’ve found tough to estab­lish and the one that deter­mines suc­cess or fail­ure for me regard­ing my morn­ing rou­tine.

As human beings, we thrive on news, gos­sip & are dri­ven to stay con­nect­ed.

Inter­net enabled devices are per­fect for this. Hav­ing these devices near­by (or worse under our pil­low!) when we wake up increas­es the temp­ta­tion for dis­trac­tion & the risk of a major shift of focus first thing in the morn­ing. While check­ing the news, Face­book, Twit­ter or email from the com­fort of bed seems like a low effort way to ease into the day, it can do major dam­age to our ear­ly morn­ing plans.

Pri­mar­i­ly, it moves us from a proac­tive (ini­ti­at­ing & get­ting things done) mode to a reac­tive (respond­ing to exter­nal events) mode & can end up derail­ing any plans we had to accom­plish any­thing beyond the min­i­mum required to show up at work (hope­ful­ly, on time).

Switch off your device(s) & leave it in anoth­er room before you set­tle down at night. You’ll do won­ders for your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, your health, the qual­i­ty of your sleep and I dare­say your rela­tion­ship with your part­ner.

Note: If it is essen­tial to have your mobile/cell phone in your bed­room & switched on then I sug­gest that you unplug your router before your go to sleep & put your phone/device out of reach. Doing this will make it much eas­i­er to…

2. Get up 30 minutes (or more) earlier

It’s no secret that many of the most suc­cess­ful peo­ple get an ear­ly start to their day. They use that time to com­plete tasks which fur­ther their per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al goals whether that’s writ­ing, work­ing out or hav­ing a qui­et moment with a fam­i­ly mem­ber. It is an ide­al time to get some of your best work done with lim­it­ed fear of inter­rup­tion & it also allows you to take care of your ear­ly morn­ing tasks with time to spare. With extra time in the morn­ing you’ll get more accom­plished, inter­ac­tions with loved ones will be more thought­ful and of a high­er qual­i­ty & chances are you’ll arrive to work feel­ing more ener­gized & focused. Start­ing your day on the front foot will set you up nice­ly for a much more pro­duc­tive day.

Tip: to increase your chances for suc­cess, begin by get­ting up just 5 min­utes ear­li­er each day for the first week.

3. Reflect

Take some time to reflect & con­sid­er your goals for the day. Ask your­self some pow­er­ful ques­tions -

  • What is the most impor­tant thing that I want to accom­plish today?
  • Who do I want to be today?
  • What are my top pri­or­i­ties?
  • What standard(s) do I com­mit to liv­ing by today?
  • What am I most grate­ful for?
  • How can I  bright­en some­one else’s day or show appre­ci­a­tion to them in some way?

Many peo­ple take time to med­i­tate or write in a jour­nal first thing in the morn­ing. These are great ways to stay con­nect­ed to our­selves, to give thanks, to reflect on our pri­or­i­ties & to retain and devel­op our abil­i­ty to focus & sin­gle-task.

Spend­ing even a few min­utes in this way can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to the qual­i­ty of your day.

4. Tackle your most important task(s) first thing

Take a look at your to-do list. What are the most impor­tant tasks on there? Which tasks, once com­plet­ed will add the most val­ue to your life or your busi­ness? Often these will be the ones that we’re most avoid­ing. These tasks left undone become huge ener­gy drain­ers. Where pos­si­ble, these are the tasks to tack­le first thing every morn­ing. Com­plet­ing or tak­ing even small actions on these tasks can leave us feel­ing more ener­gized & able to more eas­i­ly get down to busi­ness.

Devel­op the habit of focus­ing on your agen­da first thing every day because as the day goes on, chances are your goals will take a back­seat to the goals of oth­ers. And very impor­tant­ly, we now know that what we call willpow­er is lim­it­ed & dimin­ish­es through­out the day as we use up our dai­ly store. So, if you have some­thing impor­tant to get done, your great­est chance of suc­cess is like­ly ear­li­er in the day when willpow­er is at its high­est.

For bonus points: iden­ti­fy this task the day before & gath­er the nec­es­sary mate­ri­als. Get the think­ing done in advance so you can tack­le the doing imme­di­ate­ly. In my expe­ri­ence, if I have to do the think­ing as well when I sit down to do the task, then my brain will search for some­thing eas­i­er to do & the like­li­hood for dis­trac­tion increas­es.

5. Move more

Many of us spend our day sit­ting whether at a desk work­ing, meet­ing with clients or zoned out in front of the TV. (A recent sur­vey esti­mat­ed that many peo­ple spend a total of 19 hours a day between sit­ting & lying down!) In the short term this leads to lethar­gy & low-ener­gy and in the long-term can lead to major health prob­lems.

Look for oppor­tu­ni­ties to move through­out the day. Many peo­ple take the ear­ly morn­ing to exer­cise. How­ev­er, if that’s not your pre­ferred time (or if you don’t exer­cise reg­u­lar­ly), then there are lots of oppor­tu­ni­ties to move just going through your morn­ing rou­tine. Put on some music (& wear head­phones if nec­es­sary). I often chal­lenge myself to see how many rou­tine tasks (i.e. brew cof­fee, unload dish­wash­er, throw some laun­dry in) I can get done before 1 song has fin­ished (5 min­utes or so). Yes, sil­ly & arti­fi­cial I know, but when I need to, it can be a great way to accom­plish a lot in a lit­tle time. And, I nev­er cease to be amazed at how many small, rou­tine but essen­tial tasks can be accom­plished dur­ing those peri­ods.

Tip: lis­ten­ing to music that you know also helps since you’ll know how long is left in each song which can help you move a lit­tle faster 🙂

We’re now learn­ing that even going to the gym 3–4 times per week does not com­pen­sate for our seden­tary lifestyles. Our bod­ies were designed to move. Don’t make it so com­pli­cat­ed. For most of us, there are plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to add in more move­ment nat­u­ral­ly into our dai­ly rou­tine. We’ve all heard or read the advice a thou­sand times — get off the bus a stop or two ear­li­er, walk up the esca­la­tor, use the stairs instead of the lift etc. For those that work from home (and even those who don’t), just pick­ing up the pace while you com­plete life’s dai­ly tasks can have a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive impact.

Buy an inex­pen­sive pedome­ter to track your steps dai­ly. It is a great way to both gauge how much you’re walk­ing and to moti­vate you to squeeze out a few more steps.

OK, there you have it. 5 sim­ple but pow­er­ful ways to get­ting your day start­ed. Con­sis­tent­ly includ­ing some or all of the above items in your morn­ing rou­tine will have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the qual­i­ty of your morn­ing as well as pro­vid­ing a boost to your per­son­al pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

I’d love to hear what strate­gies you use to kick­start your day.

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