We’ve all heard the say that the way you start your morning sets the tone for the day. Which is true if you really think of it. If you have a calm morning when you don’t feel rushed you feel differently than if you rush around. When you’re stressed the entire day seems to work against you, while if you’re calm things go smoother.
It’s time for habit no. 4 in the series of The 6 Foundational Habits for Productivity. If you missed habit 1 through 3 go HERE.
Step Number One For a Calmer Morning
If you want a calmer morning I have a very simple solution for you. NO checking email, NO checking social media, NO checking anything on the phone (or the computer) at all for the first hour.
According to a 2013 study done by IDC Research 80% of people check their cell phone first thing in the morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is even higher now.
When you check your phone first thing in the morning, you end up not only wasting precious time you could use for other things, but you also end up on other people’s agenda. You may think it’s not affecting you but now you’re down the rabbit hole of busy but not productive. Your mind is focused on whatever input you just exposed it to. That also includes other media such as the news. Starting your day with the news isn’t exactly uplifting!
Studies show people check their phone about every 6 minutes during waking hours. If that’s you, then your brain has become addicted to your phone, just like someone is addicted to drugs. Your brain is craving its dopamine hits and if it doesn’t get its dopamine (aka. checking the phone) you may feel stressed. Re-train your brain by becoming “addicted” to a calm and balancing morning instead.
Mediation and Gratitude
Meditation is a great habit to incorporate into your morning routine and throughout the day too. Meditation alone can boost your focus, productivity, memory and energy. It also helps with stress relief and can have a very calming effect. Meditation is a practice so if you’re new to meditation remember it’s about progress, not perfection. There are two great apps I recommend called Calm and Headspace that have guided meditations that can help you get started.
Gratitude is the foundation for happiness and starting your morning feeling grateful definitely sets a positive tone for the day. Gratitude helps you to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Positive people handle stressful situations and detours in life better so when that person cuts you off in traffic it’s not a big deal. Remember – whatever you focus on expands!
Successful People Protect Their Morning
When I started this journey I wanted to know how highly successful people spend their time. They seemed to get so much done and I wanted to know their secrets. What I learned is that they protect their mornings and focus on doing things that nurture them. Besides getting up early, often around 5 a.m., some practiced meditation, some would exercise and others had a routine of journaling and reading. Then they would dive into work.
I remembered a time when I used to get up early to read first thing in the morning and how peaceful that was, so I decided to create my own morning routine to see what would happen. I tested different things but finally set on a routine of meditation, gratitude and journaling, positive affirmations and then reading. I sometimes do visualization after meditating. I instantly noticed a difference in how calm and more prepared I was for the day. I was hooked.
Years later I read a book called the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod that explained why I felt such a big difference. Implementing the habits from the book into your morning is life-changing. Hal set out to test to see what would happen if you did ALL of the habits that highly successful people do in the mornings instead of just a few of them. With that he created the S.A.V.E.R.S. system. I highly recommend the book. Try it out!
It can be challenging in the beginning to switch over to a good morning routine so start with one thing, then add another until you’ve created your ideal morning that sets the foundation for the kind of day you want to have. You can either live your life in a proactive mode or a reactive mode. Successful people create their day into what they want it to be instead of letting the day rule them. You can too!
*The link goes to Amazon and should you purchase the book through that link I may receive a small commission. I appreciate your support. As always I ONLY recommend books and products I’ve read and use.