While listening to one of my mentor’s podcasts today, I heard the statement to be successful we need fewer cheerleaders in our lives and more coaches. A cheerleader (say your mom for example) is going to cheer you on no matter what the quality of your output is. A coach (or mentor) on the other hand, is going to give you the tough love feedback needed to get to the next level. Today’s time management discussion likely falls into the tough love category for the 50% or so of the population who do not consider themselves a morning person, because it deals with actively creating and managing morning routines. Let’s get started.
Having a set routine in the morning is a critical factor in setting up your day for success. Rolling out of bed late after hitting the snooze a couple of times, grabbing whatever happens to be around for breakfast (or skipping it altogether) and rushing out the door to work is not a plan for success. You need to create margin in your mornings to consciously establish the mindset that takes you in the direction you want to go in. Almost all of my inspirational ideas come in the morning while I am working out, taking a shower or eating breakfast. All of this happens before I walk out the door for work. Knowing this, I build time into my mornings so I can reflect and jot down key ideas that come to me while my brain is rested. Then, I can go back to my notes later and build on them.
Yes, we are all at different seasons of life with varying responsibilities each morning which may include getting others up and out of the house as well. That’s where getting up a little earlier might just create the space you need for your morning routines. With this in mind, here are some keys to make every morning a success.
- Set a specific wakeup time five days a week (assuming the standard Monday-Friday work schedule). On the flip side, set what time you will go to bed to get 7-9 hours of sleep, depending on your specific rest requirements – no excuses! Getting the right amount of sleep is critical to your overall health. Do not use the snooze function on your alarm. When the alarm wakes you up, get up right them. Once you train your body clock, you will no longer require an alarm to wake up on time.
- Establish morning routines that you repeat daily in the same order from the time you get up to the time you leave for work. This should include doing something you love that charges your batteries such as exercise, inspired reading, saying your prayers, walking the dog, etc. Schedule time for a healthy breakfast, whatever that looks like for you, and make sure you begin hydrating right away (preferably with water). This will help to increase your brain function in addition to the other benefits of proper hydration.
- Review your vision. Take some time write down big accomplishments you aspire to and start each day by reviewing them. These should be visionary aspirations for your life. How will you know when you get “there” if you never define your destination? Something we always ask ourselves at work which applies here is what does winning look like? Know where you are going.
- Listen to a mentor during your commute. I will cover this in detail next week in Time Management Part 2: Loving Your Commute. In short, find someone you admire who is ahead of you in an area you aspire to, and then listen to their content daily.
It’s time to take advantage of the most important part of the day by introducing good time management routines into your morning schedule. As an aside, always have a notebook or journal handy to jot down the inspirations that come to you now that you are not rushing through your morning. When you get to work you may outpace others because of your pre-work routine. Take advantage of this edge and be a leader because you know where you are headed. You already settled your destination in your morning routines. You know what winning looks like!
Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?