How do you start your day? Do you have a plan for your mornings? I used to just go with the flow, but some time ago I created startup procedures for my mornings at home and at work. Why did I do this? Why is it worth having startup procedures? Read on!
I know what my miracle morning is. I would love to have this kind of morning every day. I bet you would like to experience it, too. But do you know what the miracle morning looks like? If not, I can give you a couple of hints.
Every morning, I try to get up earlier than I have to. I’ve had this habit for many years. I know that I need no more than 30 minutes to prepare for work and I deliberately wake up at least one hour earlier. Am I crazy? I know a few people who think so. But I have several reasons for putting myself through an early morning wake-up call every day.
I really like to run in the morning. It energizes me for the whole day, giving me the ability to do more. For a couple of years, this used to be my only reason for getting up earlier. But recently I read a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. The concepts presented in this book were revolutionary for me. After reading it, I decided to expand my morning routine. It helped me understand why I felt so good after my morning runs and made me decide to accomplish even more before moving forward with the rest of the day.
In the book, Hal explains that by doing something for your personal development, you give yourself a huge boost for the whole day. He suggests doing this as early in the day as possible, preferably first thing in the morning. Before you go to work or before your family wakes up, you can do something for your personal growth. Isn’t it tempting? Before everyone is awake, you can exercise, read, meditate, and much more. The author proposes a structure for each morning and explains it using the acronym Life S.A.V.E.R.S.
- Silence - meditation, prayer, etc.;
- Affirmation - affirmation, sentences you read to yourself about your commitment to do everything that is needed to achieve your goals;
- Visualization - imagining yourself in a situation you would like to be in, such as doing something you want to achieve;
- Exercise - running, push-ups, sit-ups, anything to get your blood flowing;
- Read - reading something—a book, an article, etc.;
- Scribe - writing an entry in your journal about what happened the day before, what you want to remember, repeat, do differently, etc.
This is what is described in the book. The author writes that these activities can be spread out over one hour or as short as 6 minutes. This depends on your personal schedule and on how much time you have. The most important thing is simply to do it every day. Even if you spend 1 minute on each element, you will still benefit from this process. Just focus on doing it every day.
This is a beautifully simple idea. By doing these six things, you can help yourself grow, develop, and improve. No matter what the rest of your day looks like, you’ll know that you’ve already done something positive for yourself. I love that concept!
After reading The Miracle Morning, I immediately knew that I had to implement these six routines. When I thought about all of the things that I could accomplish before starting the day, I wanted to implement this routine immediately. Then I remembered one crucial rule I try to live by - only one change at a time. I remembered that it’s simply impossible to build more than one habit at a time. I was already running in the morning. And suddenly I wanted to add 5 more habits to that time! I decided that I would change one thing at a time in my mornings. So I started with reading. I’ve always wanted to read more, but I constantly have too little time for it. Since the beginning of January, I’ve read 15 minutes almost every morning. So far, I’ve already completed four books only by reading for 15 minutes each morning! How awesome is that? Now I am ready to add one more thing to my miracle morning. I think it will be journaling. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What do you think about the concept of the miracle morning? Can you get up a few minutes earlier tomorrow and do something for yourself? Let me know how works for you!
Today I'm writing about the latest productivity technique I have implemented in my everyday work - checking my inbox 2-3 hours after the beginning of the work day.
Plenty of techniques exist to increase one's productivity. While reading books, magazines (like Productivity Magazine), listening to talks, and reading blogs, I am overwhelmed with a number of new ideas on how to be more productive.
I’ve tried many of them, and checked how they work in practice. Some are very good and I’ve incorporated them into my productivity system (I will describe it soon). Many of those ideas do not work for me but they are still worth discussing. Maybe they will work for you.
My work is a mix of conceptual and operational tasks (strategic vs tactical). By conceptual, I mean defining new services, optimizing the way my team works, and creating reports. Operational tasks are all of those that I need to do every day to allow my team to work smoothly - e.g. task assignment, communication, and meetings.
I receive a lot of e-mails every day - several dozens. I bet you do too. Till now, checking my inbox was the second thing I was doing in the morning, just after planning my day. I am in the office at 7AM, which means that I used to process the first e-mails around 7:30AM. By processing emails, I mean applying David Allen's GTD methodology (Delete, Defer, Delegate or Do - this I will cover in a separate post). Very often "Do" means answering the e-mail.
Now you’re probably thinking - what is so bad about answering e-mail?
What would you do if I answered your e-mail? You would probably answer me back. This is what happens in most cases. One processed e-mail results in a new e-mail to process. Because of this, I end up processing e-mails for the first 2 hours of my day.
I’ve decided to change my approach to e-mail. For the last few weeks I’ve had a new rule - no Outlook till 9AM. What do I do instead? I work :) Now each morning is the most productive part of my day. This is the time when I do the most important tasks scheduled for the day. And after two hours, I can start working on other ongoing tasks. This simple change revolutionized my productivity. I’ve noticed that I have moved forward in many of the projects that I was stuck on because I had no time to focus on them. You may ask - but what do others think about your new approach? Aren't they impatient because you don’t answer their e-mail immediately? No! In most cases it is more than enough to answer them after 9AM. If there is anything that is very urgent, I will find out about it in a way other than e-mail.
In a separate post I will write about how I choose what to work on during those two precious hours.