When thinking about productivity and getting things done I have found nothing accelerates your life like a meaningful and consistent morning routine. Allow me to back up for a moment by stating that my morning routine starts for me with an evening routine. I will leave evening routines for another time except for the fact that I take a few minutes in the evening to prepare for the next morning. If you do not plan as well as follow-through with your morning routine it will quickly cease being a productivity catalyst and become just a nice idea.
Here is what I do: the night before looking over my calendar I identify three things I must accomplish the next day. They are so critical that I promise myself that I will not go to bed the next evening until the three are done! You must create urgency. There are more than three things on my task or to-do list. I am identifying the three things that are vital to do the next day. At least one and preferably two will be goal-related. At this point, I am not thinking about just the usual things that must be done daily. These three items are things that move the needle and move you or your work forward. After identifying the three, I list them in order of importance. Tomorrow morning as a part of my morning routine I will begin working on the first item on the list.
I am indebted to Hal Elrod and his book “Miracle Morning,” this is where I learned the importance of a morning routine: In the book Hal uses an acrostic for those things he includes in his morning routine. Over the years I have adjusted them for my lifestyle and values.
S—Silence. I use this time for prayer, Bible reading and devotional literature
A– Affirmations. This for me falls in the prayer and Bible reading area. In recent weeks I have started using Biblical affirmations as well as a couple of statements regarding goals.
V–Visualization. This I do not do, it is a personal preference, but I substitute prayerful reflection
E–Exercise. This I do, but I go to the local YMCA. It is for me at the end of morning routine
R—Read. I read on a Kindle device. I have since 1982 read a lot of books. I will read for 20-30 minutes.
S—Scribing. This is a fancy way of saying journaling. I am not by nature a person who journals. Over the years I have been resistant to writing in a journal. However, I have come to see the importance and necessity of this practice. There is great value in putting pen to paper. I am now using an electronic journaling tool. It is simply called “750 Words.” Obviously, the goal is to have you write a minimum of 750 words per day. It becomes both a challenge and a game, yet it has motivated me for the past two years to write something every day.
At this point in the morning, I turn to the three most important tasks (MIT) for the day. I begin with the first, which is always the one that requires some thinking, planning and just plain work. It is essential for me to tackle this first thing in the morning while I am fresh and the world around me is still silent. Often times I have the first task and sometimes two done before I get into the office. If an emergency or crisis arises, I am calmer since I have gotten a head start on my important tasks for the day. This is so significant, I cannot overstate how valuable this is to get priorities accomplished.
Another part of my morning routine is a healthy breakfast, this also has had a positive impact on my life.
Do not get discouraged, no two days are the same. If something arises and you are not able to do this on a particular morning, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track the next day.
Why not give this a try? Tailor it to your own needs and find what will work for you
You can do it.