How does your typical morning proceed? Is it a chaotic, random, angst-inducing race to get yourself and the kids out the door without being too late? Can you envision it differently – orderly, structured, regular, predictable, and reliable? If your mornings are a source of anxiety and stress, it may be hard to imagine creating order during this chaotic time. The key is spending a bit of time to create a dependable and repeatable morning routine.
Business literature is littered with articles describing ideas for things that successful individuals do in the mornings and at the beginning of each week. These are great to peruse, and to see if you might be missing out on a practice that would benefit your morning (or any time of your day, for that matter). It really should come as no surprise that morning exercise is a good practice to begin your day. For one, it will start your day with increased energy and motivation. Second, it ensures that you actually do it, and that exercise will not fall victim to an otherwise busy day. Developing research is beginning to suggest that time spent meditating or visualizing in some form will drastically improve your ability to focus and carry through your day emotionally balanced.
The important point, though, is to figure out what adds benefit to your day, and begin making a routine of it. Your mornings should be reliable and predictable, not a daily impromptu dance through disorganization. Routine will eliminate the improvisation of the morning. It is uncertainty that is a large part of the stress that you feel during morning hours if you are not organized.
My morning routine is this:
1. Wake between 5:30 and 5:45.
2. Dress for exercise.
3. Meditate for 15-20 minutes.
5. Eat breakfast. During breakfast, transfer the important items from my to-do list onto a daily index card that will guide my day. (This will be the subject of a future post).
6. Dress and head out the door on time.
Your routine should not look like mine. It should be a reflection of the important practices that generate energy and focus for your day. Spend some time thinking about it. When you determine the proper routine. Write it down. Put it into your to-do list. My routine is actually written and placed in Evernote as a daily to-do item. It makes it material and concrete, and it ensures that I focus on it. You may end up trying a few things and adjusting, which is OK. The effort to establish routine will pay substantial dividends, and I encourage you to introduce it to your life.