I hate routine, and yet I am a routine person.
There are areas of my life that routine drives me to the point of insanity.
There are areas of my life that routine keeps me in check.
I have a love/hate relationship with routine.
Today, let’s talk about my love for routine…my morning routine.
Productivity is one of the most important things we do in life. It separates the pretenders from serious contenders. Do not overestimate how important your productivity matters.
One of the best ways to be productive is to set yourself up for the most optimal productivity possible.
You might be wondering: “Kyle, how would one go about this?”
“Good thing you asked” I would say, “let me show you what I do.”
My morning routine or ritual explained:
1. Wake up at the same time
I wake up every morning at 6AM, no matter what. I have found this to be the best way to start my day. The discipline this creates starts the flow of my routine. Miss this time and it can throw off my entire day. My challenge for your morning routine is to pick a reasonable time you can wake up each day. Find the time that provides some buffer before you have to go to work or handle other responsibilities and also provides you enough rest from the night before.
Bonus tip: Figure out how long it takes you to get ready each morning and buffer that time in to your routine. I know it takes me 20 minutes to get ready for my day. This allows me to plan accordingly if my morning routine is to be interrupted or I have an early morning meeting.
2. Complete a task around the house
As crazy as this sounds, completing a small task around the house can get your day started on the right path. Pat Flynn taught me this trick. He (and I) wash the dishes before starting work. It helps accomplish something easy and quick and it moves the brain in to work mode. I usually make coffee for my wife and myself first thing before I get started. It is just another part of my routine that I do every morning to prep me for work.
3. Take 15 minutes to plan your day
I use to keep all my task in my head. I had a general idea of what my day would be and what I wanted to do. The hard part was I never followed that plan in my head. Over the past year, I have taken 15 minutes every morning to plan out my mornings and afternoons. In fact, I created my own task sheet to help me plan my day. You can download my task sheet here for free.
This 15 minutes is so important. Creating a goal for the day with dedicated task allows you to give over the feeling of staying up with everything and gives you a map to complete your day.
I cannot express how important this step truly is to productivity.
Bonus tip: Download my task sheet :)
4. Complete another task around the house or office
Yes, another task around the house or if you are at your work you can do something around your office. This is usually the time I do dishes or sweep. I sometimes put papers away, take the trash out, or make the bed. Just something else to help me signal my brain that it is time to work. It also clears my brain from the planning I went through and moves me to completing task.
Bonus tip: If you are married, your spouse will also be really happy with you.
5. Use a timmer
This is the ultimate trick. Setting a time limit on task will blow your mind, seriously.
I have found myself completing my task sheet hours before the traditional work day is done. This timer allows me to stay focused and gives me a barometer of where I am at and a time limit to complete the task.
Pomodoro is a great app that I use all the time. Best part, it is free.
I will even write down how much time I want to give per task on my task sheet. Once the timer is set I go to work. When the timer ends I give myself a break of 5 minutes to do whatever I want. But as soon as that timer is up I go to the next task. Give this a shot, you will be surprised at how much you can get done.
Bonus tip: Also remember to set a time for a reward. You don’t feel as guilty checking twitter or instagram when you know you have put in the work on your to-do list. Give yourself some time to have some fun too.
6. Write down your success
This is one of the most difficult things for me. I often don’t focus on my successes and rather look at failures. I am definitely a glass half empty kind of guy. But, I have started to force myself to write these down as a way to remember and learn. There are times I forgot about all the things I have done or get to do, and these daily successes are a great reminder, especially when I am seeing the glass half empty.
Bonus tip: Check this app out called WinStreak. My friend @justinwise recommended it.
These are 6 steps of many other steps I take daily to perfect my morning routine.
Every one will do it differently. Most importantly, we choose to do it. We choose to get serious about productivity and routine. We focus on the areas that will help us complete task we need to get done.
I believe we can accomplish far more than we ever believed, as long as we are focused on the task at hand.
Do you have a morning routine secret you want to share?