I’m going to let you in on a secret that’s allowed busy entrepreneurs to create more time in their day. The secret is routine. Actually, it’s not really a secret. Many people have tapped into this and are reaping the benefits. But for those of us who hear ourselves saying “there isn’t enough time in a day!” this is the routine you need.
The topic of routines has become popular among self-improvement influencers over the year because it’s so powerful. Just do a search on YouTube or Google and you will see what I mean.
There are different kinds of routines for things such as fitness, daily, work, night and morning. They all have their purpose in life, however, the routine you need for growth and wellbeing is the morning routine. Here’s why.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND AN EFFECTIVE ROUTINE
Having an effective routine, in general, involves creating habits. Once those habits are ingrained, you require less decision making throughout the day and therefore can manage tasks without getting decision-fatigue.
And yes, you can become rundown by having to make to many choices and decisions throughout the day. It increases stress and can cause you to act in ways you normally wouldn’t, such as impulsively grabbing take-out or procrastinating.
With a routine, you already know what your day is going to look like, can plan accordingly and make time in that routine for what is important to you.
With a routine, you eliminate a lot of last-minute decision making, streamline your day and create positive powerful habits
THE POWERFUL MORNING ROUTINE
The morning routine in particular, which is my favourite, can have the biggest impact on your entire day. By making a habit out of waking up early and carrying out specific, intentional rituals first, you are preparing yourself, in the most positive way, for success.
Let me explain why the morning routine is so powerful.
If you look at every day as a new day, a fresh start, then starting that day right is incredibly important.
- A morning routine allows you to begin the day calmy by eliminating the rushing associated with last-minute decision making.
- Without decision-fatigue, you can focus more throughout the day.
- They are also more intentional. You design your own morning routine based on your needs, goals and lifestyle (more on that below).
- You are more likely to get things done first thing in the morning than later in the day (*cough* exercising).
- Depending on how early you choose to start your day, a morning routine can mean distraction free time before the rest of the house wakes up.
MORNING ROUTINE’S OF IMPORTANT ENTREPRENEURS
He wrote the book titled Miracle Morning, in which he shares his morning routine, S.A.V.E.R.S., with his readers. The acronym stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. His routine involves getting up 1 hour earlier than you normally would fulfil those six rituals. The idea is to do all the self-care rituals first thing in the morning to have the greatest impact, rather than do one or two sporadically. Elrod explains how his 5 am morning routine brought him out of a dark period in his life, increased his productivity and wellness.
The founder of Virgin Group shared his morning routine on his blog, explaining structure at the beginning and end of his day helps him focus. Branson explains that exercise and time with his family fuel his day. He awakes at 5 am with natural sunlight, exercise, a high fibre breakfast, tea with his wife, and long-distance calls with his children. He also explains that getting to his emails before the world wakes up allows him to work more efficiently. Branson then ends his morning by checking into his social media channels, to share and connect.
I recently listening to a podcast that Arianna Huffington was a guest on – and it was about her opinion about sleep and mornings. She was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, in 2009 Forbes named her #12 Most Influential Women in Media and as of 2014 she has been listed by Forbes as the 52nd Most Powerful Woman in the World. So, I assumed this woman must never sleep! I was wrong. In 2007, after making herself sick from stress, she’s become one of the rare entrepreneurs who advocates an 8-hour sleep! Her morning begins after a restful sleep and is followed by deep breathing, reflection and setting her intentions for the day. She intentionally avoids her smartphone first thing in the morning. Instead, she will go for a walk, exercise, meditation, enjoy a cup of coffee and emails with editors.
There are hundreds of more examples of morning routines from the successful but you get the idea now. They know the secret!
WHAT ABOUT THE WEEKEND?
Should you maintain the same morning routine Monday-Sunday? It’s completely up to you.
If you’re trying to maintain a sleep schedule, then sleeping in on the weekends might mess with that. If you’re going to sleep in late don’t sleep in longer than an hour. Really love sleeping in? then go for it girl! Whatever makes you feel good and healthy.
I recommend continuing with your rituals though, even if you’re doing them later in the day. Meditating, writing, reading, exercising, whatever you’re doing, is important to your well-being (catching up on sleep might also be too!). Arianna Huffington does exactly this on the weekends. She continues with her morning routine but for longer periods because she has more time on those days.
ACTIONABLE STEPS TO DESIGN THE MORNING ROUTINE YOU NEED
If you’re cringing at the thought of getting up earlier than you already are, a totally get you! The point of a morning routine isn’t about losing sleep. If you don’t have to get up at 5 am then don’t!
Use these steps to design your morning routine that fits your goals, schedule and lifestyle.
- Set your intentions: Your morning routine will look different than everybody else. You need to decide on your intentions for your morning and go from there. Your intention could be to make the most of your day and opportunities that arise.
- How early do you need to get up? This depends entirely on your life situation. If you don’t HAVE to be up at 5 am then don’t burn yourself out. On the other hand, if your house typically gets up at 6 am, then a 5 am morning routine might be the perfect fit for you. The goal is to find more time in your day to focus on your growth and well-being. If you normally get up at 9 am, get up at 8 am.
- What rituals are you going to do? Meditation, writing, working on your side hustle, drinking lemon water, exercise, visualization the choices are countless. Ask yourself where you could improve in your life. Maybe your health isn’t as good as you hoped. Or, you’ve noticed your stress and anxiety levels are higher than normal. Start your day by prioritizing your self-care before heading to work or caring for your family.
- Do you need to do anything the night before? Sometimes your morning routine might require some preparation the night before. Decide what time you need to be in bed to get a full nights sleep. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep, so if you get up at 6 am you should be in bed between 10-11 pm the night before. You should also consider leaving out the supplies you’re going to need the following morning, such as a journal, to eliminate any decision-making.
- What are you ignoring during these hours? What are you going to avoid during this period of your day? A lot of people choose to keep their smartphone in another room to remove the temptation to check social media or their emails. Decide what your NOT going to do during your morning routine.
- Visualize your perfect morning routine: Lastly, it’s a good idea to visualize your morning routine. Most of us find it hard to find the motivation to get out of bed for work, so why would we do it even earlier? Visualizing your perfect morning will help motivate you and give you a reason to wake up earlier. Over time, your morning routine will become a habit and you will look forward to it!
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