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7 Morning Rituals That Give You A Head Start Every Day

7 Morning Rituals That Give You A Head Start Every Day

Morning rituals set you up to win the day. They produce small wins that create positive momentum to propel you through the rest of the day.

Morning habits enable you to cross off items from your to-do list before the sun rises, which provides a sense of progress and accomplishment. Once you automate the morning rituals, you pave a frictionless and effortless path to the start of a successful day.

In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg writes, “Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them.” Build the framework of a productive day by thoughtfully designing your morning rituals.

1. Defeat the snooze button

Waking up without hitting the snooze button delivers your first win of the day. Resisting the alluring temptation of the snooze seems to be as challenging as running a marathon. However, you can transform into the person who leaves snoozing in the rear view mirror.

There isn’t a bulletproof method to overcome snoozing. The effective solution is different for each person. This gives you freedom to start experimenting today to discover the technique that works for you.

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Four years ago, I snoozed for two hours every morning. I tested countless methods to overcome snoozing. I tried going to sleep earlier. I set different ringtones for my alarm. I placed my phone far away from my bed so that I had to walk across the room to turn off the alarm. No method worked consistently. I failed at my first goal every day, which led to frustration.

I discovered my unique solution with the help of Clocky, which is an alarm clock with wheels that chirps an annoying beeping sound that changes pitch and frequency every few seconds. Every morning, I chase Clocky around the room with my eyes half closed in order to turn off the screeching alarm. I’m ready to start my day after that cardio workout.

Approach defeating the temptation of the snooze like a science experiment. Don’t beat yourself up over failed attempts. Instead, cross off the failed techniques from your list of alternatives and move on to the next iteration of the experiment. You’ll find a method that works for you.

2. Wake up earlier

As you’re slaying the snooze dragon, commit to wake up earlier. The external distractions from the world are dormant in the early morning. E-mails, text messages, and errands aren’t competing for your attention yet. In addition to the lack of distractions, you gain a psychological advantage when you wake up earlier. You feel like you have a head start on the day. It seems like you gained an extra hour.

If you’re not a morning person, your long-term goal will not be to wake up at 5 am. That’s fine. If you currently wake up at 8 am, abruptly striving to move up your wake up time by three hours will likely result in failure. You may succeed at the significantly earlier wake up call for a few days.

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However, the drastic change in routine will fizzle out quickly. Massive changes don’t happen overnight. Instead, start by waking up 15 minutes earlier. This is easily achievable. You may be surprised to find yourself waking up at 5 am everyday in a few years.

3. Make your bed

Making your bed is the easiest and quickest way to add a small win to the start of the day. You can achieve this win in less than one minute. It adds a quick burst of accomplishment and productivity to your early morning.

An organized environment leads to an organized mind. Making your bed is a simple way to start organizing your home life. Seeing the bed made as you’re getting ready for the day adds clarity and calmness to your thoughts.

4. Immerse in positive states of mind for 2 minutes

Immerse in the states of mind you want to experience the most throughout the day: grateful, inspired, excited, focused on priorities. Answer the following questions: What are you grateful for today? What inspires you? What excites you? What endeavors will you focus on today? Carry out this morning ritual even when you feel anxious, sad, or overwhelmed at the start of the day.

By immersing in grateful thoughts each morning, you train your brain to focus on the best aspects of each circumstance. By consistently focusing on what inspires and excites you, you transform into a more enthusiastic and optimistic person. When you clearly identify your priorities for the day, you take control of your day rather than being pushed around by circumstances and the agendas of others.

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5. Write down your goals every morning

You must identify and set exciting goals to begin the journey towards your dreams. A recent study at the Dominican University of California found that participants who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than the ones who didn’t write their goals. Writing down your goals is better than keeping them in your head. To increase effectiveness, reference and read through your goals every day.

The best method is to write your goals down every morning. You powerfully declare your intention by re-writing your goals at the start of each day. This practice crystallizes your goals in your mind and pushes them deeper and deeper into your subconscious. It sends a consistent signal to your brain that these goals are paramount to you.

As a result, your subconscious mind will get to work on your dreams while you work on other projects throughout the day. Your mind will constantly search for ways to progress towards your dream destination. Through this ritual, you recruit your brain to become your unpaid assistant.

6. Envision living your dream life for 5 minutes

Play your dreams in the theater of your mind. Engage the five senses. Watch yourself enjoying a two week vacation in Paris. What does it feel like to walk the narrow streets in the Latin Quarter? What does French food taste like? What does it smell like? What are the sounds you hear when you drink an espresso in a cafe?

Achieving ambitious life goals is hard. You will reach plateaus and valleys in the journey that will make you want to ring the bell and pursue easier goals. Imagine living your ideal day, week, and life. This boosts your motivation and inspiration. Additionally, this exercise clarifies the meaning and purpose of your goals. The motivation and sense of direction push you through the dark times in the journey towards your dreams.

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7. Work towards your dream

Make progress on your dream every morning before you move on to work and errands. Start by setting aside five minutes each morning to focus on your dream. You can incrementally work your way up to one hour.

Instead of surrendering the precious first hour of your day to errands that you don’t want to do, spend that hour working on the project that fuels and excites you. We have a limited amount of willpower in our tank each day. Leverage the full willpower tank in the morning by focusing on your most valued project.

If you funnel your efforts to the wrong activities, you quickly progress down a road that doesn’t lead towards your dream destination. By directing your attention and energy on your dream at the start of each day, you guarantee that you’ll be closer to your dream today than you were yesterday. This incremental progress adds up to significant gains over time.

When you combine the small wins from these morning rituals, you create a string of victories that power your day. You’ll feel more confident and better equipped to handle the obstacles that arise throughout the rest of the day. Regardless of the difficulties the day presents, you have already notched important successes.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Jose Ramos

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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