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7 Steps To Own Your Morning And Seize Your Day

7 Steps To Own Your Morning And Seize Your Day

How you start your day usually defines how your entire day will go. Do you want your day to be great? Then, you have to start it in a great way! Here are 7 steps you can do to seize your day by owning your morning:

1. Wake Up One Hour Earlier

First things first. To own your morning, you need to incorporate some activities into your life. Since your mornings are already as busy as they are, the only thing you can do to make room for new habits is to wake up at least an hour earlier.

Not to mention, waking up early is already a huge feat in itself! Waking up an hour earlier can give you a sense of achievement and fulfillment. It can give you a confidence boost and emotional lift as you start your day with an accomplishment.

2. Spend Your Best Time by Taking Stock of Yourself

The best time you have during the day is right after waking up. It is when your energy tank is still full and when other people have not yet pushed their agendas to you. By staking stock of yourself in the morning, you will have more energy to figure out waht you want out of your life and it usually lies in the deepest, purest, and “unadulterated” desires of your heart. You can pray or meditate in order to calm down and focus on the most important things.

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

By praying or meditating, you can connect not only with the Divine, but also with yourself, your purpose, your mission, your own agenda, your own goals, your own dreams, your own heart, and the things that deeply matter to you. You are worth your best time.

Also, in stillness and quietness, you can affirm yourself and fill your mind and your heart with uplifting words and encouragement.

3. Write Down, Revisit, or Revise Your Long-term Goals

Feeling inspired and empowered yet? Don’t simply let the inspiration pass. Put them into writing. Write down your long-term goals and your lifelong dreams. Capture the deepest, purest, and “unadulterated” desires of your heart and have direction for your day and the rest of your life.

After writing down your goals and dreams, make it a habit to remind yourself of what you truly want to achieve in your life every morning. As you gain more clarity with your dreams and how you are going to achieve them, you can always revise or refine them and include some action plans on how you are going to make them a reality this year, next year, or even five to ten years from now.

As they say, “Never overestimate what you can do in a day. But, never underestimate what you can do in a year.” What more in a decade?

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4. Set Your Daily Goals

No matter how great or how inspiring your goals and dreams are, you can work on them only one day at a time. Now is the only time you have. In order to make the most of your life, you have to make the most of each of your days.

Start by writing down the three most important tasks you need to accomplish for each day. A simple to-do list will do. Make sure they are aligned with the long-term goals and dreams you wrote in step three. When you have finally gotten used to finishing three tasks per day, you can increase the number of your important tasks to seven. If you increase it to more than seven, you might get too overwhelmed.

While vision and direction are in your long-term goals and dreams, action is in the present moment.

You can look back to the past with gratitude. You can look ahead to the future with hope. But, the present is the only moment you truly have to make things happen. Live one day at a time.

5. Sharpen Your Expertise

When you finally find your purpose, the one thing that you love to do and the one thing wherein you can make the greatest contribution, you have to keep improving at it. You have to keep developing your skills, increasing your knowledge, and mastering your craft. And the best time to do so is in the morning, when your mind is still fresh, alert, and open to new ideas. Not to mention, new ideas can excite you all throughout the day!

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You can read periodicals, journals, and publications related to your industry. If you are a doctor, you can read about the latest in modern or even alternative medicine. If you are an architect or engineer, you can read about latest trends in exterior or interior design. If you are a business person, a subscription to a business magazine may prove extremely beneficial. Some self-help and thought-provoking books also work well for almost everyone.

6. Use Your Head Start and Start Acting

Planning, affirming yourself, and even sharpening your skills are great. But, they are useless if you will not take action and deliver results. Action trumps everything, every time!

You can also make use of the hour you wake up earlier to get a head start in your work. It feels good to start working when everyone else is just waking up. It feels better when you are already gaining momentum when everyone else is just coming in to work. And the best feeling in the world is finishing all your tasks when everyone else is just gaining momentum. Don’t waste the hour you wake up earlier but use a head start!

Not to mention, the silent moments in the office are usually the most productive. It’s a sacred feeling.

7. End a Vicious Cycle of Waking Up Late by Sleeping Early

The hardest step in owning your morning is actually waking up early. Whenever you wake up late, it already drains you of your energy, motivation, and confidence for the whole day and you end up dragging yourself to work. Then, when you cannot accomplish all your tasks in a single work day, you work overtime and pull an all-nighter. Then, it becomes a vicious cycle of sleeping late and waking up late.

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First things first. Let go of all your backlogs and start anew. Sleep early tonight, so that you can wake up early tomorrow. Start with a clean slate! Besides, maybe your backlogs were not really important for you to keep deferring them anyway. Own your morning and seize your day by having a good night’s rest.

Your past does not define your future, but it sure is important when it comes to waking up early!

How about you? How do you own your morning and seize your day?

Featured photo credit: Watching Sunrise by whologwhy via flickr.com

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Carlo Cruz

Writer and Artist

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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