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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 July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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