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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 October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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