You're wondering whether a having a morning ritual is really going to make you more productive and focused. As an entrepreneur you know that it is important to be on top of your game if you're going to be successful.
Have you got into the habit of getting up late, rushing out the door only to run back in again because you forgot something. You grab a cup of coffee on your commute but it only picks you up for a short while. The morning seems to have set the tone for the rest of the day.
I know what it is like to have a poor morning routine. I used to hit the snooze button on my phone not just once. I'd pick it up and check the notifications from Facebook and emails. I get caught up on some random piece of news, check the time and realise that I'm running late. I won't get a space in the work car park so I'll have to go to the public car park and walk. I dash up the stairs at least 3 times before I finally get out the door and am on my commute to work.
Rinse and Repeat
You know you've got a crappy routine but you do the same thing day and day in. You dream of waking up in the morning and having a few minutes to just take in the peace and tranquility of the morning. You even have some time to just close your eyes and feel grateful for the new day whilst taking some deep breaths in.
You grab your jogging clothes and take a short walk taking in the fresh air. Back in the house after taking a shower and getting dressed, you have time to sit and eat a healthy breakfast. You have time to review your top priorities for the day and then leave the house knowing you'll get into the office early before the rush.
Sounds too good to be true? How do you think the rest of your day will go if this is how you started it each day?
Why Starting Your Day Right is So Important
You probably think that you could never have a morning routine. Maybe you think that you wouldn't be able to stick to it. You may even have tried to implement something in the past but given up. The truth is that you already have a morning routine. You already have a set of morning habits that you routinely go through each day. It is a matter of swapping out the old routine that is not serving you to a ritual that will make you more productive.
Think about how you would feel if you felt in control of your day from the point that you woke up in the morning. Consider what you could create if you were more focused and alert.
What is the difference between a routine and a ritual?
Well you already have a morning routine. You go through a set of actions without really thinking about it. You get up, get showered, brush your teeth, have breakfast and so on. These are a set of habits that you just do because they need to be done. You probably don't really think that much about them as you are doing them.
A ritual is different because there is meaning connected with each activity that you do. Each activity serves a purpose and adds something positive to your life.
For many years I struggled to implement a morning ritual. I got interested in morning rituals after listening to Jeff Sanders founder of the 5 AM Miracle. Starting a home business with a full time job I needed to find some extra hours in my day. The idea of getting up early to work on my business before going to work appealed to me because I was so tired when I got in at the end of the day.
However, after being struck with viral meningitis 3 times in a two year period I was left with recurring headaches, restless sleep and severe fatigue. I struggled to get up early and had almost given up on ever becoming a member of the 5 am club.
For some reason I believed that a proper morning ritual meant getting up at 5 am in the morning. I was struggling to wake and get out of bed by 9 am. I started researching again and I heard someone say that it is not about getting up at 5 am. The important thing is to start from where you are and just focus on getting up 30 minutes earlier.
That seemed more manageable. I could do that. So for the last month I've been working on a morning ritual that suits me. In that short space of time I have noticed such a difference in my energy levels, my focus and concentration during the day.
There are a lot of people out there giving advice on what a morning ritual should consist of. I've tried a lot of things over the years. What I know is that we are all different. What works for me may not work for you. The important thing is to be willing to experiment and keep experimenting until you find something that is a fit for you.
So if you've been used to hitting the snooze button in the mornings you're going to ease your transition into getting up full of energy and eager to meet the day.
I want to share this 5 step wake up strategy that I learned only this morning. On my way to work I love listening to podcasts. I knew I'd creating this article today so I decided to choose some podcasts on the subject of morning rituals. I guess that makes sense.
I had heard of Hal Elrod and his book The Morning Miracle. I'd not read it yes so I was drawn to a podcast interview with him. As I listened to his story and what he described as the 5 step “snooze proof” wake up strategy I knew I'd have to buy his book.
It was my intention to share something completely different at this point of my article but I think you will get value from what I'm about to share with you now.
Hal Elrod's 5 Step Wake Up Strategy
Step 1 Set Your Intention Before Bed
This is about setting a positive expectation for when you wake up in the morning. If you go to bed dreading waking up in the morning guess what? When you wake up you'll be feeling that sense of dread. I haven't been walking in the morning for months. I had started doing some exercises in the morning. Last night as I dropped off to sleep I visualised myself getting up, putting on my jogging clothes and going for a 10 minute walk. This morning instead of doing my indoor exercises I grabbed my keys and went out the front door. I walked for 7 minutes.
Step 2 Keep Alarm clock Across the room
Move your alarm clock from arms reach to across the room. Look when the alarm clock is within reach it is the absolute easiest thing to stretch out and hit that snooze button. There is absolutely no motivation for you to get out of bed. When you alarm clock is out of reach you have to get up. The act of getting up, that is moving helps you to wake up. You might still be feeling sleepy but you are now upright.
Step 3 Brush Your Teeth
Going immediately to the bathroom and brushing your teeth wakes you up even more. This is very simple but you continue in motion and you continue the process of waking up. I so love this one too.
Step 4 Drink a glass of water
As soon as you've brushed your teeth drink a full glass of water. This rehydrates your body after being without all night. Water will give you energy and you'll feel even more awake. The best thing to do is to fill a glass of water the night of before so that it is there ready for you to drink.
Step 5 Get dressed or showered
You have two options here depending on your whole morning ritual. If part of your morning ritual is to exercise then you'll probably want to jump straight into your exercise clothes. If not, you can have your shower. The purpose of these 5 steps is to get you set up and prepared for your morning ritual.
Remember I said that I was introduced to this concept of having a morning ritual by Jeff Sanders of the 5 AM Miracle. I listened to him this morning and he reminded me of something that is really important and essential if you want your morning ritual to work. It wasn't until I took this on board completely myself that I was able to completely transform my mornings.
From struggling to get up by 9 am in the mornings I'm now waking before my alarm goes off at 6:30 am. One of the main things that has been instrumental in allowing this to happen is making a commitment to getting to bed earlier.
As an entrepreneur it is tempting to want to stay up late working on a project. I'm in the UK and many live online events happen in the US in the evening which translates to the early hours of the morning here. I may have been awake for longer but I was not very productive.
Ensuring I get 7 to 8 hours sleep each night has been transformational. I'll be going to bed in an hour which means I'll get around 7 and a half hours sleep. I'm getting more done because I'm more alert in the hours that I am awake.
I'd love to hear about your morning ritual.
If you have any questions about productivity in general I'd love to hear from you.
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