You've heard it before, your morning sets the tone for the day. Many sayings, quotes of the day and experts are preaching, coaching and proclaiming about it. If you're not a morning person these words of wisdom fall flat especially if you're a night owl that is productive during the night or at late hours. However, I have found, through trial and error, that being both a night owl and a morning person is possible. It's all about balance. Organize your morning routine and you will seize the day. Long ago I broke down my tasks for my business, home, personal, plant and pet care down into Daily Do's, Weekly Tasks and Monthly Tasks to make things less overwhelming. Nailing down just what HAS to be done is key. Many of my clients are perfectionists, doing things in an all or nothing fashion. If they can't do it exactly perfectly then they're not going to do it at all. That's when the backup starts. It takes one to know one, trust me. So, my remedy for that is to get really honest about what has to happen to make things move forward on a baseline level. The rest is for when you have time and life is clipping along without major abnormal issues that have to be addressed.
How I started this process for myself was to brainstorm in written form first and then in an Excel spreadsheet everything I thought I needed (but the correct word is wanted) to get done. I divided business from personal life and personal life was broken down into self, home, pet and plant care. I used my time management skills to assign a time value to each task and identified what needed to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. I started with the personal daily tasks and added up the time value for each task to see how many hours it added up to. Well, let's just say it was way more than the 24 hours we actually have in reality. No wonder I felt like I wasn't accomplishing enough each day. I was being ridiculous with my expectations of what I could accomplish in 24 hours. I applied my 3 Phase Process I use when organizing to my tasks starting with Phase 1: Sort and Purge. I sorted the daily tasks purging the ones that could be saved for when I want a fun task or a break or for when I have major more urgent projects taken care of. I moved some daily tasks to the weekly list and others to the monthly. I also cut some tasks all together, having an honest conversation with myself where I admitted, "That is never going to happen." For example, I'd love to vacuum everyday as I have a Ragdoll Mix cat named Millie that sheds like crazy but I do not have time to vacuum everyday. Plus, as soon as I vacuum she sheds more and it looks like I haven't vacuumed in a week anyway so this became a once a week task and I just have to check the desire to always vacuum at the door. I think of it as a Zen-like meditative practice of letting go. Seriously, it's just tufts of fur. It can wait. Once I nailed down the list to be what I really needed to get done on a daily basis that could sort of fit into 24 hours I divided the daily tasks into morning and evening tasks as I was working during the day. I eventually had to make more cuts because my original time values were unrealistic and didn't allow me to move at a normal human pace, again Captain Perfectionism was trying to take over. I've had to learn to tell her to take a vacation more times than I can count. Initially I printed off the Excel Spreadsheet and hung it on my refrigerator like you would a chore chart for kiddos. I marked things off as I did them and started to see what I was really accomplishing from that list in a normal time frame, this is how I made further edits to the list. This is similar to what Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, did with her Happiness Chart. As I was beginning this transformation in my own life I kept hearing from clients that I needed to read her book because what I was saying was similar to what she wrote. After hearing this enough times I bought her book and found a kindred spirit. She was a list maker too. I felt validated in my lists and thus this project of mine felt very good and necessary. She was, after all, a New York Times Best Seller. On top of that, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington both had a set of rules to live by that looked a lot like an Excel spreadsheet. Bottom line, those who do great things, make massive change and build a legacy of their own all held themselves accountable, often through lists. For me, my lists give me a tremendous peace of mind. I want to make positive change and help people as much as I can but first I have to take good care of myself. Every. Day.
Here are my Top 3 Daily Do's that have evolved and survived the many list edits. I no longer use the spreadsheets as I do these things habitually and with a systematic approach that is meditative for me. If I'm short on time (I still like to stay up late even though I LOVE being productive very early in the morning) I just skip the stuff that can wait and now know what really needs to be done.
Top 3 Daily Do's to Start Your Morning Out Right:
1. Listen to music and let yourself dance. Research shows that listening to your favorite music increases happiness. Have you ever seen an athlete play their favorite playlist to get pumped up before a game? Have you noticed that bands have a set of songs they'll play before going onstage? Actors will tell you pre-show music does the same thing for them. It gets them pumped up, helps them focus and above all, makes them feel good. I play all sorts of music, often based on the song in my head when I wake up. This morning, for whatever reason, it was Vanilla Ice. Yes. Old school Vanilla Ice. So, when I fired up my WiFi and my laptop I Googled Vanilla Ice and went to YouTube to get his music playing. And you know what? Making my breakfast to Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer & Salt-n-Pepa (the music YouTube selected for me after my cup of Vanilla Ice got the party started) made me extremely happy. I've been checking things off my list all morning. It set the stage for the day and I have a lot of energy because of that. Research also shows that dancing to your favorite music increases your happiness even more than just listening to your favorite music. So, shake your groove thing like no one is watching. Get down with your bad self. Relax. It will feel good.
2. Drink 20 ounces of water. I used to drink next to no water a day. It turns out that's the norm for Americans. Most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Guess what needs water? Your brain. You need your brain to be at optimal capacity to have a good day and to stay organized. Drink water. I promise it will help you deal with anxiety. It will help you get and stay organized. It will help you think more clearly. I now drink 120 ounces of water a day (20 ounces with each meal and I eat 6 small meals a day) and it has been a total game changer for me. Just like a flower needs water to stay alive you too need it to survive. All day.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Not the 1st time you've heard this, no? Again, back in the day when I was unhealthy, in an unhealthy relationship, working a corporate job I didn't like, living in a place I was unhappy in guess what I wasn't doing? Eating breakfast. I drank two cups of coffee with sugar and dairy based creamer and that was it. It took me a long time before I found a doctor that helped me start my nutrition reorganization. Then 6 months later, after not fully understanding how to implement her nutritional prescription, I found my missing piece to my health and wellness puzzle. My doc had prescribed a healthy breakfast and suggested I find a protein shake that had 20 grams of protein in it. After a lot of trial and error I found one I liked. I then lost the last little chunk of weight I had been trying to lose for over two years. I am now building muscle mass so have switched to a different shake that helps me gain muscle. Starting your day out with a healthy breakfast doesn't mean grabbing a protein or granola bar with 32 grams of sugar in it or a bowl of sugar, gluten filled cereal doused in dairy. It means, for example, veggies, a lean meat like chicken breast or egg whites and a healthy carb like steel cut oats or a Muscle Gain Shake like I drink. I start out with my Spark and Catalyst then my Vitamin D3 and after 30 minutes my Muscle Gain Shake with Omegaplex. I seriously look forward to my morning meal. It makes me feel good, it tastes good and I'm geeked about building muscles and being strong. Whatever healthy breakfast works for your system make it a regular thing. Not just for your kids or your spouse but 1st for you. The rest will fall into place from there.
There's a lot of other things on my morning Daily Do routine but these are the 3 that help me the most. Sometimes I need silence so I skip the music, especially if I'm feeling like I don't want to fire up the tech world. However, the days where I kick it off with song and a little kitchen dancing I feel happier. I get out of my own head and let my goofy side out. I laugh at memories of the songs or the lyrics. I feel good. Give these 3 things a try and see how it changes your day. From there you can Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. Comment below with how you feel after trying these things or if you have any questions. I love hearing from you.