When you wake up in the morning are you reacting to your day? Or are you having the day you set out to have?
I can almost guarantee that you are reacting to your day. You are more than likely serving as a victim to everyone else’s agenda. And by the time you're done helping everyone else, you are too tired to do your work.
I didn’t know any better, so all I ever did was react to my day:
- I hit the snooze on my iPhone at least twice.
- I woke up when I had too... meaning late.
- I rushed to take a shower... because I was running late.
- I rushed to get dressed... because I was running late.
- I rushed to make breakfast for my son... because I was running late.
- I rushed to make coffee... because I was running late.
- I barely got my son to school... because I was running late.
- I got to work late... because I was running late.
Does this list look embarrassingly familiar to you? Perhaps even scary familiar to you?
It got to the point where I was not only depressed, but I was resenting the people that were closest to my heart -- my family. Something had to change. I had to change. So I took massive action:
- I started running every day.
- I told everyone my agenda first, then yours.
- I became a vegetarian.
- Then I became a vegan.
How did I feel?
It was the worst three days of my life. I was more stressed. I alienated my loved ones. And I craved bacon like a fat kid loves Twix. Making a massive change was not a good strategy. But I did see value in my plan of action it was just too strict and abrupt.
So instead of taking massive action I took tiny action. I committed myself to change 1% daily. Committing to a daily 1% change was easier, and it allowed me to make quick adjustments to improve my progress.
Since your health -- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially -- is the foundation of your life I needed to make sure that I was operating at my peak. So I began creating small systems, habits if you will, that allowed me to sure that I was taking care of me first:
The Morning Ritual
I would wake up early around 4:30-ish. Repeat “Do it now” 50 times, drink a cup of water, meditate, Yoga, shower, shave and have a protein shake.
The morning ritual allows me to establish a routine for the day it gives me the mental, emotional and physical energy to operate at peak efficiency.
50 Minute Block
This is one of the most important strategies you can adopt. Being able to dedicate blocks of time to doing your work is crucial to shipping. In this case, set aside 50 minutes, at least, 3 times a day, to work on important work. This means that nothing else can interrupt you. So turn off all notifications on your smartphones, close email, shut down your browser and set your timer for 50 minutes.
When you place yourself on this input diet and focus on the work that needs to get done -- your productivity will go up multi-fold.
Seth Godin explained, "I have the day I set out to have.” For the sake of argument it’s the main reason Godin has written 17 books, founded multiple companies and is a sought after speaker. Seth, with extreme prejudice, designs his day so that he is always doing the important work.
So I need you to do the same. I need you to stop playing Angry Birds, stop binge watching the House of Cards, and stop complaining you have no time. And start having the day that will help you get the work done.
Because if you are waiting for someone to give you permission you will be waiting forever.