Why should you master your morning? As important as a foundation is for any construction worth its salt, so is the first hour of the day for anybody that wants to have an efficient and productive day. How one begins one’s day has a bearing on how one spends one’s day. I want to share my process to help you master your morning.
Recently my friend and business partner asked me if I observed any morning ritual or routine that helps me get going. It just so happened that I had for the last 6 months been using a system that has increased my energy, creativity and productivity. This system is not original… I learned bits and pieces of it from men and women I respect, and from personal trial error came to the system that works for me.
I want to share this morning system with you. You can use it as is… I assure it has been tried and tested and proven itself worthy, or you can simply use it as a guideline as you develop the system that works for you.
I encourage you to try this system as is, for at least 21 days before changing or altering it. The reason I say this is because it circumvents our natural tendency to resist or postpone change in our lives. Because it is already pre-packaged for you I say just use as is, and after you have installed the rudiments of habituation, then you can alter it.
My Morning Mastery System:
The secret to a productive day actually begins with the night before. Writing your goals out clearly exponentially increase the possibility that you will follow through and execute on them…
For me, I try and categorize my daily goals in 4 basic categories:
D) Vocational/Business etc.
So, I may write the goal that I want to spend quality time in prayer and scripture. I will write something like, “I want to read and meditate on a chapter in the book of __________” and “I want to spend at least 30 minutes in prayer” and that will be my spiritual goal for the next day.
To get even more out of this post…
For my physical goals, I may write that “I need to make sure I drink at least of gallon of water for the day”. I want to do 15 minutes of cardio first thing in the a.m. and I’ll make sure I have a meal plan for the next day.
Anybody that is serious about getting or staying in shape understands the value of preparing your meals the night before so you are not tempted to do the fast food thing. Personally, I try to eat 5 small meals a day which are high in protein and moderate in carbs and fats… especially carbs of the starchy variety.
I have found that planning and at least writing it down ahead of time enables me to better follow through, as opposed to just stumbling into the day and hoping I do well with my health and nutrition. I’ll also make sure I schedule gym time which I try and do every other day.
For these goals, I have found that doing my guided primer and meditation in the morning and deliberately exercising gratitude is the best medicine for my soul.
I, therefore, schedule about 15 minutes of this as part of the first 45 minutes of my day. Trust me, the more you do this the easier it becomes and the more benefit you glean from it.
I try and make sure I do schedule my tougher assignments earlier in the day. There’s rhyme and reason to this. Studies have shown that willpower is a finite resource and can deplete as the day progresses. It is therefore smart to knock out some of your tougher goals.
For me, it can be phone calls I need to make to clients, writing, or product creation, etc. I try and know ahead of time what my work priorities are for the next day. It helps me hit the ground running.
So I write out my goals in my journal that I keep by my bed.
How to Master Your Morning:
My day begins the next morning and goes as thus… My alarm clock is set for 5:30 AM but my body clock has become so efficient I usually get up about 10 minutes before that. Upon waking up one of the first things I do, is create motion.
I immediately make my bed so that I’m not tempted to crawl back in. I have to move away from my room to another locale so one of the first things I do is go into my office where I have an electric kettle and warm some water. I then go brush my teeth and drink a full glass of water. Rehydration is the first order of the day for me.
I learned this from old school bodybuilders and it really works. After the 8-hour fast, we all wake up dehydrated and one of the symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. A full tall glass of water takes care of that and also kick starts your digestive system and metabolism.
After that, I go to the office and I make a glass of warm/hot water where I squeeze and mix a quarter wedge of organic lemon and a couple teaspoonfuls of honey. This helps trigger the body to flush out toxins and is great for the internal organs.
You can do your own research on this… there is a ubiquity of information that explains the benefits of this. While I’m sipping that down, I take the time to revise the goals I set the night before and I read them out loud. I learned this from the story of Mary Kay Ash, founder of the Mary Kay cosmetic empire. So do try to read them out loud.
The next thing I try and do is anything that will elevate my heart rate. I dedicate 15 minutes to simple HIIT, high-intensity interval training… this helps jump start my physiology and really wakes up the body.
You can download the Gymboss Timer app onto any smartphone and it will help you. So HIIT is simply alternating periods of high activity with a shorter period of rest. I try and keep simple and I may do for example:
- Running on the spot with high knees for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds which makes one set. I will repeat this for six sets.
- Next I’ll do burpees if you don’t know what those are do a youtube search.
- 20 seconds of activity pushing it with 10 seconds of rest 6 sets.
- After that, I’ll get in the plank position and do push ups with a lateral movement. (That means I do a pushup, stay in the plank position move one or two steps to the side and do another pushup then move back.) This is good because as I hold my plank it engages my core giving good resistance my upper body and also firing up my stabilizer muscles.
- 20 seconds of activity followed by 10 seconds of rest, 6 sets…after which I will stretch a bit and I’m done with waking my body up.
I then towel down and go into my morning prayer and devotional. I believe that we are tripartite beings. Body, soul and Spirit. And for so for me I take care of the body first because it is the housing or the temple and the residence of the other two. I need it awake and present in order for me to activate my Soul (mind, will, emotions, intellect) and my spirit (my divine essence).
Now that my body is awake I spend some time in prayer. I believe in God. I believe in Him is wisdom that is older than me and a supply that is endless. I’m aware that I may face challenges in the day that are above my own individual experience and expertise.
With God, however, I am confident I will be equal to any and every task that presents itself to me that day because I have a direct connection with the greatest wisdom and ingenuity ever.
During my time of prayer, I try and make thankfulness and gratitude the cornerstone of my communication. The Psalmist says enter His (God’s) gates with Thanksgiving… so I speak out loud all the things I am grateful for. I have found this to help set my mood on a positive plane for the day because it makes me begin my day focusing on the good rather than the negative.
After that in my prayer, I pray for my loved ones, my friends, family and ministry and business partners. I ask for wisdom provision and protection for the day and end with thankfulness again.
When I’m done with prayer to activate the Soul—Mind, intellect, emotion, will etc. I have prepared a guided meditation and a primer.
The guided meditation helps draw my attention to the things I want to be thinking about and focusing on that day. The primer is really just affirmation set to music. I will repeat them, be in the moment present, for I believe in the power of a decree.
After that I’m ready to face my day and the whole thing takes place in 35-40 minutes. Sometimes when I have nothing pressing, I go an hour.
Some may say, I don’t have time and in turn I will say. If you cannot take possession of the first 40 minutes of your day, you need to set better priorities.
My mother had 8 kids and worked full time, but she still began her day with over an hour of prayer. This is important. Make some time for yourself this feeds you, spiritually and emotionally, so that when the demands of the day kick in… you are not running on fumes.