I would consider “morning hours” the first two hours after waking up. The average person will experience approximately 50,000 of these hours in their adult life. Consequently, it would be wise to for us to learn how to effectively use this time.
While many of us use this time to ease into our day, I’ve developed the ability to turn these hours into a productivity machine.
As entrepreneurs, the goal of productivity is freedom, not achievement. It’s to manage your time so well you are able to spend your remaining hours doing the things you truly love (hobbies, family, friends, etc.).
Furthermore, it’s my belief that our time is our most important asset. You can’t make more of it. It’s always running out. And it’s the basis of all great memories.
On that note, here are my five steps to an insanely productive morning
1. 10 Minutes of Critical Preparation Before Bed
I get to bed between 10:30-Midnight seven days per week. But before I hit the pillow, I write down the following day’s tasks. I don’t use an app; I use a simple 3×5 card. First, I add the date and 5-10 tasks (including items I didn’t finish from the previous task day). Next, I add numbers next to each item to represent priority. #1 being the most critical and so forth. Then, lights out. No T.V. and no phone.
2. 10 Minutes of Stretch Time
From the moment I wake up, it’s game time. But that doesn’t mean I jump directly onto Instagram or email. I get up and go through a basic stretching routine right on the floor next to my bed. I focus on my breathing and often spend a few minutes talking to God. Then I walk to my phone and start the day.
3. Reward Yourself With Food
The #1 item on my list is always a beast. It’s the task I don’t feel like doing–especially 10 minutes after I’ve woken up. But I do it. Because if I don’t, I can’t eat. You heard that right. I don’t allow myself breakfast until I finish my first task. Sometimes it takes me 15 minutes, sometimes an hour. But I crush through it and then make myself a healthy meal.
4. Quick, Healthy Meal
When productivity is the goal, there is no time for a 30 min breakfast. But at the same token, success is nothing without your health. So I’ve stocked up on organic items that take less than 5-10 minutes to prepare–bananas, organic oatmeal, egg whites, and granola bars. I eat while focusing on the next item on my list.
5. Power Window of Quiet, Focus Time:
Lastly, I spend the remaining 30-60 minutes of my morning in a quiet place where I can focus. No interruptions. The phone goes on airplane mode. Email is not a priority unless it’s on my list. This is where I often crush through 2-3 more critical items for the day. Then, I take my first 30-minute break.
It’s important to note, I stop working completely at 6 pm. No matter what. No matter how important it may be. Work stops at SIX. It allows me to look back at the day’s hustle and shift my focus toward my wife and children. It’s at this moment where I think, “it was all worth it.”
Productivity without healthy relationships is nothing. Success at work without a strong home life is nothing. Let your time be used for great things, but never get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
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What helps you have a productive morning? Share your tips with me in the comments below.