The First Rule For a Great Day: Own The Morning
The alarm goes off, and the day begins. You stumble out of bed, bleary-eyed and barely awake. As the morning gears up, your mind is racing. You need to check the weather, get dressed for work, grab breakfast, and then head out the door. It’s hard to find time for everything you need to do in the morning.
The morning can be a hectic time as we’re trying to make all of our normal routines fit into just a few short hours before going to work, or wherever else we need to be. But if we make it a priority to start our days off right with some simple rituals, we’ll set ourselves up for a great day.
One of such habits is getting our high-value tasks done before noon.
The first half of the day is a golden opportunity to get almost all your high-value work done.
Your most precious and productive hours are the first fours hours — it’s the time we are focused and full of energy. It pays to block off time for your most important work in the morning. I do all my writing in the morning. I feel more refreshed and alert in the morning, so I’ve scheduled to write my Medium posts before noon.
“Concentrate on what’s in front of you like a Roman. Do it like it’s the last and most important thing in your life, Marcus Aurelius said.
If I’m not able to write in the morning, I move the post-in-progress to the first thing on my list for the following morning. And attend to my other planned tasks for the day. Winning your first half of the day is the key to winning the day. It sets a massive motivation for the rest of the day. You probably have other productive things or rituals you do every morning. If you can fit in “deep work,” you will be off to a great start.
Apart from my morning stretches, I go for a walk before starting work. These planned habits prepare my mind for work. A body in motion does wonders for the brain. “We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing, Seneca once said.
We tend to be more vigilant in the morning, so carve out a few hours for your high-priority work. Don’t do reactive work. Be proactive about how you spend your mornings. Getting your best work done or even the most challenging task done in the morning means you don’t have to rush to get it done or waste a lot of time trying. Mark Twain said, “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.”
If you can tick off the one thing you need to get done to call your day productive, you will feel motivated to begin the next day right.
To set yourself up for a good morning, decide what’s important before your last productive day ends.
Don’t choose your most important task in the morning — save your mental energy and time for your work. The fewer decisions you make in the morning, the more time and energy you can reserve for your work.
For a successful morning, create a routine that brings out the best in you before lunchtime. Choose a few essential micro-habits and routines you can commit to every day and use them to set yourself up for a good day almost every day. You can test different rituals and habits around your “focused work or deep work”. Everything you do before you start working on your high-value work should encourage productive work.
“Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have,” says Lemony Snicket.
You don’t have to be a morning person to get things done in the morning. You only need a few “focused work” sessions, and your day is off to a great start. The secret is getting going to sleep at the right time.
Your morning routine can make or break your day.
It pays to rethink what your mornings should look like.