When you are in the race for peak productivity, the start of a day really matters. Like any race there is a start and a finish for productive days too. If you have watched athletes prepare for a sprint, they take a couple of minutes before the start of the race to set the mental state, to run through their goals and primary focus for the match. Something similar for productive days is called setting the pace. Even if you don’t follow rules like a robot, sticking to the general idea of a great start through the week will maximize your productive days.
Its tempting to check your messages and email as you stumble out of bed. I used that as a simple example of a habit that could potentially break your day, just think about what are the first few things you do in the morning.
The mind is very sophisticated, but has a habit of wanting to continue thoughts till you consciously ask it to stop. If you start reading a lousy email first thing in the morning, your mind really loves to continue to think, catch onto the next thought and happiy take over all your processing while you stumble out wondering if you brushed your teeth well enough, how strange you couldn’t remember.
I have tried sticking to a simple wake up routine for many years and it’s been helpful.
First thing in the morning, observe what thoughts are trying to get into your mind. The simple act of observing slows your mind. If you like chanting or prayers start with one, otherwise just count upto a hundred slowly and clearly to yourself, thats it!
The simple act of observing slows your mind.
At the start of your day if you can set aside 5 minutes of contemplation or silence to think over what lies ahead. It makes a world of difference to how much more satisfactory the day goes. You can call it quiet time, meditation, planning time or whatever name that suits you, but its a fixed few minutes at the start of the day to reflect on what needs to be done today and your primary focus if all else fails for whatever reason. Sounds simple and it works.
Set aside 5 minutes of contemplation or silence to think over what lies ahead.
Two steps to make a great start for the day
1. Start with a prayer, chant, or just a gentle count to hundred or more as you open your eyes
2. Set aside five minutes of quiet time before heading out to work, you have to physically sit still and think about what you need to do today and what primary task needs to be done if all else fails.
Think about what primary task needs to be done if all else fails.
Nothing can ever go as per plan, so a primary task acts as the anchor around which you can rearrange the day. It could be an office or personal task you have to finish, sometimes it could be a time you have to keep up. Something like prepare the presentation, pick up kids on time or just make the build work without errors.
Give it a try or better still let me know what works for you.