Do you want to know one of the best things you can do to lead a more productive life? Start a morning routine.
You know the old saying, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. This advice works well for me and countless others. I have talked about my routine on a previous blog post here LINK.
I have steadily increased the number of tasks I tackle each morning, in part due to waking up a little earlier each day. Lately, I have found that I am scrambling to get everything done before I head off to work and I feel like I am rushing so much that I am losing the benefit.
I decided to pare down what I do based on one principle I live by; focus on what is important. This ties in nicely with my OBG, or the One Big Goal of the day. In the case of the OBG, I make sure that I at least complete my most important goal each day and shoot for completing this task as early in the day as possible, keeping in mind to make the task small enough that I will tackle it and complete it.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME RIGHT NOW?
So, step one was to review my morning routine and decide what is important to me and moving me forward towards my lifetime goals.
The remaining tasks were moved to a list I keep for the weekend.
Here is what remained:
1. Memorize Scripture – I have over forty verses memorized and want to keep this up. I memorize two new verses each month and review ten each day.
2. Daily Affirmations – I am still not sure if these help or not, but I will keep them in my routine as they don’t take very long. I have statements related to my relationships, spiritual growth, finances, physical health, and mental growth.
3. Writing – I find great benefit in writing and I write 500 words per day. Lots of people recommend 1000 words per day, but I found I was skipping days because the task was too daunting. 500 words per day is achievable for me. I use the time to journal my thoughts, frustrations, things I’m grateful for, what I’m struggling with, as well as ideas for blog posts. In addition to writing, I read two to four blog posts and take online grammar lessons.
4. Finances – A review of my finances is next, I start with looking at my retirement account balances and how the market performed the day before. I review what the futures market is showing for stocks, as this is usually a pretty good indicator how the day will go. Lastly, I review technical charts of company stock prices to look for trading opportunities. I began an educational course in learning to trade options and have done well with it, and can see myself using this knowledge well into my retirement years.
5. Meditation – I started doing meditation this year and find it helpful. I only spend about ten minutes doing it and it is always the last thing I do in my morning routine, just before I leave for work.
What Did I Remove?
These are things I will still explore and develop but only as time permits and maybe on weekends.
1. Learning Spanish – I have been using the site Duolingo LINK for a few months now to learn to read, write and hear the Spanish language. I still want to learn several languages, but will move this to the weekend and a few evenings rather than in my morning routine. Time saved 20 minutes
2. Google Analytics- While this task doesn’t take a lot of time, I decided to only review this on Saturday. Time saved 5 minutes.
3. Vocabulary – I study vocabulary words using the site Vocabulary.com LINK to learn new words. I moved these words to an Outlook task that pops up once per hour at work. I add new words every week. Time saved 10 minutes.
4. Business Principles – I have a list of business principles from Maverick and Kekich that I used to review in the morning. I have been doing this for over a year and they have become ingrained in me. I will move reviewing these to Saturday and I’ll review five at a time. Time saved one minute.
5. Idea List – James Altucher recommends in his book “Choose Yourself” to come up with ten ideas per day to develop your idea muscle. I like this idea, but will move it to later in the day rather than part of my morning routine. Time saved 15 minutes.
Total time saved per day during my morning routine is 51 minutes. This is an extra 221 hours per year to focus on writing and studying the financial markets and charts.
If you don’t currently have a morning routine (also develop an evening routine), I encourage you to do so by gradually waking up earlier every day until you have an extra two hours before you leave for work. Use this time to habitually work on tasks that will lead you to your lifetime goals and dreams. Review your routines a couple times per year to make sure you don’t have any scope creep and remove tasks that are not your most important, to simplify your morning routine. It is very easy, once you get rolling with developing good habits, to want to develop even more good habits and you end up sabotaging the ones that you should be working on. Pick one per year and work on that new habit, but only if it doesn’t hamper your main goals.