I was twenty-four and had just landed my first corporate job. I had my own cubicle; my “group” met every Monday and Friday morning to plan and review the week. My Manager had a Manager, who had a Section Manager, who reported to the Division Manager.
Once a month we all attended a workshop on various topics of interest to our Managers. My very first workshop changed my work life forever. The topic was something like “Planning for Success.”
I have no idea who the speaker was or what else she said about success, but one tiny five-minute sidebar changed my workdays from that day forward. Her exact words were:
“What you do from the time you wake up until you get to work is more important than any other section of time in your day.”
What? I thought. My shower and breakfast are more important than what I do at work or in the evening with my partner? I was interested, very interested, here are the basics of what she said.
We are all tied to our internal clocks. We are hard-wired to look at each day as a success or a failure. Starting a day poorly will affect you for the next 24 hours and sometimes beyond.
A lazy, slow or late start gets you going in all the wrong directions. While a calm, productive start will last you all day.
She went on to talk about several studies of “highly successful” people. They all seemed to have a morning routine that worked for them. And most of the morning cycles involved two distinct elements.
First, they took care of their bodies. Though what they identified as a “healthy breakfast” none of them skipped the first meal of the day. Sure, what they ate varied widely, but to a person, they had refined over the years was the best “starter fuel” for their body. Most of them also did some form of exercise, usually a light workout of 15 to 20 minutes.
Second, they nurtured their minds with some form of introspection. Some meditated, others read inspirational or motivational words. Prayer in a wide variety of forms was mentioned, as was writing in a diary or journal.
The key element seemed to be the routine. Whatever they had worked out over time was what ideally motivated them to begin their day.
What was also clear was that on those occasions when they did not arise to their morning routine because of business travel or a vacation; they would either compensate with a modified routine or, in the case of the vacation, do something as a substitute, like relax, rest, or use a more gentle morning routine.
What do you do each morning? Do you have a routine or do you being your day with chaos?