I’ve been trying to start the day in a more mindful way lately. I usually pick up my phone and start scrolling and, even though it’s usually work related, I’m conscious that I’ve got a 6 year old sponge sat next to me who is watching and learning from me.
So I’ve decided to make a change, and I’ve compiled a list of simple, achievable things that I’m going to make an effort to do in a morning instead of jumping on social media. And not one of them involves an early morning workout, a brocolli and kale smoothie or copious amounts of coffee. Here’s the first one for ya!
1. Wake up when its right for you
When I first became self-employed I got caught up the #hustle culture touted by certain entrepreneurs and thought that if I didn’t get up at 5am to smash life then I wasn’t going to be successful.
At the time I had a 3 year old who would wake up THE SECOND I stepped into my office which made any kind of exercise or meditation or early morning emailing impossible.
Telling her that “Mommy’s got to work” just didn’t sit well with me.
So I stopped! I now get up at a time that works for all of us as a family and work begins after the school run. You may be an early morning person who thrives on early morning action (seriously how do you do it…?), or you may be at your peak at 8pm. Either way, listen to your body and don’t fight what feels natural to you 🤍
2. Stay away from your phone when you first wake-up
According to brain performance expert Jim Kwik your brain is highly suggestible first thing in a morning, and when we pick up our phones and get that first hit of dopamine, your mind gets distracted and your productivity suffers as you spend the rest of the day chasing those dopamine feels.
I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now and let me tell you – IT’S SO HARD! It’s such an ingrained habit to hit the ‘Gram or the ‘Book first thing, and when you try to step away from it, that itch to pick up and click is so hard to ignore. It’s been an eye opener for me!
Which takes us to the next three tips:-
3. Get Your Body Moving
We all know that moving our bodies is good for us, and it’s even more important to remember this in these times of uncertainty. So if you’re not holed up in quarantine, why not start the day with a walk or a jog if your body allows.
If you are stuck indoors why not try a 20 minute YouTube workout. Depending on how my body wants to move at the time, I enjoy the short workouts from HasFit and Relentless Fitness, and when I’m not feeling quite so energetic, Yoga by Adrienne is my go-to for connecting back to my body and breath, although I’m SUPER-excited for the upcoming online offerings from all my favourite yogis Eva & Alma The Soul Shala Blossom Well-being
4. Meditation and stillness.
If your body doesn’t want to move today, and it’s super-important that you listen to what it’s saying, then why not do the opposite and try sitting in stillness. Even if it’s for 10 minutes, clearing our minds of chatter can help calm us and return our focus to the present.
If you’re struggling with overwhelming thoughts with everything that’s going on in the world right now, why not try sitting somewhere comfortable and quiet and try to tune out all the madness. If your mind wanders, thats OK…just bring it back to stillness. Even if you can only manage a couple of minutes…it’s a good start…as with anything new, keep practising and you will get better.
5. Practice gratitude
Instead of picking up your phone, and checking the headlines or your social media feed, why not pick up a pen and a pad and write down what you’re grateful for today.
It doesn’t have to be a huge list – it could be as simple as you got to wake up to experience another day.
Handwriting also has the added benefit of helping to spark creativity, and in these times of having to diversify to keep a small business alive, do you need a better excuse than that to head to Paperchase for a new journal?
6. Make your bed
Your Mum will love this tip!
During his 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas, US Admiral William H. McRaven said: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
If your to-do list for the day is overwhelming you, then try not to look at it as a whole. Just take one task and focus on that until it’s completed. Don’t try to multi-task…contrary to popular belief, that is NEVER productive. Concentrate fully on your one task until its complete. Before you realise it, it will be done and you can move on to the next task.
Another way to tackle your list is to break it down into priorities. List 3 tasks that absolutely HAVE to be done today. Then another 3 jobs that would be nice to complete today but could move to tomorrow. Then another 3 tasks that you’d like done by the end of the week. Then the tasks that can be done at any time…you might find that in these days of having more spare time on our hands than usual, some of these tasks could be delegated to your partner, your kids, your relatives
7. Just eat that damn frog already
Every now and then there’s something on my task list that makes me squirm inside – usually anything to do with my car going wrong and calling garages, or sorting out ANY kind of insurance.
If there’s something on your list that you keep procrastinating about, then the best advice I can offer is DO IT FIRST!
I know this isn’t what you want to hear and I feel you! But honestly if you just ‘Eat That Frog’ and get it out of the way at the start of your day when you’re most alert and energetic imagine how good you’ll feel to tackle the rest of your list!
Don’t let yourself get distracted by the nicer things you need to do today…concentrate on that one thing you’ve been putting off. I promise you, from experience, that it won’t be as bad as you think, and it will feel SO SATISFYING to knock it off your list 😎
8. Organize your workspace
If you’re not quite ready to tackle the frog from yesterday’s post, how about starting with a little tadpole?
Getting your workspace ready for the day means you know where everything is, and all distracting clutter is cleared away. Now you can focus on the task at hand. I know for a lot of us, we’re not sure what that task even is, as our clients put our services on hold, but I do have a post coming out on that later 😉
Each day before starting work I have a little ritual: I spritz my plants (and maybe even talk to them….don’t judge me – it seems to be working!), turn on my salt lamp, light a candle, and grab my coffee. And before I finish for the day I make sure my desk is reasonably tidy for the following morning so I’m ready to get stuck in again.
At the moment that ritual has kinda gone out of the window due to Joe Wicks, virtual trips around museums and zoos and generally throwing snacks every 30 minutes in the direction of my mini-me, but I’m sure we’ll find our new normal soon.
9. Schedule your time
Even if you’re a #miraclemorning kinda person, there’s only a finite number of hours in the day to complete your client work. Add children into the mix and you know how quickly those golden hours of school/preschool/playgroup get eaten up!
So how do you maximise your available work time? To begin with you need to list your priorities for the day. This may be a workout, yoga, or taking time for a mindful breakfast, or you might like to smash your work right from the get-go and schedule your exercise/relaxation for later in the day.
Similar to what I talked about in post #6 about making your bed, ask yourself what are the things you MUST get done today. And then look at your available time – be honest with yourself – is your list achievable or are you being a little overambitious 😉
When you have your MUST DO list, you can hopefully prioritise that even further to make sure the most important jobs get done first.
10. Focus on yourself
In the last of these morning routine tips, it’s time to focus on you. With so much going on in our lives, especially at the moment, it’s easy to neglect our own self-care and priorities.
No matter how amazing of a person you are, everyone needs time to rest, play, and learn. If you don’t put yourself in your schedule, then it will get filled with other time requests and eventually you’ll burn out.
ou gotta take care of you Boo 💖
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and how you got on. If you have any tips to add I’d love to hear about them x