I had a terrible habit for around 8 years of my professional life, I started and ended my day in a very reactive mode. In the morning I would check my email and at night I would repeat. Yes, I had systems of prioritizing work, but this was one habit that lingered. It created an environment that prioritized doing over thinking, actions over planning and a general sense of let’s put out this fire now. I really do think, although these skills are incredibly useful, we all need moments of mental clarity — specifically when we wake up, and before we goto sleep.
Your first hour of the morning
Creating a recurring habit in the morning can be your catalyst for success and change. It can be exercising, reading, writing, meditating, or really anything that helps you grow as a person. I’ve found that when I wake up in the morning with problems, concerns, ideas and a general ‘head full of stuff’ it helps to write it all down in a journal. It can be really hard for people to relate to the challenges or journey in your life, so writing can be a therapeutic way to organize your mind and help eliminate your mental hurdles. Consider it exercise for the mind.
Your last hour of the day
By the end of the day, you’re drained, tired and ready to watch tv or check YouTube. I challenge you to put down your phone and pick up a book or article on anything you enjoy that’s not related to your work. Why not take time to plan the next 24 hours of your next day, or assess the wins and accomplishments of the week? What weekly goal are you working towards, and are you taking the right steps? What’s one thing on your list you didn’t accomplish today — is it really that important?
Taking time to reflect on your day and goals will help you really understand if the goals you’ve set for yourself are that important. Instead of saying “I didn’t have time to do it today, tell yourself, “this wasn’t a priority for me”. How does that make you feel? During the first and last hour of your day, hide your cell phone and don’t check your email. This is your chance to nourish your mind and congratulate yourself on a day well done. The world can wait.