After almost 200 podcast episodes under my belt, one of my favorite questions to ask my guests is about their morning routine. There’s just something so interesting about how people start their days. What do they do first thing in the morning? Do they drink coffee? Work out? When does their work day start? My schedule is constantly evolving and I find making small tweaks to my morning habits have made such a major impact on my work days and overall sense of well being. It’s smart to consistently re-evaluate this for yourself for different seasons in your business and life.
So today I want to share some tips I’ve learned along the way and I hope they inspire you to start your days better and infuse some joy, nature and present moments into your work days. I know we’d rather work 80 hours a week for ourselves than clocking 40 for anyone else, but trust me when I say, the days can get long and sometimes? We can work smarter and accomplish more by prioritizing seemingly unproductive tasks that add value in other ways.
How to start your day
If there was ONE thing you accomplish today to consider it a success, what would that be? This doesn’t have to be any huge check off your to-do list. It could be keeping that commitment to yourself to meditate that you always skip, calling a friend you haven’t talked to in forever, or taking a tiny step towards a major goal of yours. Sometimes these things that aren’t on typical to-do lists to accomplish for the day have the biggest impact on our mood, sense of worth or happiness and deserve to be a priority in our day. I love to start my day identifying these things so I start with a clear picture of what’s important to me.
I share more about my specific morning routine on a bonus episode of The Goal Digger Podcast: 5 things to do before picking up your phone including things like daily gratitude, fresh air, yoga and a glass of water. Check it out if you want to see how I personally start my day!
In this podcast episode, Melissa Ambrosini said that she dedicates the first full two hours of her day focused on what fills her up and brings joy. Whether it’s a swim in the ocean, meditation, quality time with her husband or yoga. She believes that unless you’re filled up from the beginning you won’t be able to pour yourself out for your business, family and to-do list each day.
I love this because I think far to often as women entrepreneurs, wives, mothers – we will too often self-sacrifice in the name of getting more done and in the end, it’s a disservice to ourselves and those around us. As busy entrepreneurs, we can’t leave the things that fill us up to chance or they just won’t happen. We need to prioritize them in our schedule.
Crafting a schedule around YOUR flow states
What is a flow state? When is the best time for you personally to work? Is it first thing when your mind is fresh and rested? Is it after a workout when the endorphins kick in? Is it while burning the midnight oil and the house is quiet? I want to challenge you to prioritize your most important work during this time. If you’re not sure when it is for you personally, tune in the next time you get in the zone, where the work comes easily and time passes by quickly. It’s likely this is when you’re able to create your best work. Trust me, the quality of work you produce will not only improve but also the time it takes to create it.
The other stuff that needs to get done? Schedule that for when you’re working but less productive and set a timer. Too often we check our emails first, put out other people’s fires and address their priorities when in reality it should be the other way around.
Knowing how important this is, I don’t run regular business hours for my team and allow them to work when it makes sense for their personal habits and schedule. As long as they’re getting their work done, I’m not concerned about the when.
The other thing that has helped me in getting in my flow state and working in my genius zone is by tuning in and trusting my intuition more. I call this my gut game, and I’ve found the more I listen to my intuition the more I’ve been able to achieve a flow state and work in my zone of genius. My best creative ideas flowed naturally when I start my day mindfully and with meditation. You can hear about my meditation journey in the episode Why Meditation is a Must-Do for Success and hear Leah Weiss’s morning routine as well. As entrepreneurs sometimes we can spending time on things like meditation or sitting quietly as time lost, but I truly believe this practice helps us to get in alignment with what’s important, working in our genius zones and tuning in to our best work.
Fueling your body well
Have you skipped a meal or eaten something quick in lieu of a quality meal in the name of productivity? I’m certainly guilty of this and it wasn’t really until Sarah of Simply Real Health came on the podcast that I saw this differently. She explains food can be energy boosting or energy draining. Sure, we may be saving time with a quick meal, but what if we instead focused on fueling our bodies well, so that we will have more energy and feel better during our work days? Check out this episode all about how you can eat your way to business success and really consider sitting down to nutritious meals as part of your workday. Sarah says to think of food from a productivity standpoint and enjoy the process of investing in the food you put into your body.
The truth is there is no perfect work from home schedule. But there IS a perfect schedule for you and it’s worth the time to figure out what that looks like for you. Honor your best work on your calendar, fuel your body and soul well and prioritize what brings you joy while giving yourself grace for that unfinished checklist. Coming from a recovering workaholic, I can tell you from the other side that working smarter on what matters and prioritizing what fuels me (both with food and activities) will not only impact your quality of life but your bottom line too.
Looking for more resources on the topic? Check out the book Design your day by Claire Diaz-Ortiz all about being more productive, setting better goals and living life on purpose. Another great read on the topic is 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam.