Getting honest about what I’m really getting done and taking steps to improve my productivity.
I’ve always been an early riser. Call it the side benefit of having a military man for a father and only being able sleep in if I was sick. But what I dreaded then, I have used as an advantage for decades. In college, I never pulled all-nighters. I would go to bed at a reasonable time around 10 p.m. and get up at 4 or 5 a.m. to finish a paper or study for a test. Before I ever formally studied it, I learned that sleep deprivation is bad for memory consolidation.
But recently I’ve determined I need to up-level my ‘Miracle Morning’. You see, like many of you, I’ve set some big goals for 2017, but nearly 2 months in, I realized I’ve been falling short on some of them and I have to get honest with myself about what I’m really getting done during my early mornings.
For years, I’ve risen before the sun, gotten the “worm” and so many things accomplished, including enjoying some amazing sunrises, like the pink and pale blue one I saw while writing this. I don’t use coffee as a crutch. I often don’t have any until I’ve been up for 4 or 5 hours and I have a coffee curfew, so it doesn’t prevent me from sleeping well later.
I get to bed early at 9 p.m. and rise at 4 a.m. (Don’t worry, I’m a sleep and stress coach and know my unique sleep need is 7 hours). I use my early mornings for my Daily Mind Gym™ practice, working on my side business and exercising.
On first blush, you may be thinking that I’m doing pretty well getting the most of my mornings before the demands of family and work kick in. But, I’ve been lying to myself. I haven’t been doing all of the right things in my morning and have let the edge I have gained with my early morning routine dull a bit. That wake up call has led me to come up with 4 ways I am up-leveling my ‘miracle morning’ that might help you too.
1. Adjusting habits to hit the Life S.A.V.E.R.S. every day
If you haven’t read The Miracle Morning or one of its follow-ups, you should. Strangely, I had heard about it for years, but just recently picked up a copy of The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers. The book explains that having a Miracle Morning that helps you reach your goals includes a time block for each of the letters of the acronym: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading and Scribing (aka journaling).
Reading the book led me to see that my Daily Mind Gym practice, a practice that combines elements of meditation, visualization, affirmation and emotional wellness, already includes some of the SAVERS activities but I need to do them all daily instead of in rotation, for the greatest benefit. I know the power of mindset shifts and that’s why I incorporate these practices, but getting them all in every day will be even more powerful. Light bulb moment!
2. Focusing on results driven tasks
I’ve got 10 months to go to hit my goals, and I’m just not moving fast enough. I attended a webinar with Kate McShea, and she really called me out. I had fallen into a habit of doing the ‘important’, but not the ‘urgent’ that will deliver the results I want.
More specifically, I’ve been doing more of what she calls Preparation Tasks (PTs) — the things that fill up your to-do list, instead of focusing the majority of my time block on what she calls Results Driven Tasks (RDTs) — the tasks that really move you toward reaching your goals. She recommends a laser focus on RDTs by splitting your defined time blocks into 60% RDTs, 35% PTs and 5% Distraction Tasks. She’s spot on and I see where I was making mistakes. I also appreciate that she’s kind enough to include the 5% for the distractions that may come from a scroll of my Facebook newsfeed, but she insists those be defined by a timer. I’m a big fan of timers, so I’m implementing that one as well.
3. Serving more people
I try to run my business by this quote:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar
And the reality is, many people in the world are hurting and they want it to stop. Underneath all of those angry posts and comment threads on social media and news sites, lies hurt, and where there’s hurt, there’s stress.
People need strategies to feel less stressed so they can get past the hurt and anger and get to real dialog and solutions. Helping people manage stress is what I do, and I need to do that on a greater scale. Using my morning time to work on Results Driven Tasks to serve more people is a big opportunity for 2017.
4. Earning the celebration
Don’t think that with all of this early morning productivity I don’t have fun. I definitely do and you should, too. I plan fun and relaxation regularly.
Having a big reward to work towards is a powerful motivator. I plan to take the family to Disney World this year, but I will earn it through my focused work, and the celebration will be that much sweeter. I’m even planning to make it a business trip — more RDTs and the tax benefits to boot!
So here’s what my before-work ‘miracle morning’ looks like now using the Seconds app. It’s an interval timer app designed for exercise, but it works great for keeping me on track with my more defined morning. You can see that it’s alright to rearrange the SAVERS as long as you get them all in.
So there it is. My honest assessment of where I’ve been falling short and how I will improve my daily routine.
Tell me. What are your goals for 2017? How are you tracking towards them? Are there activities or causes you want to support with more time and money?
Think about what those goals are and how you can create your own miracle morning to achieve them. If you need help, leave a comment, I’d be happy to offer some ideas. And if you already have a miracle morning, please share it.
Originally published at medium.com