One of the best ways I’ve found to be productive during the day is lingering in bed after waking up. Each morning, I turn my alarm clock off and get back into bed to spend some time quietly thinking and praying. That early morning routine may seem like a waste of time when I could be charging into my daily to-do list tasks right away. But, ironically, making time for wonder in the stillness of a new day motivates me to be more productive throughout the day than I could be otherwise.
Just a few minutes of time spent seeking morning inspiration is a wise investment to make in our busy schedules. It shows us that the day we’re about to begin is a valuable gift — one that we should use to the fullest. It also clarifies what’s most important, empowering us to let go of unimportant activities for the day and devote our limited time and energy to what’s truly significant. The result is that we’re motivated to give our full attention to our daily activities, making us more productive in the process.
Here are some easy ways to start your day with wonder:
· Record whatever details you can remember about your dreams from the night before. Ponder the symbolism of what you’ve dreamed about, and what it may mean for you. What can you learn from your dreams that will help you live wisely while you’re awake?
· Think about how best to plan the day in front of you. Pray or mediate for guidance about your plans for this day. Do they represent what’s really best for you, or not? What changes do you think you should make in order to focus on what’s most important for today?
· Recognize negative thoughts and change them to positive thoughts. Confront unhealthy thoughts such as worry or bitterness. Don’t let them grow in your mind, since your thoughts lead to attitudes and actions that shape the direction of your day. Choose a positive focus for your day by replacing negativity with inspiring thoughts. Intentionally think of something or someone you’re grateful for, and that will help you notice more blessings, which will bring your mind into a positive state.
· Look forward to learning something new during the day. Each new day is a great opportunity to learn something new. What questions are you curious about? What problems do you hope to solve? What discoveries would you like to make? Go into your day with an open mind and the expectation that you’ll learn something valuable today.
· Decide to enjoy your day, no matter what circumstances it brings you. By going into your day with the intention of enjoying it, you’re maximizing your ability to have positive experiences. Expect something good to happen in the midst of even the worst circumstances — then when it does, you’ll notice and appreciate it. Plan blocks of time throughout your day to restore your body and soul through activities you enjoy — from taking a walk outdoors, to snacking on one of your favorite foods. You can look forward to even the most stressful days when you plan to take breaks for bits of fun.
So make time for wonder in the morning whenever you can before the day’s responsibilities hit you with full force. It’s never a waste of time to seek inspiration. When you’re in the middle of your daily grind, you’ll be glad you did, because that inspiration will motivate you to do your tasks wholeheartedly — which will increase your productivity. It’s ironic, but true: Making time for wonder makes your time more productive.
Whitney Hopler works as Communications Director at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB) and has written for many media organizations, from About.com to the Washington Post. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and connect with CWB on Twitter and Facebook.