Would you like to get out of the starting blocks faster when your alarm clock sounds?
If so, you need a morning ritual or routine you adhere to without question. Beethoven, for example, went for an early morning walk each day with a pocket notebook to capture ideas before composing.
He did all right.
In The Creative Habit, American choreographer Twyla Tharp explained,
“It’s Pavlovian: Follow the routine, (and) get a creative pay off.”
So what rituals can you follow to rise up and start the day the right way?
1. Leave A Note To Yourself
Write a single sentence on an adhesive note, and affix it somewhere where you’ll see — for example on your keyboard.
That way when you sit down to work each morning, you’ll see immediately what you have to do before checking your feeds. Think of it as a mental queue to get to work!
2. Build A Personal Library Of Inspirational Quotes
Keep your personal library of quotes from writers, business people and others that inspire you, and scan it each morning.
If you read on Kindle you can access all of your notes using the Kindle Cloud Reader.
You can also use a website like Brainyquote.com to find inspirational quotes and ideas. I like to file these in Evernote.
3. Shorten Email To The Point Of Rudeness
Fun fact about email: Many recipients don’t like receiving long emails because they take time to decipher.
Another fun fact: Your emails are probably read once or twice before being archived.
Maybe being direct isn’t rude, but why waste your recipient’s time? Shorten your emails to a sentence or two, a series of bullet points or a quick summary.
If you’ve more to convey, record a video, write it up as a blog post or update your company wiki or documentation. This way, you can refer people to your work instead of writing a similar email a week or a month later.
4. Consume 30 mg of Protein
As recommended by Tim Ferriss in The Four Hour Body, eating this much protein first thing will help you avoid hunger pangs and sugar slumps during the morning.
Consuming protein will also help you lose weight and recover from an early morning workout session faster.
5. Tidy Up
Is your workspace covered in papers, cups and trinkets from yesterday’s work? Put away your notes. Rearrange your tools. Clear off whatever’s on your desk that you don’t need.
Give yourself a clear space to start afresh. Tidying up acts as a mini-reset for moments of procrastination.
6. Complete This Sentence…
“I’m grateful for…”
If you wake up and you find yourself in a black mood (It’s been known to happen to me!), reflect on what went well during the previous 24 hours.
You could express gratitude for a tangible experience like the taste of your morning coffee. Or it could be something high-level like a kind gesture someone did for you.
7. Turn Off Wireless For An Hour
Several years ago, I was a member of a creative writing group in Dublin.
A writer struggling with procrastination explained she liked to leave her modem in the attic to avoid distractions.
If you work in an office, your colleagues won’t thank you for disconnecting their internet! However, you could turn off your wireless for 30 to 60 minutes and focus on one important task before life interrupts.
8. Add One Task Each Day To Your Not-To-Do List
I keep a running tally of things that I don’t want to do or have no plans to do.
Cultivating this list helps me unload my subconscious. It’s also a great way of pruning my To Do list if it feels overwhelming.
I like re-reviewing my not-to-do list on Fridays to see if I missed something important.
Create Your Ritual
Remember these daily rituals might sound odd, and what works for one person might not work for you. The trick is to experiment to find and create a daily ritual that helps you get out of the starting blocks faster.