A lot of successful overachievers in the world have one thing in common that separates their days from the rest – They have a morning routine.
A morning routine just doesn’t mean waking up, bathing and going to work. A morning routine sets up your day for success and focus like no other. The most popular book in this space is the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which outlines six principles called the S.A.V.E.R.S.
PS : I have personally followed this and it works wonders!
1. Silence – Meditation for at least 15 minutes and like Bruce Lee said in his famous video “Emptying your mind” and making your head clear. Meditation has a lot of positives and keeping your mind fresh is probably the most important thing.
2. Affirmation – You encourage yourself with positive thinking and words. Think of this, as something a boxing coach would tell a boxer before a fight. We are our biggest supporters and talking to yourself with positive words would give you the necessary push to start off the day well.
3. Visualization – Picturing yourself as successful and in the place you want to be. Some successful people are called visionaries, because they can think of what the future looks like and go execute their dreams. Visualizing helps everybody focus on a very clear goal.
4. Exercise – Working up your heart rate and pushing yourself, so you can be physically and mentally prepared for bigger tasks in the day. There are about a million articles that talk about the benefits of exercise. But one thing I would say is exercise helps in creating new neurons in the brain which help you learn faster and quicker. The first step to curing depression is exercise.
5. Reading – Going through fives pages of an inspiring book. Reading some inspirational content first thing in the morning really perks you up, and this is a book or article chosen by you.
6. Scribing – Getting your creative juices flowing and putting your thoughts in to words. Successful people put work out there. Writing helps you channel your thoughts and put it out in a meaningful manner. It also helps in validating your thoughts, when people appreciate your work.
Now what do all these above points have in common?
These are things that you want to do and it isn’t a reaction to something else. Checking mails first thing in morning is possibly the most reactive thing that one could do. Why?
E-mails are filled with call to actions that other people want you to perform. It could be
1. People selling you stuff –
Whether we like it or not, we subscribe to blogs and our Inboxes are filled with e-mails selling a product or a service. Have you seen the subject line on some of those mails? They are so catchy and they make it look like they have answers to all your problems. The sad part is you might not have any of those problems. These mails also invoke a very strong case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Here is an example
Thank you kind stranger but no, my domain name is not going to be hacked!
2. Mails from co-workers and clients that isn’t ordered based on priority –
We get work e-mails that are important, but they aren’t prioritized. This means the latest e-mail you see will trigger an action response and you will start working on it immediately, now that e-mail may not be important compared to the others you received. You have to start off the day with the toughest task to give your day a boost. When you start off the day completing a big task it sets up your day for success. When you have the most energy, you need to put your best work out there. Read about Eating that Frog for an idea of this concept.
3. News that can alter your mood –
E-mails are inundated with news and the latest happenings of the world. A lot of times we don’t remember to unsubscribe. Starting your day off with positivity is key. A small news article like a terrorist bombing can instantly switch your mood. News just like television isn’t choice; the news websites (Including social networking sites such as Facebook) decide for you what you should be seeing.
4. Random mails that make you procrastinate –
We’ve all subscribed to that website with funny articles, viral videos and more. This is a recipe for disaster. Imagine the first thing you do after waking up and you open your e-mail and there’s a click bait article that you completely relate to. You visit the website and there are 2 or 3 other articles with really appealing content. Now what happens? You are 35 minutes in and you’ve just read a bunch of gibberish that adds no value to your life. This breeds procrastination.
5. Avoid decision fatigue.
Do you know why famous people like Mark Zuckerberg, President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs wear the same style of clothes everyday? If your answer was fashion statement, then it’s wrong. They want to avoid what in psychology is called decision fatigue. Decision fatigue in simple terms is “Deterioration of decision making skills when you have a choice to make or you have to decide on something”.
If your spouse asks you “Does the red dress look better or the black dress look better?” You are using your precision decision making part of your brain. If you take a host of decisions like this, you end up tiring your brain.
E-mails are a bunch of decisions, whether to act upon something or not, whether to read an article or not, whether to reply immediately or not. Every single e-mail expects a response and sub-consciously you end up taking decisions and tire yourself.
How to handle morning itching of checking emails?
So far you have understood the downside of checking emails in the morning & you are now probably relating yourself to many of the poins listed above. If yes, then you are already in the path of making your morning meaningful.
1. Apart from the incredible morning routine mentioned above, do your best work first thing in the morning. If it’s that blog post, presentation or a piece of code you have to write.
2. Your e-mail is not you to-do list. So create one the previous night and work on your to-do list first thing in the morning. I prefer using Wunderlist to create & manage my To-do list. This also helps me to quickly assign any task to somebody else. (especially when I’m running behind the schedule)
3. A lot of people check their e-mails only in the afternoon when they are most sluggish.
4. Tell people around to call you if there is anything important and if they send you a mail tell them to expect a mail only within a few hours.
5. If you can’t avoid e-mails first thing in the morning. Prioritize your inbox and keep the most important items in your main inbox.
Well, successful people have different ways of managing their email but one thing which is common in between them: Emails is not the way to start a day. If you are doing it; it’s the right time to skip this bad habit & do something which would make your day count.
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