This morning, I got up at 5 a.m. and was going to immediately start working on a project. As an entrepreneur, writer, and father of five — I have far more to do than time in my day.
But instead of jumping immediately into one of my many projects, I decided to give myself some space.
There are certain high-performance habits that ensure you’ll operate at a 10x higher level than if you simply just get to work.
Success is not about how many hours you put it, but the quality of those hours.
In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains the importance of “sharpening the saw.”
Most people go throughout their days as a dull saw, putting more and more time in but getting little back from that time.
It’s really not about how much you work.
It’s not about how much effort you put it in.
It’s about the quality and precision of your efforts.
For example, there are millions of blog posts written every single day. But 99.99% of those blog posts will be read by less than 10 people. On the flip-side, some blog posts are read by millions of people.
Most people operate throughout their day putting lots of time and energy in. But they aren’t actually getting better at what they do.
In the book, Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield said something brilliant. He said, “Addictions embody repetition without progress. They produce incapacity as a payoff.”
Most people’s days embody repetition without progress.
Every day they live, but they aren’t actually getting better. Their future is a repetitious reinforcement of the past.
But there’s another problem in most people’s days beyond repetition without progress, and that is that most people’s days are quite aimless.
They aren’t being guided by a higher power — or by the highest power within themselves — to do the right things in a powerful way with their time.
In other words, most people reactively respond to the demands of their day. The urgency of everything takes over and it’s not apparent that their daily efforts really moved the needle. It’s not apparent that their efforts really made a difference.
10-Minute Morning Routine
There are many applications to morning routines. However, there is one thing that is essential to a morning routine to ensure you spend your time on the best things, and that your efforts are impactful on those best things.
Said again — your morning routine should ensure you’re spending your limited time on the right things. But also, your morning routine should be a process of putting yourself in the right frame of mind to execute at your highest level.
Actually, if you tap into the spiritual and subconscious, you can put yourself into a position where you are executing beyond your highest level on a daily basis. Where your efforts are expanded by a higher power.
It’s really simple.
Before you jump into anything else, give yourself some space. Your compulsion will be to get moving on the urgent.
Don’t do this.
Give yourself space for the important.
The 80/20 rule is a productivity principle explaining that most of the things you spend your time doing aren’t really making an impact.
80% or more of your results come from 20% or less of what you do.
Yet, you continue spending 80% or more of your time on the stuff that doesn’t really matter.
Giving yourself space — even 10 minutes — allows you to think clearly about your goals. To think clearly about your priorities. To think clearly about what matters most to you. And to think clearly about where and what you should be putting your energy into that day.
If you have kids or a morning job — then you should wake up before your kids wake up. I have 5 kids. I know what it feels like to be woken up to my kids being awake.
In those instances, I don’t have 10 minutes to get my head and heart in the right place. I just have to get up and get moving. And when I do this, I’m operating like the millions of blog posts that won’t get any reads.
I’m going to be working but ineffectively.
My kids deserve better.
I deserve better.
You deserve better.
Your kids deserve better.
The purpose of life is to advance forward every single day
In the book, The Laws of Lifetime Growth, Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura have 10 amazing laws.
One of those laws is to always make your learning greater than your experience. Here’s specifically what they way about that:
“You can have a great deal of experience and be no smarter for all the things you’ve done, seen, and heard. Experience alone is no guarantee of lifetime growth. But if you regularly transform your experiences into new lessons, you will make each day of your life a source of growth. The smartest people are those who can transform even the smallest events or situations into breakthroughs in thinking and action.”
Every day, your life should be improving.
Your decision-making should be improving.
Your skills and intelligence should be improving.
Your ability to prioritize and focus your time on those things which truly matter — there and then — should be improving.
But in order to improve, you need a process for putting yourself in the right place.
How you start something usually determines the direction and quality it will go.
Take 10 minutes before anything else to get yourself in the right place, and to ensure you focus on the right things that day.
Here’s a simple outline of how you can do it. But I recommend you develop your own system over time.
- Wake up
- Drink some water (your brain will thank you)
- Go to a quiet or peaceful place
- Say a prayer or do some form of positive meditation
- If you decide to pray, ask God (or whatever you call the higher power) to inspire you with clarity, discernment, and direction for what you should be focusing on that day
- After your prayer and meditation, pull out your journal and answer a question — Sean Stephensen, the famed speaker and therapist explains that journaling is often more effective when answering a question
- Your journal entry, then, could be you free-writing to the question: What should I be focused on today?
- Here are some other questions you could answer as journal-prompts: Who do I need to show up for today? How can I be most helpful? What needs my attention most? What is currently on my schedule today that I should uncommit to?
Answering these types of questions gives you a little space to open your mind to clarity.
You really don’t need that much time.
You can get life-changing and SIMPLE clarity in a few seconds.
The problem is, most people don’t give themselves those seconds. They rush forward.
Those few seconds will come consistently and daily if you make time for them. But you need to create an environment and a mindSET — your “set” and “setting” — that can create powerful insights.
Once you’ve nailed down what you should be focused on, the second half of the journaling session and morning routine is about COMMITMENT.
You want to commit to yourself that you will execute. That you will follow-through. That you’ll operate at the highest level.
You need to make a definitive decision about how the day will go. When you make a decision the universe conspires to make it happen.
Therefore, your morning routine is about getting clarity for the decisions you should be making, and then truly committing to making those decisions real.
Ready to upgrade?
I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
This article first appeared on Medium.