Time is stable, it’s dependable. It is the one thing we can all rely on to never let us down.
We all get 168 hours in a week to get done all the things we need to.
And, yet over and over again I hear the same reasons why people don’t implement their learning from workshops they have attended – either with me through my clients or with other companies:
"Kerry, I just don't have enough time."
As Jackson H Brown so eloquently wrote:
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You were given the same amount of hours that were given to Helen Keller, Henry Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein
While I acknowledge and identify with the challenges that time provides, I also have recognised and worked hard over my adult lifetime to focus on the things that matter to me so that I become strong in my "weak places".
My Personal Context for Productivity
This became especially important when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. I was 20 years old at the time and her courageous walk with cancer will live with me and our family all the days of my life.
One of the most important lessons she taught was the importance of daily moments of intimacy, love and kindness. The rituals of being vulnerable in loving others and ensuring they know it deeply.
Six Productivity Rituals and Routines Ultra-Successful People Practice.....
One: Start Early
Most of the successful men and women have one thing in common. They start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think, and plan their day. When you get up early, you are more calm, creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels starts going down which affects your productivity and you don’t perform as well.
Waking a few hours earlier has been linked to a slew of benefits:
To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald,
“the morning people are different from you and me”
Early birds are more proactive than evening people – and so they do well in business, says Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany.
"When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards," Randler told the Harvard Business Review of his research, some of which originally appeared in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
"They tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges, which then leads to better job opportunities.
Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them.
Not that evening people are life's losers: They're smarter and more creative, and have a better sense of humour, other studies have shown.
Which brings me to an extension of this tip which links beautifully to this one.....
Keep the same morning routine, even on weekends
Do you get up at 5 a.m. on Fridays? Do the same on Saturdays and Sundays. It’ll make waking up again on Monday morning easier.
** For more detail about the benefits of waking up early, check out this great article by Health Ambition.
Two: Pace Yourself
How many of you read emails or take calls during our commutes, then go right to our desks where you move back and forth between projects and communications for hours at a time?
Sound like your day?
Well, the truth is we are not designed to work this way. Our bodies and minds follow a daily cycle called a circadian rhythm – “physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment”. (sunrise and sunset)
During the day, we cycle through ultradian rhythms. These are periods where we are more and less-focused.
The ideal rhythm is to work four or five 90-minute chunks throughout the day, with breaks in-between.
A good practice is to schedule three important tasks a day that you can fit into these segments, and set a timer (not on your phone!) to manage your rhythm. Or if you are tuned-in to your body’s signals, just notice when you get restless, groggy or lose focus. That means it’s time for a 15-minute break.
Watch the video below on the Science of Productivity to reinforce and expand on this message.
Three: Practice a Consistent Morning Routine
Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning shares,
“While most people focus on ‘doing’ more to achieve more, The Miracle Morning is about focusing on ‘becoming’ more so that you can start doing less, to achieve more.
Some ideas for morning rituals include:
- Nurturing your body in the morning with water, a healthy breakfast and light exercise.
- Nurturing your mind with meditation or prayer, inspirational reading, and journaling.
Source: A complete guide to Designing Your Morning Routine to Double Your Productivity by Sean Kim
A powerful way to optimize your morning habit is to simply follow what’s working for the successful people you admire.
“Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal.” — Pablo Picasso
1. Tony Robbins
If you thought putting on a 60-minute presentation was difficult, meet Tony Robbins.
Tony makes a living from putting on 50 to 70 hour presentations over the span of a weekend, and he’s been doing this for the past three decades.
“Tony’s Power Is Superhuman… He’s A Catalyst For Change. I Want To Eat What He Eats, Drink What He Drinks — I Just Want To Do What He Does!” — Oprah Winfrey
Check out how Tony does it below in his: “Full Hour of Power”:
2. Paul J. Mitchell
DeJoria, the cofounder of Patrón tequila and Paul Mitchell hair products, starts every morning with five minutes of quiet reflection.
“The very second I wake up, I stay in bed for about five minutes and just be.” — Paul J. Mitchell
During those five minutes, he tries to be truly ‘present,’ and is grateful for what he has.
From there, he examines his schedule for the day on his calendar, checks in with his assistants, and takes care of anything urgent such as a phone call.
One thing he doesn’t do: Email.
Paul says that it allows him to focus on the most important things that need his attention most in the early part of the day.
Read more about Paul’s routine here.
3. Cheryl Bachelder, CEO Of Popeyes
Like many of us, Cheryl is a fellow night owl, so she designs her morning routines to get her ‘in the right frame of mind for the day.’
She starts her day with music, something she has always done since childhood, which gives her purpose and reminds her of her family.
Bachelder then spends time reading in the morning, as well as writing on her blog, when she can find the time.
“To have the energy to lead, we need to be restored and prepared before we get to the workplace.” — Cheryl Bachelder
4. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin outlined his morning routine by the hour, which you can see below.
Much like the other successful people we’ve profiled, Franklin was an avid morning person.
From 5 to 7AM each morning, Franklin asked himself, “What good shall I do today?” which also included addressing the “Powerful Goodness” and setting a plan for the rest of his day.
Four: Two Hours of Focus
Ultra productive people know their Most Important Task (MIT) and work on it for one to two hours each morning, without interruptions. Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar Inc shared, “Invest the first part of your day working on your number one priority that will help build your business.”
What task will have the biggest impact on reaching your goal? What accomplishment will get you promoted at work?
Five: Watch Your Words! “ I don’t vs I can’t”
In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers split 120 students in 2 groups.
One group was trained to use “I can’t”, while the other was trained to use “I don’t”.
The results were interesting:
The students who told themselves “I can’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bar 61% of the time.
The students who told themselves “I don’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bars only 36% of the time.
This simple change in terminology significantly improved the odds that each person would make a more healthy food choice.
Next time you need to avoid saying yes, say “I don’t”.
Source: The Power of Ideas
Six: Take naps
My personal experience to get the most out of my days in the office are 20 minute naps. I go and lie on the bed with the curtains closed and door shut and set my alarm for 20 minutes.
I notice that I am still “aware” of my environment so it’s a light sleep.
When I “wake” I find that I am much more alert and am able to get productively through the rest of my day.
Just under 30 minutes will refresh you, without sending you into deep sleep mode. Any more than that and you may be at risk for an early death, according to a recent study
Did you know?
Leonardo da Vinci took multiple naps a day and slept less at night.
The French Emperor Napoleon was not shy about taking naps. He indulged daily.
Though Thomas Edison was embarrassed about his napping habit, he also practiced his ritual daily.
Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, used to boost her energy by napping before speaking engagements.
Rituals create autopilots in our brain, allowing our brain to help us make better decisions around the important stuff in our lives. By creating conscious, healthy and positive rituals, we set ourselves up for improved resilience - our ability to bounce back quicker when adversity hits.
Today's article is about giving you choices on how to best spend your time. All the techniques I have shared with you can be done in as little as 2 minutes or can be extended to fit your needs and circumstances.
There is no excuse to say you don't have enough time. We all have enough time.
So, as you look over each of these 6 rituals, which of these stand out for you the most?
And, which of these do you think you could take up persistently and consistently to make it your own?
Let me know your biggest take-outs in the comments section below....
Until next time, I'll
See you at the top!
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