I’m going to share with you a productive secret that very few people will ever share with you. And it may even shock you. Are you ready? It’s okay to be selfish in the morning. No, actually it’s absolutely necessary.
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend selfishness, because it can really damage relationships. But, when you think about it, what is your most important relationship? (Hint: It’s the one you’re most likely neglecting.)
It’s your relationship with yourself, right? If you’re not treating yourself with love, patience, and respect, you won’t be able to show those qualities to others. And you won’t have enough energy to be productive in life.
So, I’m suggesting you do something just for yourself as soon as you get up. It might be making your bed, exercising, reading something inspirational, or meditation. Whatever fuels your creativity and energy. Become a master of your time and set intentions for how you want your day to be.
Now let’s increase your productivity in life by using this same “principle of selfishness” as you carve out the first hour of your work day to focus on your own project. (Of course, this works well if you run your own business. But the principle can also make you indispensible in whatever organization you work for, because it effectively prioritizes your day.)
Too often we jump into taking care of others’ requests or ‘urgent’ needs. Emails, voicemails and the like can wait…they’ll still be there later. Responding in this reactive manner makes you feel like you’re always trying to catch up. Like there’s not enough time. Like you’re not doing what fuels your soul. Like you’re missing out.
On the other hand, if you guard the first hour of your workday, you’ll feel like you’re living up to your potential and that you’re accomplishing something important. In turn, this energizes you to do more, and you build momentum, getting more accomplished with less effort.
Try the following steps to ease into this new morning routine:
- Block out the first hour of every workday on your calendar. Make this a recurring event, and let everyone know this hour is taken. No compromising!
- Avoid distractions and set boundaries you can live with, like not checking your email, social media or answering your phone.
- If you have a mandatory meeting at this time, consider starting your day an hour earlier so you honor your commitment.
What do you do with the first hour of your new schedule?
Choose a meaningful and/or important project to work on. Look for something that you’ve been intending to do, but haven’t gotten to yet because you’ve been too busy taking care of everyone else’s priorities. For entrepreneurs this can mean working on your business instead of in your business and coming up with plans for future growth.
Then, start making notes for what needs to happen to make your project a reality. Once you have these notes, organize them in a book, card file or small sheets of paper. Put one task per page, card, or piece of paper with instructions of how to do it. If you don’t know, then your task is to find someone who can teach you or can do it for you.
How do you organize all these notes into a productivity strategy you can reuse in all facets of life?
- Break your project down into monthly benchmarks for success.
- Break each month’s objective down into weekly tasks.
- Break down your weekly tasks into 3 critical items.
Start your day working on your single most important item. Once it’s completed, move to the next. If you don’t accomplish all three tasks within the hour, move the unfinished task to the top of your pile to work on tomorrow. Oftentimes you’ll accomplish more in this first hour than you otherwise would all day.
This process helps you become more mindful as you regularly pause to breathe and assess what’s most important to you everyday. You develop a skill that helps you to be fully engaged and productive in life.
Need some help getting started? Whether it’s personal development, improving your health or marketing your business, I’m here to help you stay on track and reach your highest purpose. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), and let’s get started.